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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Comments

I've posted this before, but I'll post again about Ruiz..right from his ESPN page on May 17th:

News: Ruiz said he has changed his approach at the plate to that of a gap hitter, the News Journal reports.
Spin: Ruiz said this was the approach he used in the minors but after he reached the majors in 2006 he began trying to pull most pitches to left field. "I've been thinking, hit the ball just gap-to-gap, hit the ball in the middle of the field," said Ruiz, who is 7-for-12 and had reached base in 12 of his last 17 plate appearances. "That's what I did in the minor leagues. Now I can feel it. My swing is short and quick. I feel great right now."

I read all the articles on the phillies just about everyday on philly.com and such, and I didn't see anywhere about Ruiz talking about fixing his swing. who knows if it's a long term fix, but in the short term he looks good. And I am disappointed I didn't read this from the beat writers following the phils but on his ESPN page.

Great series. I just sat back and watched this. Didn't care about lidge, I was just happy to win.

The Phillies have only lost 2 of the 4 games in which Lidge has blown a save. That speaks to the character of the team, both offense & bullpen. On the other hand, it also feels damn lucky. Lidge needs to go to the DL very soon, or else there will be no point in even trying to fix him once his knee breaks down completely.

"Klaus? Benson? Wanna rethink your declaration that Madson/Lidge is the best end-game duo in baseball?"

Uh oh, Clout don't reed reel good.

G-Town Dave,
Even if his knee isn't bothering him, the Phillies can say it is kind of like Oliver Perez's and Chien-Ming Wang's phantom injuries. Go let him work things out under low-stress conditions. Of course, they could just take him out of the role and put him in low-leverage situations. Either way, their hand may be forced soon...

Two points:

Like I said in the game thread, not as worried about the seeing-eye base hits today against Lidge nearly as much as I am about the ease that Yankees stole on him again. If he is going to enter one-run games, and a single or walk quickly becomes a double, more troble with be ahead.

Finally, a total of 892 combined pitches were thrown by the two teams this weekend. Yankee pitchers did not throw a single pitch all weekend with the lead.

I'll re-post what I wrote. Someone can then read it to Clout:


"If by "better" you mean, better this year, the award goes to Troncoso/Broxton, obviously. If you mean better as in, who's better, no I don't think we have a basis for legitimate comparison. Lidge vs. Broxton perhaps, although even here...

Troncoso has a 1.63 ERA and WHIP of 1.01 in 27 2/3 innings. Madson has put up similar numbers over similar time spans, more than once."

Several readings fail to reveal where it is that I write "Madson/Lidge is [sic] the best end-game duo in baseball."

Don't let the win cloud the crisis that is the Phillies inability to rely on our closer. There is no excuse for allowing Lidge to close until he proves that he is once again able.

2008 is over. Bring Lidge in to face a couple of batters in the 6th or 7th when the matchup is favorable until he can command his fastball.

Continuing to use Lidge in the 9th before he works through his troubles has become an unnecessary liability. Madson is more than adequate to fill the role in the meantime.

YES network showed Yankee fan Paul Simon a coupla times without noticing he was sitting next to his old partner, and Phils fan, Art Garfunkel. At least they didn't think he was John Mayberry Sr, I guess.

ASod: I tend to view the Phillies front office/manager rather negatively, & feel they're letting Lidge pitch hurt while awaiting Romero's return. Also, never underestimate Charlie Manuel's stubbornness in sticking w/ a certain course of action, no matter how many times it blows up in his face.

This was a good game. I'll say what I've said about Lidge though. He should be on the DL or out of the closer's role. He can't even help them as a set up man right now, so there's no point of holding onto him. What has to worry Phillies fans though is that he says he's healthy and feels as good as he has. Normal ruts don't last this long. I remember hearing someone say, once that first blown save comes, it'll all fall apart. And, well, it has. He got off to a rough start in the Spring like Perez, because his conditioning was thrown off because of forearm stiffness.

Carlos Ruiz has a great game. He's been doing well. But I don't know if I'd go as far as saying he's changed his approach to a ''gap hitter.'' If he could hit them in the gap regularly, he would have changed it to that approach a while ago. More realistically, he's a good defensive catcher who's good to have at the bottom of the order. The Phillies are loaded offensively, so what ever he can provide is icing on the cake. The Phillies problems are starting pitching and Brad Lidge. Besides him, the bullpen is decent, although not like last season. Their record is pretty much of a representation of their play and weaknesses though. If the Mets were playing better and had a few game lead, people might not be thinking as positively. Compared to the other years though, I don't think these two teams are ever going to be more than 4-5 games apart, at max, the entire year.

And consider how we feel about our team that there wasn't any worry over how we might bounce back from the devastating loss yesterday.

EF: Fox would've identified them as Captain & Tennille.

For the series...

Lidge: 1.3 innings pitched, 4 earned runs given up. (27.0 ERA)

Phillies pitchers not named Lidge: 27 innings pitched, 7 earned runs (although one should have been unearned (Werth), and another was on a shattered bat home run) (2.33 ERA)

Without reading the previous thread, my impressions of the game (I did catch the whole thing live):

Carlos Ruiz played the most impressive game of his career today. Rob Neyer seriously ought to be ashamed of himself dozens of times over.

Kudos, again, to Clay Condrey. The key play in the game was the DP Teixeira hit into in the 10th. Big pitch at a big time. He earned that win.

Lidge has to damn well come up with a way to hold runners. Both the winning run yesterday and tying run today scored because the Yankees ran at will against him. Inexcusable. I'd speculate that he has until the end of the homestand to turn things around before Manuel yanks the ninth inning from him.

The series, obviously, was as good as advertised and definitely re-asserts the Phillies as a big-time - okay, elite - club. It's hard to imagine they don't build on the kind of play they established during the road trip; hopefully they can keep it running next month.

Jason, just wanted to point out that since your post lamenting Ruiz's struggles on May 12th , he has a .412 batting average, a .535 on base percentage, and a .647 slugging percentage. Pretty damn impressive turnaround.

Can someone clarify the Neyer deal?

"The series, obviously, was as good as advertised and definitely re-asserts the Phillies as a big-time - okay, elite - club."

RSB: I'd really like to believe it, but I'm bothered that the Phillies & Mets, two teams who, for the most part, haven't been impressing anyone as great squads playing great ball so far this season, so easily went 4-6 (& should have gone 5-6) vs. the Yankees & Red Sox, in NY & Boston. Perhaps the AL East is just overrated?

EF: That was Art Garfunkel? I watched the game on YES also. Saw the guy in the Phillies hat, but thought it was some random 90 year old man.

Best thing about this weekends series is obviously Carlos Ruiz. Making an early claim to be tendered a contract next year in arbitration. This may open up the opportunity to package Marson and Donald for some pitching if they ever start hitting this year.

Driving home from NY last night--I caught the only loss (awesome!)--people were calling into WIP about cutting Lidge or sending him down and justifying that bad rap that we get here in Philly. It really p*ssed me off. He only was one of the main reasons the Phils finally won a championship last year, right? I mean, yes, I am concerned about Lidge, but is cutting him or demoting him going to solve the problem? You NEED him to get right again because without him there is NO way the Phils can defend the title. Charlie/Dubee needs to figure out a way to get him right again without destroying his ego or confidence, which has proven to be his achilles in the past. I don't envy old Chuck's position here.

That being said, up until the 9th, it was a great game and the Phils were playing the best ball I've seen them play all year. Yankee Stadium is really nice, but a lot of the Yanks fans I polled said that they aren't really impressed with it. Whatever "magic" the old Yankee Stadium had did not transfer to the new park, that's for sure. It is expensive, and definitely too much for your average fan, even die-hard Yankee fans. Beer is $9 or $10 per.

The place was PACKED with Phils fans. I'd say pre-game, 40% of the fans were wearing red. By game time, it was more like 25%. Still I was surprised at the "Let's Go Phillies" chants. It was surreal.

@ doubleh

I went to the game on friday. The amount of red was unreal.

Did anyone catch the report on today's game on ESPN? If I didn't know otherwise, I would've thought the Yankees swept the Phils instead of losing 2 of 3.

Dammit, I wish the Phils had swept them.

Kutztown: So do I, but it wouldn't matter to any ESPN or Fox. If it ain't the Yankees or the Red Sox, they simply don't give a sh*t. Lidge blowing 2 saves = Yanks win the series to those idiots.

Lidge has to be able to throw the fastball for a strike, when he does he can drop the hammer. When he doesn't? well, he will get hit.

You've got to love this team. It would have been so easy for them to have come out discouraged and flat today, and also to have tossed in the towel when Lidge came up short again.

Instead they did what they had to do and won a tough one in hostile territory, and while sitting Utley to boot.

Way to take care of business guys! It doesn't get much better than this at this point of the season, all things considered.

I'll fret about WTD about Brad tomorrow. Time to crack a cold one for the Phightins!

DL Lidge. The team will be OK. They got the Marlins, Nationals and Padres up next 3 series. Bring up Koplove. Romero will be back for the Dodgers series.

Lidge being the set-up man does'nt help. He can still blow games in the 8th. Let him come back when he can throw quality strikes with his fastball.

People understand that a pitcher has to be injured in order to go onto the dl, right? I light of all the public statements from the team that Lidge isn't hurt, I can't see the DL as a possible options.

AFish: How hard is it to come up with an "injury" in order to DL a baseball player? Guys play through stuff all the time--see Utley, Chase.

AFish: Lidge has been a disaster since "tweaking" his knee in April, & has been wearing some manner of special, corrective shoe to compensate for his injured knee. What he & the Phillies have been saying is obviously quite different from reality.

It's funny. About 10 days ago, I wrote that, with a few more bad games, the Phillies should seriously consider moving Madson to the closer's role & Lidge to the setup role. That post was ridiculed by numerous posters, agreed with by none, and called, among other things, "the dumbest post of the year" by IOP. Now those "few more bad games" have happened and it's conventional Beerleaguer wisdom that Lidge needs to be removed from the closer's role. Guess it wasn't such a dumb post, after all.

I don't understand the logic of moving Lidge to the 8th inning. In this game, that would have forced Lidge to face Texiera and ARod. Cholly clearly put Madson in the tougher spot.

GO PHILLIES!!!

Followed the Extra innings on my phone!!! WOOHOO!

so what are they keeping mayberry upstairs about - anyone think mayberry or werth could be wrapped into a peavy trade and thats why mayberry's up - so phils can see - or so padres can see??? - myers hamels peavy happ sure looks pretty solid on top of this offense and defense and bull pen for several years! - who would you include??

BAP: with your incessant negativity, it's hard to take anything you say seriously.

I have to agree with Clout on Lidge. In Houston he struggled and was put in the setup role and did pretty well until he regained the closer role. I think that's the best option here if he doesn't turn it around.

G-Town: it's kind of hard to qualify, but somehow I can consider the Phils to be an elite team without being a *great* team. Perhaps it's because there are so few truly great teams. In fact, I can only think of one, the Red Sox. By elite I guess I mean a team with a real *presence* in baseball. A team that can come in to play the Mets, Yankees, or Bosox and have it be considered a marquee matchup.

"who would you include(for Peavy)??"

Carrasco + Donald.

Really don't want Peavy though. He is an injury waiting to happen, and the Phillies would have to guarantee his 22 million option for 2012 to get him to come here.


Re: Neyer


Really??? (National edition)

May 22, 2009 12:43 PM

Next up: the National League edition of Really? (And if it seems like there are more Reallys in the National League, maybe that's my pro-AL bias or maybe it helps explain why the NL gets run over by the AL in the interleague games every year.)

Really, Philadelphia Phillies? You're really going to keep splitting the catching duties between right-handed hitters Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste, even though Coste has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's the far superior hitter? Maybe there's not much to be done about the struggles of Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Brad Lidge. But giving more plate appearances to the better hitter doesn't seem all that hard to figure out.

I guess a 72 point positive differential in BA and 102 points of OBP really does make Ruiz a far "inferior" hitter. REALLY Rob Neyer? I mean, REALLY?

RSB: In that case I can see where you're coming from, & totally agree. The Phillies are an entertaining team, almost always come to play &, as defending WFC, deserve their fair share of the spotlight.

Klaus: Oh, you forgot your original post I see. Here it is:

"clout: In the prior thread benson says Madson/Lidge is better than Trancoso/Broxton.

Interesting."

Clout can't be bothered to explain his position on what is in fact a debatable issue* and instead resorts to a catty rhetorical?"

Debatable issue means it's not clear cut. My position was obvious. I'm ready to debate. Are you?

bap simply voices the thoughts of every Phillies fan of a certain age. Anticipate the inevitable failure, and thereby minimize disappointment.

Its not really a mystery on why they'd keep Mayberry up. They need a 4th OF...they need a RH bat with some pop off the bench. Mayberry fills both of these roles far better than Miguel Cairo. Bruntlett fulfills both our "Versatile no-hit glove guy" and "Middle Earth character" quotas as per the CBA.

Curt- I don't care what he voices. When you cry wolf enough times, eventually no one is going to take you seriously. BAP declares losses before the game is through the second inning: if they did, indeed, lose today's game, should his opinion be respected? No, because he predicts the worst possible outcome in every game.

When you're negative about everything, eventually you'll be right about something. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

NEPP - Agreed. Carrying a 13th pitcher on this roster really serves no purpose right now and Mayberry serves two as a 4th OF/right-handed bat. Now maybe that Mayberry struggles as a RHP bat off the bench but he can't be worse than Cairo/Bruntlett and this team needs a capable defensive option to play the OF.

AFish: Logically, there is no reason to think that Lidge would pitch any better in a setup role. Throwing strikes is throwing strikes and, as you point out, in many cases the 8th inning is even a higher leverage moment than the 9th. But pitchers are not computer programs; they are human beings, subject to odd-ball mental breakdowns. For whatever reason, Lidge has a history of struggling in the closer's role, and then immediately straightening himself out when moved to a setup role. So why not try it again?

Basically, you have 4 choices here. Option 1 is to put your head in the sand and keep trotting out a closer who has a 9+ ERA and a 2.09 WHIP (I'll call this the "Cholly Option"). Option 2 is to put him on the DL with a phantom injury. Option 3 is to send him to the minors and hope he can get straightened out. Option 4 is to try him in a new role where, if he succeeds, he can still be a huge help to the team.

Option 1 should be a non-option at this point. Option 2 will accomplish nothing unless he really has an injury which is affecting his pitching -- which 75% of Beerleaguers miraculously know to be the case, even though Lidge himself denies it. Option 3 would be a fairly radical move, which he might decline, and which has no guarantee of working -- particularly if the problem is between his ears. I vote Option 4. If it doesn't work, then you have to think about Options 2 or 3. But I would not go to those options without first trying him in a new role.

Clout still don't reed reel good:

It's debatable whether Troncoso/Broxton are better than Madson/Lidge = "declaration that Madson/Lidge is [sic] the best end-game duo in baseball?"?

No, not =.

I guess someone didn't read aloud to Clout what I pasted above, which, by the way, makes redundant what Clout thinks I "conveniently" forgot:

"'If by "better" you mean, better this year, the award goes to Troncoso/Broxton, obviously. If you mean better as in, who's better, no I don't think we have a basis for legitimate comparison. Lidge vs. Broxton perhaps, although even here...

Troncoso has a 1.63 ERA and WHIP of 1.01 in 27 2/3 innings. Madson has put up similar numbers over similar time spans, more than once.'"

I'll just add that, last October, after Broxton gives up a homer to Stairs and Lidge closes out his 4? consecutive save, would anyone have said "Broxton is better, as in essentially better, than Lidge"? Probably not. You may not have been wrong to say so, strictly speaking, but the assertion would have hardly seemed obvious.

That was 7 months ago, or about 40 baseball games ago. Is Broxton better, as in essentially better, than Lidge? Perhaps, but it isn't obvious. The point's debatable (or maybe it isn't; maybe we don't know enough), but surely the cattiness is uncalled-for. And bad reeding is always--bad.

Madson is one of the Top 10 relievers in the NL. His only continuing "weakness" is he loses velocity when he is somewhat overworked. His changeup is his best pitch and one of the best changeups in the game. Its further accentuated by his now 96-97 mph fastball that also has good movement. He'd be the best reliever on most teams in baseball.

Broxton has gotten off to a good start but he sucked last year in the playoffs. He's currently pitching much better than Lidge but his stuff is not as good as Lidge when both are on.

"YES network showed Yankee fan Paul Simon a coupla times without noticing he was sitting next to his old partner, and Phils fan, Art Garfunkel. At least they didn't think he was John Mayberry Sr, I guess. "

Posted by: EastFallowfield

I missed the game today but I saw that crapy yesterday. ER, sorry Mr. Mayberry, we thought THAT guy was you. You expect to see two vaguely athletic black guys (who look nothing lik eone another) in Phillies gear? Hell, anyone can make that mistake.

klaus: I think I see the problem. You missed benson's original post and then assumed what the discussion was about. You know what assume does.

His original post said Madson/Lidge are the best combo in baseball. Period. Not last year.

That's what you said was "debatable."

BAP: "AFish: Logically, there is no reason to think that Lidge would pitch any better in a setup role."

Then how do you explain that when Lidge was removed from the closer role 3 times in Houston he pitched better in setup?

clout, your logic has no place in this discussion.

Except it wasn't Phillies gear the non-Mayberry was wearing. It was gear from the Panamanian World Baseball Classic Team. Not all black males of a certain age look alike, and I guess not all "P"s look alike.

"In the prior thread benson says Madson/Lidge is better than Trancoso/Broxton.

Interesting."

No, that's what I said was debatable. That your preferred method is to "argue" elliptically, thus inviting misunderstanding, is your problem

I think Lidge will find less pressure if him and Madson switch.

Lidge in the 8th inning (career):
.199/.299/.311/.610, 3.08 K/BB
Lidge in the 9th inning (career):
.225/.309/.381/.690, 3.38 K/BB
(per baseball-reference)

There is a marked increase in SLG for opponents against Lidge in the 9th inning compared to the 8th inning. I suppose this is because batters are swinging for the fences. Lidge is somewhat better in the 8th inning than the 9th inning, though this data doesn't sort between save and non-save situations.

What would be interesting would be to compare Lidge to other closers: do they pitch markedly better in the 8th than the 9th inning?

Moving Lidge to the 8th inning, if he is indeed not injured, is probably the right move at this point.

Despite getting the loss today to fall to 0-6, Carlos Carrasco actually had his 2nd solid outing in a row after that funk he was in earlier in the month. 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Its starting to look like it was more of a rough patch than a trend with him. Good deal.

manuel was plain nuts to put lidge in after he showed nothing yesterday. did manuel think lidge was suddenly going to acquire a modicum of control overnight? this manager's insistence of building confidence in his players by putting them into tight situations is noble but ineffective. if a 30 year old man has to be handled with kid gloves to do the job he gets paid millions of dollars for he isn't worth a damn as a man. where is this guy's self motivation? pure ego ought to kick in and drive lidge to do better, if that takes practice in the minors, so be it. 2008 is just a memory, this guy is a grown men making millions of dollars not a 16 year old prom queen who has no personal confidence. manuel ought to kick lidge right in the butt, because if anyone who reads this had screwed up in their own 16 million dollar a year job repeatedly they would be shown the door.

i think its a bunch of crap to coddle professional athletes who do not perform. lidge ought to sit in the bullpen until he has proven to manuel that he can throw strikes.

he is losing games that the rest of his teammates are trying to win.

george steinbrenner was a real SOB, but he paid top dollar for talent and demanded that players (and managers) put up the numbers or they would be gone.

Re: Neyer

He was terrible all throughout that column, not just on the awful Coste/Ruiz point.

But, he also made a stupid point involving the Marlins and Bonafacio, The Pirates and Matt Capps, the Dodgers and Furcal, the Braves and Francouer, the Cubs and Derrek Lee.

Just an awful comment.

This business about the "closer" is really annoying. Again why was Condrey able to close today?
Answwr: He was effective. Lidge has not been and for sometime.

Actually if anyone wants to recall Lidge was an adventure for the last couple of months last year. Now its no longer an advenure its become a nightmare.

Klaus: If it is "debatable" I await your debate.

Really well played series, by the Phils.

Besides Blanton's one bad inning, the Phils starters have looked really solid the past week. With that, the bullpen has gotten some rest and taken some heat off of the offense.

Now, you have to go home, and get the mojo back in CBP. Have to get that turned around now.

Down on the farm, Taylor had 3 more hits (including a 3B). Now hitting in the low .320's.

Harman with a grand slam. Now hitting close to .300 for the year.

Carrasco had his 2nd straight solid outing today at LV. 8 K's in 6 innings. Another tough luck loss for him. He seems to have rounded back into shape the past week, after a rough 2-3 week stretch. Just hope he doesn't get down, because the team is so pathetic.

Have the Marlins named a starter for Wednesday yet?

And, I would look for Werth to get the day off tomorrow. Get Stairs in there in RF, and maybe get Dobbs in the lineup again at 3B.

Then, possibly get Ibanez a day off on Tuesday, by putting Mayberry in the lineup against Miller.

And, then maybe rest Vic on Wednesday, with Werth in CF and either Stairs or Mayberry in RF (depending upon whether its a righty or lefty starter for the Fish).

Cholly now, has some options, for his lineup.

Not be be overly optimistic but other than Lidge this team seems to be coming together. Good to see. If we get another starter we could be dangerous...like 2008 dangerous.

i'm getting tired of all this "DL Lidge" - "move him to the 8th inning" talk. He is their closer - they signed him for three more years. He has to get it together and they have to have faith that he will. Until he blows 5 saves in a row nothing is changing. So deal with it.

Yesterday was bad but today he gave up a couple of seeing eye singles. He does need to figure out the stolen base thing.

In short, calm down. Madson will go through bad stretches, too.

"You know what he needs? Just to get ‘em out one more time. That’s what he needs. He’s fine." - Manuel on Lidge (05/24/09)

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090524&content_id=4919584&vkey=news_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi>Struggling Lidge To Remain Phils' Closer


Uh oh ... :-S

Marlins are debating whether to move Cantu or Uggla based on a Matt Cain package.

Morons. Cain might cost too much in arb when he gets there.

If Uggla doesn't get moved and doesn't completely turn it around, look for the Fish to non-tender a 30-95 second baseman.

Maybe someday we (Yanks, Mets, Sox, Angels, Cubs, Phils) will grow tired of paying Hanley Ramirez and push to contract that farce of an organization.

NEPP: The last term I would describe to use last year's Phils is "dangerous".

Gritty maybe. Clutch, yes. Dangerous? No sir.

Thanks for sharing your experiences of the game, HH. It's fun to hear a firsthand report.

$9 beer would just make me mad.

Here's who was "dangerous" for the 08 Phils in the postseason:

Blanton, Myers, Ruiz, Feliz and Stairs.

Can't forget Rollins 0-10 start in the WS, either.

Caution! The 07 MVP is up. What's that? Victor Conte is in jail? Phew. 0-10.

****NEPP: The last term I would describe to use last year's Phils is "dangerous".****

Yeah, we did lose 3 games in the playoffs...what was I thinking?

Yes you won the World Series NEPP. Everyone knows this.

That said, you weren't, and still aren't, feared. Mets fans look forward to playing you guys because it's basically the only time we get to brag (other than that flukish, weird 8 in a row or whatever it was at the end of 07).

You aren't a dangerous team. You're scrappy, gritty and resilient, with a premier power hitter waiting in the middle to clean those guys up. That's not taking anything away. You won the WS. Obviously you're pretty freakin' good.

But the outside world wouldn't say dangerous. Well, maybe that new MLB Network analyst named Mitch Williams might.

An oxymoron - my name is "phils suck" but I finally admit "You won the WS. Obviously you're pretty freakin' good."

Too soon to flip about Lidge.

I was thinking about this, because I didn't want him to put Lidge in either. But Lidge was perfect last year, and there's a reason Chrlie is a "player's manager." He sticks to his guys, he has their backs, they know that, and they play for him. If he keeps giving Lidge rope to hang himself with Brad may well hang himself, and Charlie may make a change, but making it today would have been too soon. It would have undercut the way he manages his team.

I hear this 'seeing eye singles' talk, but I think the point is that Lidge is pitching to contact far too often, never mind all the walks. And a closer who pitches to contact is usually an oxymoron.

Madson 2007-09:

3.05 ERA 1.23 WHIP 7.5 k/9

Troncoso (2008-09, or, entire career):

3.15 ERA 1.17 WHIP 7.3 k/9

Lidge:

3.33 ERA 1.23 WHIP 12.4 k/9

Broxton:

2.86 ERA 1.16 WHIP 11.6 k/9

So far in his career Broxton has tossed 264 innings. After 259 innings (or his 4th year) Lidge's numbers went like so:

2.71 ERA 1.12 WHIP 12.9 k/9

Lidge then fell apart. But in 08 he threw to the tune of:

1.95 ERA 1.22 WHIP 11.9 k/9

Can Lidge be as good or nearly so again? Or is he permanently "undone", as Dante says. I don't know, which renders the question as to who is better, as in essentially better, Lidge or Broxton, difficult to answer.

But as for Madson v. Tronosco, the really relevant statistic is this:

459.2 career IP vs. 65.2 career IP.


RSB: Yesterday he couldn't get his fastball over. Today his first pitch gets hit because he gets it over. Two different situations.

You have to pitch to pitch the ball over the plate to get a strike or two before you start "not pitching to contact." Even if you throw 100 you still might get contact when you throw it over the plate. The not pitching to contact stuff happens after you have two strikes.

And I feel like I should clarify, since Clout's reeding skillz appear diminished:

I'm not arguing that Madson/Lidge are better than Troncoso/Broxton. I'm arguing that it's arguable, or, put another way, that saying so doesn't warrant scorn.

If we were in the postseason, and talking about a guy who had done well all year: Absolutely I would leave him as closer. That's why I would never criticize Fregosi for putting Mitch in to close back in '93.

The fact is that now we are talking about a guy who has clearly not gotten the job done, and it's the regular season with plenty of time to correct. The contract is a sunk cost. If it was just a mental issue I would say put him back to the 7th inning - but it's obviously an injury! We are in first place and there is just no reason to be playing injured players for any reason right now. DL Lidge, let Madson close. Condrey-Durbin-Madson from 7-9 isn't bad at all.

I don't even really understand the ground rules for this Madson/Lidge v. Troncoso/Broxton debate. Are we talking about 2009? If so, there isn't much debate, since Lidge is the worst closer in baseball this year. Are we talking about 2008? Again, there would be little debate, since Troncoso was a very average reliever last year and Lidge was the best closer in the National League. Or are we talking about some hypothetical universe where all 4 pitchers pitch to their presumed upside potential? If so, that's a pretty abstract debate, as it's a pretty arbitrary exercise to decide what someone's upside potential is. Troncoso barely even has a major league track record on which to judge him, while Lidge's epic first quarter meltdown makes it impossible to meaningfully assess what his near-term "upside" is or how likely he is to achieve that presumed upside anytime soon.

By the way, the Mets have a pretty good 8th/9th inning duo, as well.

When you say that someone has the best 8th/9th inning duo in baseball, that implies that you are talking about the present tense. That would have to exclude any duo of which Lidge is a member. On the other hand, if you say that Broxton & Troncoso are the best duo, you can only be basing your opinion on the first 6 weeks of this season, since Troncoso was nothing special last year (and wasn't even a setup man). But 6 weeks is a pretty small sample size upon which to be declaring a duo the best in baseball.

In short, this is a debate which should be had in about August, not May. At this point, it's more of a semantical debate about what each side means by the word "best."

Yes BAP I think you're right.

Thank you, BAP. I'm getting ready to sleep and that argument made my head hurt like a 3-2 fastball to A-Rod after walking a guy using nothing but fastballs.

"Then how do you explain that when Lidge was removed from the closer role 3 times in Houston he pitched better in setup?"

clout: I believe I went on to say precisely this. It's illogical in the sense that it isn't terribly rational that a pitcher can be good as a setup man but not as a closer. But there is obviously a substantial mental component to pitching and, if Lidge's history says that he has always excelled in the setup role, but has often struggled in the closer's role, I'm at a loss as to why the Phillies don't make the switch & see if it works.

It's hard for Phillies fans to have been angry about Lidge's 3 year/36 million extension which is beginning to look at horrible as Oliver Perez's identical contract. The reason why is, even though it was signed before the Phillies knew what they were getting, he was incredible last season. I don't know if there's one better season a closer's ever had. If Lidge has even a good year, like another year in his career, the Phillies probably wouldn't have won the world series. That's how good he was last season. For everything the Mets have miscalculated on injuries or not even being able to fire a manager respectfully, the Phillies are either too stubborn to do that with Lidge, they don't want to hurt his ego or naive enough to believe he can turn it around without a DL stint. The Phillies do got something to be worried about if he's actually healthy though. He's been like this in his career before. He's had injuries. Now he's getting older.

Maybe Phillies fans got too cocky and too that for granted. I remember them giving it to Mets fans saying how JJ Putz will be their closer by the summer when K-Rod and his ''mug'' get lit up off of. Yeah, some prediction that is. They come over taunting about Johan's elbow in late February, yet he's been amazing and even though Cole's turning it around, he's had lots of injury concerns? This is what happens when people get cocky, I guess.

If this division comes down to pitching, which I think it's fair to say it will, since the Phillies bullpen was great last season (rotation was similar), than the Phillies are really screwed. No closer. No 3 starter. No 4 starter. All of them have look horrible in nearly the first 2 months of the season. The Mets have one of the best bullpen's in baseball. Putz has been so-so, while K-Rod's been ''lights out'', but the rest of the bullpen has been real good, especially Parnell. The reason the Mets haven't gotten out to a lead is because of crappy defense and poor base running (although league leading SB's, even without Reyes there for a little bit). That's a lot easier to fix than Lidge, Moyer or Blanton. Eventually, I think the Mets will make some sort of package with Ryan Church and Jon Niese for Jermaine Dye. They could try broadening that to A.J. Pierzysnki too, who could help their ''toughness.'' With their depth this challenged, trades are going to happen, probably from both sides.

Tom: Yea, you got it man, I'm sure the reason Lidge, Blanton, and Moyer are struggling and Hamel's early elbow problems, all happened because SOME of the fanbase got cocky..............

The Mets pitching has been great so far, but that starting rotation isn't all that deep. Their bullpen is the best in the NL. The Mets improved the holes they had last year, I'm sure they'll make a run eventually. You can think the Mets are in better shape than the Phils, through your eyes they probably are, but its still only May.

It's way too soon to hit the panic button on Lidge. I mean things aren't good right now, but it was A-Rod one night and two seeing eye hits yesterday. Anyone critical of his contract better check themselves because we were all jumping for joy when he signed it.

Glad to see Clay Condrey getting some press. He's been a savior this year doing a very unheralded, but important job.

It'll be interesting to see if Ruiz can keep this up. Maybe he's a late bloomer.

Great weekend, lots of fun. Hopefully they can finally have a good homestand now.

Lidge did not pitch badly yesterday. If either of those ground balls is 5-10 feet left or right, it's an easy inning. And if Zimmerman's grounder is 2 feet to J-Roll's left last September, the Phillies are again forced to win the division on the last day of the season, Hamels has to pitch that one and not the playoff opener and who knows what might have happened then? Brad Lidge will turn it around.

Hard to take the mEts fans attacking our backend starters all that seriously right now when Livan Hernandez is #4 and Tim Redding is #5.

For all the talk of our lousy starters, going to Yankee stadium and not walking a single Yankee is kind of impressive for them.

Brad Lidge speaking with Lisa Olson...
"Man, today was totally different than yesterday. I felt great," Lidge said. "I was throwing the ball where I wanted to. They got two ground balls that weren't necessarily hit that well, and a stolen base in there and that was a recipe for a run. The things I was in control of today I feel real good about. I'm disappointed with the result and I know that I've got to start -- no matter what it is -- I've got to start getting them down."

If Brad and Charlie aren't worried about it, neither am I. He'll be all right.

Yea, watching the highlights knowing the Phils won those groundballs don't look as bad as they felt live.

Anyway, only two teams in baseball with fewer losses than the Phils...Dodgers (3) and Texas (1).

Brad Lidge is currently the worst closer in Major League Baseball. Yesterday I pointed out that he wouldn't be the closer if not for his increasingly suspect contract extension of 3 yrs $37.5M. Today I'll tell you why we should all be worried. This isn't the "Mr. Perfect" 48 saves in 48 opportunities Brad Lidge of 2008. This is the return of the outcast from Houston Brad Lidge of 2006/2007. That's the Brad Lidge that was demoted/promoted/demoted/etc. from the closer's role. He gave up 19 homeruns in those two seasons combined, and has surrendered 6 this season. However, even in 06/07, he was able to control his pitches and not give up tons of base hits, but that's far from the case here in 2009. Lidge has walked 12 batters in only 19.2 innings, while putting the ball on the tee for 29 hits.

Klaus: Read this v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-ly so you understand: benson said nothing about their careers. I said nothing about their careers. That was not part of the discussion until you invented it. It was about NOW. Who ws the best NOW. Get it?

For a guy who criticizes others' reading comprehension, you need to tend your own garden.

BTW, I am among those who would give Lidge more rope, but it is amusing to see the Beerleaguer hypocrisy hard at work making excuses for a favored player when players not so popular should be yanked after 1 or 2 bad appearances or bad ABs.

NEPP: "If we get another starter we could be dangerous...like 2008 dangerous."

On paper, I've thought since spring training this team is better than last year's. Add to that the better conditioning of Myers and Howard and Howard's improved defense, plus having last year's rotation from the start (now that Happ is back) and I think the case is pretty solid.

The best team doesn't always win, of course, and there can be key injuries along the way, but frankly I'd take my chances with this team as it is, even without adding another SP. And, yes, I know the Beerleaguer community has declared Moyer washed up, finished.

BAP on the "best tandem in baseball" debate:

"In short, this is a debate which should be had in about August, not May."

My point exactly, which is why I raised my eyebrows on it. Interesting that some people just didn't get that.

" but it is amusing to see the Beerleaguer hypocrisy hard at work making excuses for a favored player when players not so popular should be yanked after 1 or 2 bad appearances or bad ABs."

lol. There is no one at BL who uses the factor of sample size more selectively than clout - to criticize players he doesn't like or promote favored players.

I love Dubee's quote about Lidge: "He's just searching right now for the right way to go about it." Maybe he should search in the 7th or 8th inning. Once the search is successful he can save again.
Clay Condrey: Mayor of the bullpen.

flipper: Your obsession with me remains touching, and the fact you have an alert every time I post is amusing, but please cite a post where I used a too-small sample size to criticize or promote a player.

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