pic. R.Baxter 2009
When I saw how good Ryan Madson pitch last night in the 8th inning, he reminded me of how Brad Lidge used to go out there and mow batters down. I emphasis the words, 'used to' in the last sentence. I knew at the bottom of the 9th we would be seeing Brad Lidge and the prospect didn't make me all that happy. Lidge has been flat out terrible this year. He hasn't stopped too many teams in his role as closer, and he looks like a totally different pitcher out there on the mound for the Phillies this year.
It all happens so fast, Lidge works quick and there's usually no one that goes out and quiets him down like the pitching coach, or Charlie Manuel, when he starts to get in trouble. He's walked batters, he's gotten hit this year, and he's become so unstable he has really earned not to be the Phillies closer anymore until an answer can be found. What that answer is, will be the job of the Phillies coaches and brain trusts to figure out. Nothing has been said yet about this, and the silence about it is truly amazing. Here you have a pitcher that can no longer close a game properly, and that's the bottom line.
So many other times this year, Lidge has accomplished the save during a game the hard way where it could have gone either way. Runners have been in scoring position and the tying runs have been just a base or two away from even more blown saves for Lidge, it just so happens the baseball gods didn't see fit to have those games blow up for Lidge in those circumstances.
The Phillies ended up winning this game last night, Lidge could have easily got the loss hadn't the Phils pulled this game out. Something has to be done about this, just as in Houston before Lidge came to Philadelphia, the fans and press there knew it was time to go for him. In Houston, it was the same thing, he couldn't get the save and he continually got in trouble losing games for a Houston team that wasn't even on the radar to go that far into the playoffs. This is the time the Phillies either have to fix this or consider the same fate as Lidge went through when he was an Astro, a trade to another team. Lidge had a season last year that will never be duplicated, we'll remember it for years to come. This year we may remember quite the opposite way Lidge went out on the mound to save a game, and that's the tough part.
Lidge's stats through last night:
Salary - $12 million this season
W - 0 L - 4
7 blown saves