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Who closes for Philly tonight?

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.

  1. jonny5 - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    I’d use Chan Ho before lidge. Eyre before Lidge. Happ before Lidge. I’d sit Lidge down for 2009. Madson before Lidge. He’s only a liability this season.

  2. JBC - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    I like Lidge and what he did for the Phillies last year. That said, I don’t believe the Phillies are in a position to use him again in the series. There are other pitchers in the bull pen that have the capability and mental make-up to close including Madson, Happ, Durbin and Myers.

  3. Wayne D Funk - Nov 4, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    No longer living in the Northeast and residing in rural Kentucky, I am no longer privy to Philadelphia or New York sports results. The local channels down here only cover basketball of which I am not a fan.

  4. Beanster - Nov 4, 2009 at 11:51 AM

    Sorry, Cole Hamels. “I don’t want to sound like smart or nothing” just became my favorite quote of the WS so far.

  5. Cru11 - Nov 4, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    Set it up with Chan Ho Park then drop the hammer (if they get that far) with Madson. Lidge is too busy pissing his pants (especially if he allows a a baserunner).

  6. Omega - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    I agree with the others here, Park sets up Madson for the win.
    If they are losing late, does it matter? Send the bat boy out there or as I suggested yesterday the Phanatic, how could it hurt?

  7. Jeff - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    As a Yankee fan, I’m not really very scared of Park. So Mo is almost 40, and he can pitch 2 innings, but Madson, 29, cannot? Not that I want to give the Phillies ideas (like they read this anyways), but to me that would seem like the smarter play.

  8. dre - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    I don’t think the Phils need a closer tonight. The Yanks should have it wrapped up by the 6th inning.

  9. Libby - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    Lidge was great last year and this year he is a dog. Give him another chance next year. But whatever is going on with him is not going to suddenly leave him tonight or tomorrow night. Park, Madson, Hamels anyone but Lidge. I think when Charlie put him in the other night his teammates flipped out and suddenly couldn’t play baseball because they didn’t believe in him. Covering third base is Little League lesson #3 isn’t it?

  10. Rich - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:51 PM

    Why not put Cliff Lee back in? He was phenominal in game 1

  11. Steve - Nov 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    I wonder if it might make sense to call on Lidge for one or two batters with the bases empty and call for almost all sliders, using the fastball mostly for show out of the strike zone. I do agree he’s losing focus when there’s a baserunner, but there’s nothing wrong with his slider if you can keep his head out of the way.

  12. Libby - Nov 4, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    I would love to see Cliff Lee in game 7 . . . he is phenomenal to watch. Sooo cool headed. And I think his fast pace throws off batters.

  13. comeonman - Nov 4, 2009 at 2:45 PM

    AS A YANKEE FAN, WHO CARES. I RATHER LIDGE, HE IS A TRAIN WRECK.
    POP THE CORKS, 27 OUTS FOR # 27 FALLAS.

  14. BIGBRUCE11047 - Nov 4, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    I totally agree with CRU11 and the Phillies (if they get the chance) should set up with Park and then hit the Yankees in the ninth with Matson. Now if Matson gets in trouble then the Phillies have no other choice but to bring in Lidge and flip a coin. Hopefully Lidge will bring his “A” game and get the Phillies into Game 7. Of course Game 7 will be a “let it all hang out” game where everybody gets used no matter when they pitched last. Go Yankees!! Hopefully the Series will end tonight in the Bronx!!

  15. mick-7-1961 - Nov 4, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    All the stops will be pulled out tonight.
    Everyone and anyone is elligble for duty.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lee in the 8th or 9th if the Phillies have a slim lead but I agree with dre, it’ll be over by the 6th. You face Pedro once, you have his number the second time around.

  16. Tom - Nov 4, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    holy crap… i’m still waiting for the guy that always type-screams “PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!”
    It’s gonna be a close game tonight in my opinion, but I think the Yanks will be able to pull it out with a 5-3 win.

  17. Libby - Nov 4, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Phillies in Seven! Mark my Words! Does this make you feel better now?

  18. W C Fields - Nov 4, 2009 at 4:17 PM

    Let’s move one step ahead, just in case. If the Phillies manage to pull one out tonight, who do they pitch Thursday? Cole Hamels? Scary to think about if you’re a Phillies’ fan. “I wish the season was over” Hamels or “I want another shot” Lee? On two days rest?
    As for tonight, you can bet Manuel will change pitchers before mid-game. I’d go with Madsen. If Pettitte can set down the Phillies without a run first time through the order, it’ll be a long night for Philly fans. Either way, these are the two best teams and kudos to Utley.

  19. John - Nov 4, 2009 at 6:28 PM

    My apologies Tom I didn’t purposely skip this blog but rather it was a minor oversight as I’ve been having quite a discussion on a couple of different blogs, with Old Gator over the various literary works of Kurt Vonnegut, H.L. Mencken and Hunter S. Thompson as well as some of the music by Warren Zevon. But now that I’m here PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  20. Judy J - Nov 4, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    Who care who closes for the Phillies – we got MO TO GO and anything else doesn’t matter. Get ready for #27 – we are ready! GO YANKEES!! To Phillies fans: Sorry, nobody gets to repeat in our house.

  21. Tom - Nov 4, 2009 at 8:13 PM

    Thank you for trying to cheer me up, Libby, but I’m afraid that nobody is a replacement for John. Now that the game is underway, we shall see if John’s prediction has a shot or if it was just wishful thinking. As I’m writing, both pitchers had 1-2-3 innings (Andy’s with the help of a double play). Looks like we’re in for a good game tonight

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