Nov 4, 2009, 9:55 AM EDT
Or, if they’re tied or losing, who comes out of the pen late? Lidge? Madson? Even when his usage suggested that he was going with the hot hand (or, in this case, the less cold hand) Charlie Manuel has at least verbally insisted for most of the postseason that Brad Lidge is still the guy. Now? He’s not pretending it isn’t a gut call anymore:
“I don’t want to sound like smart or nothing, but I’m probably going to use him the way I want to, when we get there and how I feel,” Manuel said of Lidge. Then, referring to the pitching coach Rich Dubee, he said, “I’ll do a lot of talking in the dugout with Dubee, and we’ll decide on which one we want to put out there.”
Until now Manuel has always had some basis, however thin, to say that Lidge was really the guy and that Madson was in because of matchups or recent workload or whatever. But unlike Monday night, the Phillies now face an elimination game with both Lidge and Madson rested. I’ll be fascinated to see who Manuel calls for if the Phillies are up entering the eighth or ninth inning.
If the Yankees are up? Well, it’s worth noting that Mariano Rivera only needed 13 pitches to close games three and four, and didn’t pitch at all on Monday. If the Phillies can’t jump on Andy Pettitte tonight, they are almost certainly going to see Rivera for two innings. Maybe (gulp) three.
So my advice to the Phillies: score early and score often, because if you’re down late, it’s over, over over.
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