Brad Lidge blew his 9th save of the season Tuesday night against the Pirates, in a game that the Phillies really should have won. With the Phillies large lead in the NL East, the actual loss doesn't hurt as much as it does to see Brad Lidge blow another save, and continue to not be able to get batters out. The Phillies went to the 9th down 1 run, and managed to get 2 across off of Pirates closer Matt Capps. For Capps, that was his 4th blown save, to go along with his now 3-7 record, and 6.38 ERA. Those numbers look horrible, but aren't even close to the horrible numbers of Brad Lidge - 9 blown saves, 0-6 record (record isn't really big deal for a closer), 7.33 ERA.
Lidge threw 6 pitches last night, allowed 2 singles, a home run, and threw a wild pitch. Lidge didn't record any outs, and gave up 3 earned runs. If Lidge had to continue pitching until he got 3 outs, he still might be pitching right now. Not only do I think that Brad Lidge had nothing on those pitches, he admitted this after the game, saying that he struggles when he goes out 4 games in a row. In a way, this in Manuel's fault for sending him out there, but Manuel probably wanted to send Lidge out to get some confidence against a crappy Pirates lineup that he should be able to mow down even if he threw 50 days in a row. But he couldn't. And this is officially getting to be ridiculous. Lidge has been the worst closer in baseball this season, and it isn't even close. Late August isn't the time when we can still continue to wait for Lidge to find his stuff, or figure it out in his head, or whatever is going on with him.
These games are going to matter in the playoffs. Again, we can get away with it now with such a big lead, but we won't be able to get away with it come playoff time. We actually have to win 1-run games in the playoffs, and since it is the playoffs, there probably will be many close games we are going to have to hold onto.
I will support whatever decision Manuel makes, but he has to at least do something. If you want to continue to run Lidge out there, then fine, but give him some 1 out saves. If a lefty is starting the inning, start the 9th with Eyre, or Romero when he comes back. Even if a righty is starting, send out Madson, or Park, or Myers when he comes back to start the inning. Manuel could also send Lidge to the 15 day DL if he thinks Lidge needs to re-focus and almost start over when he comes back. Madson or Park could close while Lidge is out, and even possibly Myers if he shows his stuff is nasty when he comes back. Or you could completely demote Lidge, and make Madson, Park, or Myers the closer. This is also risky since it is so close to the end of the season, and a lot of pressure filled games will be coming up. What Manuel will probably do, and what he says he is going to do is continue to ride Lidge out until the end, hoping to have another happy ending to the season like last year.
Let's just hope this doesn't turn into another Mitch Williams incident.
Speaking of Mitch Williams, as if I wasn't mad enough after watching Lidge blow the game, I have to watch Phillies Post Game Live, and listen to Mitch Williams of all people let us all know what Lidge is doing wrong, and what he can do to correct that. Yeah, Mitch is exactly who I want to hear from in this situation... go back to the MLB Network.
Pedro Martinez looked good in his first professional outing in almost a year Wednesday night, and picked up his first major league victory since August 31, 2008. Martinez went 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, and 3 earned runs, struck out 5, and walked 3. He threw 99 pitches, and said he felt good after the game. Martinez threw his fastball in the upper 80s, low 90s, and even hit 93 on the radar gun. He looked comfortable on the mound, and commanded his breaking pitches well. The Cubs were not hitting his off-speed pitches at all, and Pedro was throwing them for strikes, which is a good sign. Pedro should only improve from this point on, as his arm stretches out, and he gets more comfortable with the Phillies, and more comfortable throwing to Ruiz.
As well as Pedro pitched, the offense made it very easy for him in his debut. The Phillies smashed former Notre Dame wide receiver, Jeff Samardzija, for 12 runs in the first 4 innings alone. Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Raul Ibanez all homered, and every starter had at least 1 hit, including 3 hits from Utley. The Phillies had 3 home runs, 2 triples, one from Howard, and 3 doubles last night. Not only was it a successful debut for Pedro’s first start, it is a very good sign to see the offense finally start to hit. This could mean good things for the offense going forward. I should also mention that Chan Ho Park has been unhittable in the bullpen since he has been there, and that continued last night. It’s amazing how comfortable Chan Ho looks coming out of the pen, as opposed to earlier in the season when he struggled as a starter.
There was an incident in the 5th inning, on a deep sacrifice fly to center, just as Victorino was about to catch the ball, he was doused with a beer thrown from the bleachers. In my opinion, Victorino should have thrown the ball at the punk who did that, but that wouldn’t have solved anything. Not much has been made of this, however, if it were a Phillies fan who did this, it would be getting national attention on how horrible the Philadelphia fans are. But when it is another city’s team, it’s not that big a deal, yet people still bring up things that happened involving us Philly fans from decades past. And yes…. I cheered when Michael Irvin was on the ground injured.
Most experts believe that JA Happ would be relegated to the bullpen and Martinez would take his spot every fifth day. But here’s the problem with that idea: It doesn’t make the Phillies a better team. Happ may never win any Cy Young Awards or put up the career numbers that Martinez has. But in 2009, Happ definitely gives the Phillies a better chance to win. Does that mean Martinez should head to the bullpen? Not exactly.
Martinez should still take the ball on a regular basis. But its not Happ’s spot that he should be taking, but rather the spot of Jamie Moyer. Sure the ageless wonder leads the Phils with 10 wins, but he 5.55 ERA is almost a run higher than any of the other four. That is what happens when the team scores in droves when he takes the hill. It’s the same reason Rodrigo Lopez picked 3 wins in his first 4 starts. Even I could notch a few wins if I was provided as much run support as Moyer.
Moyer is the only hurler in the rotation that scares the entire fan base when he takes the hill. If the umpire doesn’t give him the corners, then open up another beer because its gonna be a long night. Not to discredit everything the Souderton product has accomplished over his career—as I am a fan from nearby North Penn myself—but right now, he is the weakest link in the chain.
But Moyer doesn’t exactly fit in the bullpen, you say? I know. That’s why the Phillies should cut ties with him altogether. He had a nice run and from everything I know, he’s one hell of a guy. But he doesn’t figure to get a start in the postseason, so let’s just cut it off now.
Is Pedro better than Moyer? That question is yet to be answered. Is Pedro better than Happ? That answer is clear: no. Not in 2009, anyway.