What To Do With Brad Lidge
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.