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Time for change: Phillies can't rely on Lidge

Sep 9, 2009, 1:42 AM EDT

lidge_090908.jpgBefore Tuesday’s game against the Nationals, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke glowingly of his embattled closer Brad Lidge, saying “I want him to realize how much confidence we have in him.”

Lidge repaid his manager by going out and vomiting all over that confidence, allowing a walk, a single, and a hit batter before Manuel went to Ryan Madson to finish off the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

Now the Phillies’ closer situation is shrouded in confusion and frustration. Here’s what Lidge had to say: “If there’s a save situation tomorrow, (Manuel) said he was going to bring me in.”

And here’s what the manager said: “I’m not saying that he’ll close tomorrow, the next day or whatever, but I look at him as a closer.”

So what now for the Phillies?

One thing is for sure, they can’t rely on Lidge come playoff time. The man who was perfect in 2008 has reverted to the pitcher who was run out of Houston, only worse. Much, much worse.
Lidge is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA, and has converted saves in only 28 of his 38 opportunities. In 50 2/3 innings this season, he has allowed 60 hits and a whopping 32 walks.

Phillies fans are beating the drum for a change, and they’re absolutely right. This is simply too good a team to let one struggling player sink the ship. The offense produces the second most runs in the NL and the starting rotation is solid and deep, with plenty of playoff experience.

Luckily, they have options. Madson would be one possibility. Another would be Brett Myers, who has tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief – including 1 1/3 on Tuesday — since returning from the disabled list. Even better, he has had extended success in closing, saving 21 games and striking out 83 in 68 2/3 innings in 2007.

Myers, Madson … whatever. It’s time for a change. The sooner, the better.

******

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  1. DP - Sep 9, 2009 at 2:18 AM

    Looks like it’s finally time for the Phillies to go after Trevor Hoffman and demote Lidge to assistant closer.
    The Brewers would give him up since their playoff hopes are slipping away.

  2. Grant - Sep 9, 2009 at 7:41 AM

    He wouldn’t be eligible for the Phils’ playoff roster, though.

  3. jonny5 - Sep 9, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    Ok, Charlie has to just come to terms with the fact that had Lidge thrown as he did last season, the Phills would be coasting 16 games ahead of the rest of the NL East. They’d be resting their starters and giving the bench more playing time. It sickens me to see how loyal and hopeful Charlie is with Lidge. Chan Ho Park, or Myers??? Which one. Park isn’t known for closing, but when he only has one inning to throw, the man’s got serious heat. By using Lidge this season Charlie has given the Fish and Braves a chance!!! Unacceptable Charlie!!!
    Charlie, give it up already! sincerely “the fans”

  4. thomas corkadel - Sep 9, 2009 at 9:35 AM

    First off I do not like Charlie as a manger, I really think he stinks and doesn’t know his personnel. Too many times this season with being behind one run and a man on first and second he will not bunt. His favorite saying, MY MEN HIT AWAY. Well I think its time for Charlie to go away. He’s a hard headed old may who thinks he’s the boss and that is that. Sticking with Lidge and Stairs all year prove the facts stated. YOU WANT A WINNING TEAM CAN CHARLIE BEFORE HE GIVES THE SEASON AWAY.

  5. Pete - Sep 9, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    I feel like I’m wasting my time watching 8 innings of a game when I know Lidge could be closing.

  6. Softball John - Sep 9, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Getting hit is one thing and you can almost accept the fact that major league ballplayers will hit you sometimes. However Lidge has given up way toooooo many walks and hit batters. Plus the man can’t hold anyone from stealing on him, he gives his catcher ‘no chance’ of throwing anyone out. How can he not have a third pitch, an ‘off-speed’ pitch to balance his 2 pitches. A good change-up (Moyer, Happ, Pedro, Hamels) would make him much more effective.

  7. Omega in Colorado - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    As a Rockies fan and with the playoffs fast approaching, I couldn’t encourage Manuel enough to keep Lidge as his closer.

  8. HOTROD - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    DIDN’T CHARLIE GET HIS TEAM THE WORLD SERIES TITLE LAST YEAR, OR WAS THAT YOU COACHING THE TEAM……….BY THE WAY WHO ACTUALLY PICKED THE PHILLIES TO WIN LAST YEAR ???
    ANOTHER THING, THIS WILL MAKE 3 STRAIGHT YEARS IN THE PLAYOFFS, WHO IN PHILLY EVER MANAGED MORE THAN 1………….. I THINK CHARLIE KNOWS LIDGE IS DONE AFTER LAST YEAR
    AND I HATE PHILLY ………

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