Phillies fans thought they had it bad in 1993 with closer Mitch Williams. Brad Lidge is taking the term “wild” to a whole different level. Once again Lidge had a rocky ninth inning and couldn’t shut the door. Lidge spoiled the Phillies comeback by allowing a three-run walkoff home run to Ryan Zimmerman.
The Phillies fell behind early courtesy of three first-inning runs given up by starter Joe Blanton. As seems to always be the case, Blanton settled down through the middle innings before allowing a sacrifice fly to Ian Desmond. Blanton didn’t have his best outing but certainly wasn’t the reason that the Phillies lost. He pitched six innings giving up four runs on nine hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Carlos Ruiz led the charge with three hits on the evening including a solo home run. Additionally he knocked in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning. Raul Ibanez continued his incredible hot streak with a two-run home run in the seventh inning. Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth each added two hits as well.
The ninth inning can never be easy with Brad Lidge on the mound. He allowed the lead-off batter Michael Morse to walk and Nyjer Morgan sacrificed him over to second base. Lidge preceded to walk Adam Kennedy. Consequently Ryan Zimmerman deposited a mammoth three-run home run to dead center field to send Lidge home with a blown save.
Something has got to give. Charlie Manuel once again stood by his closer and reaffirmed to everyone that Lidge is his guy. Well I just don’t think that Lidge can be the guy anymore. The Phillies have given Lidge every possible chance to remain as the closer. I respect everything that he has done for the organization. His perfect season in 2008 resulted in one of the greatest moments in Philadelphia sports history. Everyone should be grateful to him for such a great accomplishment. But Lidge just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to finish games anymore.
One thing that sticks out is his command – it just isn’t there anymore. In addition, he cannot be counted on in the postseason. No one will have confidence in sending Lidge out there to protect a one run lead against some of the top teams in baseball. It’s not fair to the Phillies organization and it’s not fair to the fans. Other options need to be exhausted. Thanks for the pleasant memories Brad Lidge, but you’re just not the guy anymore.
HR: Ibanez (10), Ruiz (3)
WP: Storen (3-2). LP: Lidge (1-1).