The Phillies closed out their series at Washington, and even though they snapped their 8 game winning streak with Roy Oswalt on the mound, they did salvage 1 game yesterday of the 3 game series.
Roy Oswalt made his Phillies debut on Friday to try to extend the Phillies winning streak to 9 games, but didn't fare too well in his debut. The offense didn't do anything either, and the Phillies lost the game by a large margin.
On Saturday, the Phillies didn't get off to a good start, and Ryan Howard got the night off after slumping the past few days. Joe Blanton continued his usual 1st inning performance and allowed 3 runs in the first inning. A Carlos Ruiz solo home run, and a Raul Ibanez 2 run home run made the game tied at 4 going into the 9th inning. Carlos Ruiz then had a 2 out, RBI single, which gave the Phillies the lead going into the bottom of the 9th. On came Brad Lidge. A single, out, walk, and Ryan Zimmerman bomb ended the game, and another blown save for Lidge.
Yesterday, the Phillies were able to salvage a game in the series, and won the game in the 11th inning. Brad Lidge worked a scoreless 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th this time, including putting out Ryan Zimmerman. This game also saw Ryan Howard go down awkwardly, as he rolled his ankle trying to slide back into 2nd base. It doesn't seem to be as bad as it looked, but he might miss a few games with a sprained ankle.
After the series, the Phillies sat exactly where they were before; 2.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves. Even though the Phillies lost 2 of 3, they have still won 9 of 11 overall, and travel to Miami for a 3 game series against the Marlins, which will start off with Roy Halladay on the bump.
Unfortunately, Brad Lidge cannot be trusted anymore. He has absolutely no command of any pitch he throws. He can't throw his fastball by anyone anymore, and has to rely on his slider. When Ruiz sets up outside, the pitch may come inside, when he sets up high, the pitch may come low; the point is, Lidge has no command, and his pitches really could go anywhere at this point.
The problem is there really isn't any other option. Ruben Amaro was too busy patting himself on the back and doing any interview possible talking about how amazing he has been to acquire Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt in about a year's time to address the bullpen issue that the Phillies currently have, and have had all season long.
Ryan Madson has not pitched very well this year, and even when he does pitch well, he has struggled in save situations when given the chance. I still think his still is better than Lidge's though. Jose Contreras has been good this season, and seems to have really good stuff, but not sure if he would be able to be the closer. J.C. Romero has also been very good, and while he can go up against righties, he is more in there to get lefties out, and has never closed before. David Herndon and Danys Baez have no business still being on this roster.
Another option to close is the Phillies triple A closer, Scott Mathieson. Mathieson has played with the big club before, but the Phillies seem retisant to bring him up for a long period of time for some reason. Mathieson has closer stuff, and an overpowering fastball, and could be the closer of the future for the Phillies.
For more bullpen help, the Yankees just designated Chan Ho Park for assignment, and I don't think there is any reason the Phillies should not go after him, because he would obviously be more welcome on the roster than Baez. Also, along with Mathieson, the Phillies have 2 other triple A bullpen pitchers currently that I think would be much better on the roster than Baez or Herndon. Antonio Bastardo would be that 2nd lefty in the bullpen, and was actually on the playoff roster last season, and I think would be very good as a guy who can get lefties out in big situations. Vance Worley is another guy who I feel like should be in the Phillies bullpen currently, as he can get the job done.
The Phillies will probably wait to waivers to address the bullpen situation, but they will need to not only add a body to the bullpen, but also possibly figure out what they want to do in the 9th inning with a 1 run lead; or there will be more and more heart attacks in the Philadelphia area the more Brad Lidge comes running out of the bullpen.