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Friday, July 31, 2009


“Sherrill would be an upgrade from Romero and could step in as closer should Lidge continue to flop. The Dodgers got him for a couple of C-level prospects. But we can't have more spending, can we?” - clout

I wish I was capable of coming up with such insightful information. Clout really showing his genious here. I cannot wait to be further enlightened.

Opponents are hitting .293 against Brad Lidge in 2009.

It sure scares me, they just got a closer that is doing a lot better than ours so far this season, and he is not even going to be their closer.

Bold prediction: If lidge and co don't become dominant come postseason time, we aren't going to the WS

"showing his genious here"

very untimely spelling error by myself right there.

Excerpted/revised from end of previous thread:

Is Sherrill worth a couple of prospects - absolutely. I agree that he's probably worth more against the Phillies than he would be with them, but that's fairly elementary considering the heart of their lineup. But it's not like highly effective left-handed relievers don't come in handy against all teams. Romero is a quality lefty, Eyre is a useful earlier-inning LH option, but neither of those guys inspire a high degree of confidence and neither can close.

It's possible Lidge will finally turn it around, but I think it's more likely that the Phils will rue not getting more bullpen help. Playoff games are often tight affairs that come down to the later innings. I'm not comfortable with 'Wild Thing' Romero, 'Blow 'em Away or Bust' Madson, or 'Light Embankments Out' Lidge as the three primary guardians as the games get bigger and bigger.

The Phillies are never as bad as they look when they're going bad, and not nearly as good as they look when they're on a run. Cliff Lee might get them an extra win or two in the post-season, but his presence doesn't address the bullpen issue or the latent unpredictability/inconsistency of the offense.

Two weeks in the role does not prove Madson can't do the job. If Lidge continues to falter, I'm totally OK with Madson back there. To me, Sherrill would have been a nice addition, but was not the highest priority. Getting a guy like Lee/Halladay was.

I would've been happy with Sherrill. But to say we "missed the boat" on him implies that it was our most pressing need and we screwed up not addressing it, and I don't believe that to be the case.

The Dodgers DID NOT get Sherrill "for a couple of C-level prospects." Josh Bell projects as a switch-hitting, adequate defensive 3B with solid power, and is better than any current Phillies prospect not named Drabek, Brown, or Taylor.

I'd have loved to get Sherrill, but the O's were only going to move him for a nice package, and that's what the Dodgers gave up. I'd still like to shore up the bullpen, but there quite frankly isn't much out there, and having surrendered our 4 of our 7 best prospects beyond "The Big 3," overpaying for Sherrill just didn't make sense for the Phils.

Just saw on MLBTR that a few teams are checking out Bloomquist. Here's wishful thinking that the Phils are trying to find some Gnome repellent.

Also, I'd love to watch Lee's start tonight, unfortunately, I'm traveling to Arkansas later in the day and I'll be shocked if I can find a bar with MLB extra innings there, much less one willing to show PHI/SFO. Can you buy just one game on

RSB: What makes you believe that teams like the Giants or Rockies are that much better than the Marlins and Braves?

I suppose the Central may be better, but they've certainly not demonstrated it just yet.

This idea that the Phils are only doing so well because the rest of the division sucks is a myth. Plain and simple. Typical of negative Phillies fans to suggest it, but a myth nonetheless.

I posted this at the end of the last thread, and while I more or less agree with Jack, perhaps making the point moot, I thought I'd reiterate:

RSB: I agree that Lidge has not performed well to date, and is unlikely to return to last year's form (likely because of a bum knee). I also agree that the Phils' BP is more likely than than not to "do them in"--IF, in fact, they are done in at all. This is a capital IF because it seems reasonable to say that the Phillies' strengths surpass those of other NL contenders (Best offense, best defense, and one of the top rotations in the league, leaving a mediocre BP as the team's default weak link).

That said, I don't agree that Madson has proven not to be a viable backup option. He has surrendered ER in 9 of 52 appearances this year: he surrendered ER in 3 of 33 appearances prior to June 16; in 3 of 3 appearances from June 16-20; and in 3 of 16 appearances since June 20. To me, it seems like the guy had a bad week in the middle of June. Yes, this was a 3 game stretch in which he was filling in for an injured Brad Lidge in the closer's role, but unless you're of the school of thought that it was something about the ninth inning, and not, say, fatigue or some soreness, or whatever, that caused his rough patch in June, I think we have every reason to believe Madson would likely perform well as a closer. He's a good pitcher, and would likely be a good option, still, were Brad Lidge to continue to struggle.

@Drake, Lee is from Arkansas so maybe you might find a place showing the game.

And another thing...

There's not an easier piece to add to your team following the trade deadline than a bullpen piece.

The idea that the Phils won't address the bullpen if necessary is laughable. They just traded for a reigning Cy Young winner after all. They're prepared to do what it takes to make this team better.

Finally, I believe the Phils are waiting to see just where Brett Myers may be in a couple weeks. We'll know better by the middle of August if he'll be a possibility for our bullpen.

Tigers get Washburn according to MLBTR.

Jack: I just disagree - I think it is more of a pressing need than you do. I'm basing my assessment of Madson on more than just his struggles in the closer's role. The guy is seriously in love with his fastball, and it's making him a less effective pitcher no matter what inning he goes out to pitch.

Also, this year, Madson has basically been every bit as good as Sherrill.

Madson: 3.40 ERA, .9 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, 8.9 K/9
Sherrill: 2.40 ERA, .7 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

I always envisioned Willie Bloomquist ending up with the Phillies, since everyone from Gillick's Mariner teams seems to serve one tour of duty with the Phillies. Willie Bloomquist sure doesn't excite me very much, but if he were the guy that hastened Eric Bruntlett's departure, I think I'd become the founding member of the Willie Bloomquist Fan Club.

RSB: Ok, we disagree on the degree of importance.

I agree that Madson has stopped throwing enough of his best pitch, the changeup. FWIW, though, I think it's the addition of the cutter that has screwed him up. It's that pitch at 90 MPH that he seems to hang at the top of the zone every time he throws it. He should be strcitly throwing the 96 MPH 4-seamer and the 82 Change. He was dominant with those last year and early this year.

Frankly, the biggest value to getting Sherrill would be that our lefty hitters wouldn't have to face him.

clout: Pedro already said he would accept a bullpen role and has a stipulation in his contract about it. His bullpen and rehab sessions have already gone well, no?

Jack: You stole that line from me.

Sneed: Which line?

In the end, it will come down to the 9th inning....

the biggest value to getting Sherrill would be that our lefty hitters wouldn't have to face him.

You stole that point. I am now going to hold an 8 year grudge over this cheating, unless you come clean.

philip: See you learned something without me even posting. How to spell genius.

When did you say that? If it was over this past weekend, you can't honestly expect me to remember.

If so, I apologize. I will fully cite you in the future. Do you prefer MLA or Chicago-style citations?

clout: Do you beleive Pedro will not make a start for the Phillies?

I'm not sure either way, but I'm guessing it will. You certainly seem to imply that you don't think it's going to happen.

BREAKING NEWS: Bruntlett's OPS+ has descended to a whopping 1 (one) after last night's six-pitch strikeout. The Bearded Big Unit, indeed.

Unikruk: That's awesome. One of the bigger storylines of the next few weeks is whether Bruntlett can break 0, right?

Put me in the camp that thinks getting a closer is fairly critical. It's not that I don't think Madson could do it. It's that, well, that would leave us without a setup guy.

Unless the Phillies want to trade Happ, Drabek, Taylor, or Brown, though, they definitely don't have what it takes to get Heath Bell or Chad Qualls. But I could see them making a post-deadline trade for a veteran setup man.

so I guess what I can infer from this thread that just 10.5 hours before Cliff Lee throws his first pitch for the Phillies, that the season = over because the Dodgers got Sherrill.

I'm so glad I don't have to watch the rest of the season.

bl'er is the best.

Thought it was realistic to assume about 2 weeks ago that the criteria to judge how Amaro did at the deadline was if he filled 2 of the 3 roles the Phils really needed:

- Frontline starter
- Right-handed bat off the bench
- Bullpen arm

He clearly did that with the Lee/Francisco trade. Yeah, the Phils could certainly use another bullpen arm like Sherrill or Bell but I wonder what it would have cost the Phils in terms of prospects.

To me, the Dodgers getting Sherrill isn't that bad. Sure, ideally you'd like him to stay in Baltimore, but I don't think he replaces Broxton as closer. We seem to do just fine against Broxton. besides, Howard is the only one this significantly hurts from our 3-4-5. Utley's OPS only drops 9 points against leftys, and Raul's goes up about 80 points. Howard, of course, loses about 500 points. I think too much has been made of traditional splits.

PhillyFriar: Clearly you rate prospects much more highly than many scouts do. Bell was the Dodgers 8th best prospect and Johnson was 15th. Neither are in BA top 100 prospects.

He's racing Cairo to -50, isn't he? Miggy has a head start but fewer PAs, so a bloop hit could really set him back.

sneed: Have you ever heard a major league team say that a pitcher's bullpen session DIDN'T go well? Seriously, what does it mean for a bullpen session to go well? I think we'll know a lot more about Pedro's prospects after tonight. Considering his 2008 numbers, I would say expectations should be low.

This reminds me of last year when we foolishly didn't give up Jason Donald for Ron Mahay and it cost us in the playoffs. Oh wait.

Give me a break people. We make a great trade for a Cy Young winner, and when the dust settles some people just can't resist overanalyzing themselves into a contrarian point of view to show how much smarter they are than everyone else. We "should have spent more time targeting" Sherrill instead of Lee? I can't remember who was the MVP of every playoff series last year. Was it Cole Hamels or Brad Lidge?

CJ: So the Phillies can pick up a Sherrill-level closer after the deadline should Lidge continue to fail?


CJ: I have my doubts about Pedro, although I like the signing. It's nice to see you say you don't know for sure since all your prior posts (and those of sneed etc.) assumed Pedro would be a contributor, no problem.

I know your worst nightmare is that no one will replace Moyer.

Phils won't be able to end a real impact guy after today in the bullpen. A situational guy like Erye might past through waivers but nobody that the Phils would use in the 8th/9th.

maybe we can lock jamie moyer in a room full of trevor hoffman film and tell him not to come out until he can duplicate it.

As soon as I saw that the Dodgers signed Sherrill, I quickly wondered what type of prosepcts the Dodgers shed to acquire him.

From the sounds of it, they were not very hard to match, and that puts me on the side of JW and others that are pretty disappointed the Phils didn't make a better offer.

Would anyone here suggest that the Phils shoudl have parted with any of their big 3 prospects? And if not, what other prospects do the Phils have that would be considered an upgrade over the two the Dodgers sent? If Savery/Worley types would have gotten it done, then that is pretty pitiful that we let him slide away.

Sherril is more valuable to the Dodgers than he would have been to us, and they gave up a lot to get him. I'm not worried about our bullpen, espicially if Lidge improves his HR rate to his career norms.

The only way this trade is significant is if we face the Dodgers in a series and are trailing in late innings with our big 3 lefties coming up to bat. Otherwise, he'll have little effect on anything.

Clout: Would you have traded your boy Travis D'Arnaud plus a pitcher like Savery/Worley for Sherrill?

Brian G - But the argument isn't Lee vs. Sherill and that isn't what people are saying at all.

It is that Lidge has been pretty poor for most of the year and that the Phils don't have an alternative for him if he ends up on the DL.

What I don't understand is why people think that Lidge is healthy and is going to be able to make it through the rest of year on that right knee. He probably will but it is far from a certainty given he has missed time twice this year including a 3-week stint on the DL.

clout: "CJ: So the Phillies can pick up a Sherrill-level closer after the deadline should Lidge continue to fail?"

Yes. Brett Myers.

Clout: so who in the Phillies system, besides the big 3, do you think would have trumped the Bell offer? Baltimore doesn't need a catcher and don't really need outfielders especially, the weaknesses in their system are at 3b and a ss so there was already a bias towards those positions and, of course, you can never have too many live arms all preferably near term major leaguers. So who would the Phillies have packaged?

Brian G: Your view of this discussion is skewed, as always. This thread began earlier with RSB's comment that he agrees with the Donnellon column that Sherrill would've been a nice addition and that we can't assume Lidge will return to form.

I realize that the views of someone who covers sports for a living pales in comparison to your vast storehouse of knowledge, but RSB and a few other folks throught Donnellon's point was worthy of discussion.

well, if we can't assume Lidge will return to form, and we can't assume Pedro will be effective, then we also can't assume Myers will be helpful out of the pen if he does in fact get the opportunity. Coming back from an injury that quickly is always risky. Hopefully, it works out, but you can't count on it. Frankly, I think the worst is over for our pen, but a Gillick-esque bargain bin pickup would probably be helpful.

thepahithphul, JBird: The closest equivalents to Bell & Johnson were Donald and Carpenter IMHO. Donald, of course, went in the Lee trade so you'd have to sub someone in for that. There is no real duplicate Donald in the Phils system so you'd either have to add something at another position that you think has equal value (Worley?) or someone at the same position who probably has a higher ceiling (Galvis.) Given the choice, I think the O's would've taken the Phils offer, but I'm probably biased in the Phils direction on prospects.

BAP: I didn't say anything about the quality or meaning of a bullpen session, I was just answering clout's retort. We all agree that Pedro is not a sure thing. Since absolute statements are stomped on like ants on BL, I will change my statement to: Pedro and Myers COULD help us in the bullpen.

Thanks for playing though.

Bell is like a Jason Donald type prospect -- maybe slightly better since he's having a good year, is a switch-hitter, and has a clear position. I'd call that a B prospect. I don't really see anyone in the Phillies' system, short of the Big 3 (and maybe D'Arnaud), whom you could rate his equal.

Jack: No because D'Arnaud is a far better prospect than Bell IMHO. In any event, catching is the last thing the Orioles need.

BAP: You're way higher on Bell than most of the couts I read. Unless you think Donald is a B prospect too.

The Marlins are going after Nick Johnson?

I hear what clout / RSB are saying, but I feel like Lidge's stuff has been improving, he's still trying to put it all together. I think he'll pull out of it. Of course, getting another quality arm helps your chances, but what can you do, you can't get everything..

clout, how was Donald NOT a B prospect? Isn't he the definition of a B prospect?

clout: As usual, your comprehension of my posts is lacking. Bullpen help does not mean the same as "Sherill-level closer." I do not believe the Phils require a Sherill-level closer to be successful.

And, as I stated, I think there is real hope from the Phils that Myers will be a contributor.

Finally, it's nice to see that you agree with me that Pedro will come to the Phillies and be a starter this season despite all of your bold proclamations to the contrary.

Why is anyone concerned about Sherrill at this point and the fact that the Phillies might face him?

There is a good chance the Dodgers would have to face either the Cardinals or Cubs in the first round and both those line-ups are tough to beat. The Cubs have solid pitching on top of that.

And I base my opinion on the fact that Lidge is still throwing hard and his slider has better break than it did earlier in the season. His pitches are improving, though his command is not yet there (hence, Reynolds' moon shot)

I don't see the Natinals trading in the division..of course they are the Natinals after all. Do we even know who their GM is yet?

Here's how I would sum this up, from my position:

Would Sherrill have helped this team? Yes. Am I glad the Dodgers got him? No. Given a choice between getting Lee or getting Sherrill, am I glad we got Lee? Yes. Do I think I understand the Phillies, having given up 4 top-10 prospects in the Lee deal, not giving up more prospects for Sherrill? Yes, although I would've been OK with sending off some more B or C-level prospects, if we could've made the right deal.

CJ: Please find one post where I predicted Pedro would not be able to help. You can't. I have simply said that we shouldn't assume, as you and most other posters have, that he will be able to help.

As for bullpen help, I too "hope" that Myers will be a contributor down the stretch. I also "hope" that Lidge rights himself or that Madson can be a solid closer and we can find another setup guy if needed. I just think a bird in hand is better than "hopes." And if all your hopes fail to come true, it might not be as easy as you think getting a closer post-deadline.

clout: Actually, Donald sure looks like a B prospect to me. He's a sure-fire bet to make the majors and has a reasonable chance to be a starter. I'd call that a B prospect. A C prospect would be someone like Carpenter or Worley or Travis Mattair or Greg Golson.

Phils pitching probables for the next 4 series:


Today- Lee
Saturday- Blanton
Sunday- Hamels


Tuesday- Moyer
Wednesday- Happ
Thursday- Lee


Friday- Blanton
Saturday- Hamels
Sunday- Moyer


Tuesday- Happ (back at home)
Wednesday- Lee
Thursday- Blanton

PROJECTION- Pedro joins rotation for series in Atlanta and makes his first Phils start on Saturday in Atlanta (August 15th), (Moyer is "shut down" for a while for rest).

BAP: I guess I'm a tougher grader. To me, a B prospect is a guy who quite likely will be an everyday player in the big leagues. If you think Donald will, then I agree he's a B. At the moment I don't think he will. If he learns how to play 2B I will change my mind and raise his grade (assuming he hits in Trip A).

LOL, I just looked up Sickels take on Donald (since he DOES use letter grades). He gives Donald a B-, splitting the difference.

clout: The only thing skewed is your implication that the Phillies didn't go after Sherrill bc of money.

I know where the thread began. I quoted RSB in making my point.

As for your last point.. so you think that BLers should all withhold their opinions if it clashes with the opinion of someone who "covers sports for a living"? Interesting.
Personally, I think that would make for a pretty boring site. But I do look forward to you rescinding all your criticisms of Keith Law's views on prospects.

I could care less about the Dodgers getting / the Phillies not getting George Sherill. The Cliff Lee excitement only lasted one day?

clout: My goodness! Did I mischaracterize what you said?!?!? I'm very, very sorry. I can't imagine that happening to anyone.

From John Sickels:

4) Jason Donald, SS, Grade B-: Still doubt he has the range for shortstop. But I like the bat a lot. Borderline Grade B?

Brian G: I was implying nothing of the sort. That tongue-in-cheek post was directed to Jack.
As for "your point" perhaps you should read the post I was responding to:

"Give me a break people. We make a great trade for a Cy Young winner, and when the dust settles some people just can't resist overanalyzing themselves into a contrarian point of view to show how much smarter they are than everyone else. We "should have spent more time targeting" Sherrill instead of Lee? I can't remember who was the MVP of every playoff series last year. Was it Cole Hamels or Brad Lidge?"

That isn't remotely what RSB ws saying and you know it.

MG: SO according to you since Lidge spent time on the DL this season then he is injured for the rest of the year?

Do you really think if Lidge were injured the Phillies would run him out there as often as they do and not shut him down?

Jack: Nice to see you've changed your view. I agree with this 100% as your last sentence is the exact point that RSB and I were making, which you initially disagreed with:

"Would Sherrill have helped this team? Yes. Am I glad the Dodgers got him? No. Given a choice between getting Lee or getting Sherrill, am I glad we got Lee? Yes. Do I think I understand the Phillies, having given up 4 top-10 prospects in the Lee deal, not giving up more prospects for Sherrill? Yes, although I would've been OK with sending off some more B or C-level prospects, if we could've made the right deal.

Does anyone want to debate whether Donald is a B- or C+?

FWIW, Sickels gives Bell a C+.

I haven't read all the comments, but I'll post this:

Phillies vs NL divisions

East: 25-15, C: 15-6, W: 12-9


E: 13-8, C: 11-10, W: 30-12

RSB, who's division makes them look good?

clout: I agree with that last paragraph from your 1226 post as well. Glad we can stop talking about this.

From what I've seen from Lidge, the velocity on his FB is up from earlier in the year and the bite of his slider looks a lot sharper. When he's on, he's still making hitters look pretty stupid. The problem is his control. I don't think he's still hurt, and if he is, it isn't significant.

Those who are relying on Myers to swoop in and be the BP's savior this year are really getting ahead of themselves. There's no guarantee that if he pushed himself to come back he'd be a useful piece, let alone good enough to take over as closer if Lidge implodes.

I'm thrilled we got Lee, especially for a low price, but whether it be Sherrill or somebody else I think we should have (or should, in the next three hours) looked for this type of deal to help the bullpen. It's not like it's not out there to get. This is really Amaro just saying "I think we're fine in the bullpen," which is kind of disconcerting and makes you wonder if he's been watching the games.

Time for some Gnome comedy (or horror) to lighten up the mood...

Since June 16th, Gnome is a robust 2 for 33 at the plate (I think that is .060) with 10 K's and 0 BB's.

His 2 hits, were a bunt hit at Toronto and a double off of a shortstop against Cincy.

For the year, he has 10 hits, 22 K's and 1 SB.

And somehow, someway, he has been on the major league 25 man roster since opening day.

TI - Yeah. If you called any basic orthopedist and told them you had a patient who had 2 previous surgeries in the past 2 year to repair cartilage and connective tissue damage on the same knee and was still suffering from chronic inflammation of that same knee with mixed results in responding to standard steroid treatment (cortisone shot), yeah I would think he tend to say the guy needs a very prolonged period of rest and a likely consultation with an orthopedic surgeon to examine his options if the knee didn't respond to 4-6 weeks or rest.

Clout: Yeah, of course I would've been OK with sending off mediocre prospects to get Sherrill and add to the pen. It's just I also understand the Phils' reluctance, and I also think it's not something worth spending a lot of time complaining about, considering we added a Cy Young winner to the rotation yesterday. But I know on BL it's a lot more fun to complain about the marginal moves we didn't make than the big ones we did.

MG, M.D.

Clout, George Sherrill is a "bird in the hand"? A) He's never played for a contender. B) Did you watch him at all in 2008? O's sold high on Sherrill. Likelyhood of Lidge being better, Madson being better, OR Myers coming back is high, IMHO, than George Sherrill being some magical 8/9th inning guy in the stretch drive and playoffs.

Truth: Isn't it within the realm of possibility that Lidge is injured but is lying about it or minimizing it? Has that kind of thing ever happened before?

There's plenty of circumstantial evidence that Lidge is injured. Though he had bad spells in Houston, he never had anything remotely this bad in terms of completely losing his command.

When Lidge went on the DL earlier in the year, he SAID his kneee was bothering him, and he said it had been bothering him for most of the off-season. Of course, both before and after that, he said the knee was fine. But one of those groups of statements has to be false. When he went on the DL, he was back pitching in the minors 10 days later. It simply isn't possible that an injury which 3 months of rest didn't cure would suddenly be cured by 10 days worth of rest.

Rather< I should say:

RSB, whose division "makes them look better than they are"?

Nah just have a biology background, tons of family in medicine, and know the order sets & stuff pretty well from previous work I have done with orthopedists while working on EMRs.

Several posters have speculated that Brad Lidge's knee may still be bothering him, and some--Iceman, here--have countered that this kind of injury should be evidenced by a decrease in velocity, especially on his fastball. No decrease in velocity would imply that we should look to Lidge's head, and not his knee for the source of his struggles.

I'm less convinced by this latter line of reasoning. Lidge's slider in the dirt is a great pitch only if a batter needs to be concerned about mid-nineties fastballs. Otherwise it's a good pitch that good hitters can let go for a ball without concern about a fastball whizzing by. Control and velocity go hand in hand. If Lidge needs to use more of his upper body to generate velocity on his fastball (to set up his slider) because of a weakened knee, his sustained mid-nineties velocity and diminished control would make perfect sense.

I think it's likely that Lidge is injured, but that he and the front office believe he can still contribute to the team in the way that several players have over the past few years. In this sense, Iceman and I are in agreement: it's a nagging injury, one that may require surgery, but not one that would preclude valuable contribution. This seems to be the FO's MO, as I imagine it is with many front offices. Utley was hampered by a serious hip injury, but still performed at a high level in 2008. Jimmy Rollins went to the DL last year only after hanging around with a bum ankle for some time. Ryan Howard suffered mightily in the beginning of 2007, and it turned out that he started the season at under 100%, and would hit the DL in May. Brett Myers has indicated that his hip has been an issue for quite a while. The list is extensive.

Many have noted how team health is a big reason for the Phillies success these past three years, and of course they haven't had the kind of injuries that the Mets have had, which surely would have turned the idea of a repeat into a pipe dream. But this misses what I think is really remarkable about this team, and what is likely the mark of most championship teams: not just the good fortune to remain healthy, but the ability to continue to contribute when not.

MG: You're the only person on here, in the national or local media who continue the drumbea tthat Lidge is hurt.

He isn't. Control is his issue right now as Iceman mentioned. You've decided he is hurt so you are grasping at straws trying to make it so.

There is nothing in his delivery right now that points to injury. There is nothing before or after games to point to that.

There have been zero reports in the past month of Lidge having any issue with the knee. But you've decided that's the case.

I can only assume you're a doctor?

Iceman, if Knapp winds up as CLE #1 and Carrasco #2, it won't be a "low price".

Most analysts seem to think it was a good trade for both sides.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter whether Lidge is injured or not. You can't keep sending a closer out there who has a 7+ ERA, no matter what the explanation. An injury explanation, however, would preclude the possibility that he's suddenly going to start pitching better at some point -- which is what the Phillies seem to be counting on.

As for shutting down Lidge, Lidge strikes me as the type of athlete/person who loathes going to the physician, is crappy with complying with physician instructions, and literally will not come off the field unless someone with direct authority over him mandate it & take the decision out of his hand.

Here is a ugly stat...

The Phils haven't had a pinch-hitter get a knock, since the July 22 game against Chicago when Mayberry had a pinch-hit single against Zambrano.

Pinch-hitters are 1 for their last 13 and Stairs hasn't had a pinch-hit (or a hit of any kind) since July 11th.

Ben Franklin's acquisition is a big one too. The bench hasn't gotten it done, most of this year.

TI - It not magic. Its basic human physiology. Guys like Lidge with his particular knee problems don't get 100% better with 2 weeks of rest and then resume a regular & concentrated physical regiment again.

Lidge isn't some guy who sits in a cube 9-5 and doesn't have to physically exert himself much/put much stress on his knee in a load-bearing capacity.

He's hurt. The matter is just how severe the pain is and how it effects his range of motions. I am sure Lidge is capable of dealing with a moderate amount of pain and continuing to play through it. This likely affects several aspects though of his performance including subtle changes in his delivery, his "confidence" factor in ability to firm plant and drive off that knee, and the simple pain factor.

Rolo: most analysts think it was a good trade for both sides? Who are these analysts? Most I've heard from say the Phillies got away with highway robbery here, at least in the immediate.

The Phils got an AL Cy-Young pitcher without subtracting anything from their current roster and no sure-fire prospect. Not to mention the fact that the Phils were staring at having to give up three prospects they valued more than anything they gave up to get Lee and ended up...keeping all of them. Yes, this was essentially a steal.

BAP: What I'm saying is if Lidge were truly injured the Phillies would shut him down. He is an important part of that bullpen and there is no advantage to them to keep running him out there if he is hurt AND affecting the team.

Not to mention- running a guy injured out there constantly increases his risk of injury. If he were hurt why wouldn't the Phillies shut him down until sometime in September and go with what they have.

If Lidge gets hurt in August becasue he is throwing on a bum knee in August and misses the rest of the season what good did he do the team. And really, in many instances if a pitcher has a bad knee he ends up missing time due to a different injury becasue he puts extra torque on a different part. There is nothing in his delivery now that shows any sign of injury. He has the same drive in his motion and is actually getting lower and driving more than he was back in April. The tema has doctors that I'm positive evaluate him every day, or every few days and give him the ok to pitch.

I really doubt they say, "You ok to pitch Brad?" "Yep." "Good enough for us."

Right now he is having problems finding his control. It isn't a phantom injury. It's a guy who had control problems in the past letting them creep up again.

The thing is, we all know how Charlie works, and so we all know that Lidge is NOT going to lose the closer's job this season. I mean, its one thing to give a new guy like Park a demotion--and that still took a while--but no way is the perfect closer of a season ago going to be yanked and replaced this year.

Sooo I really don't think Sherrill matters that much. The middle of the pen isn't in bad shape once everyone gets healthy, and Lidge is the closer for better or worse this season.

Maybe last year was just a mirage for Lidge, and he is now falling back to where he was in his last few years in Houston?

Houston dumped him for a reason, you know.

I don't think he is hurt. I doubt he ever was. His velocity is no different then last year. He just isn't effective and teams seem to have figured out his gameplan (get me over slider early in count, rarely throws a strike with either fastball or slider, the rest of the AB; and when he gets to 0-2, the slider in the dirt is coming). He is as predictable out there, as any pitcher this side of Mariano Rivera. And without the ability to know where the fastball is going, he's a lost puppy.

It makes what he accomplished last year, all the more incredible. Maybe, just maybe, he's just not that good and the worse he does, the more it effects him mentally (which has always been the knock against him).

He got his big contract and how the Phils are stuck with a very shaky closer. And very shaky closers don't lead teams to many WFS championships.

This post was picked up by the LA Times Dodgers Blog. Nice work, fellas.

Sherrill looks good because there is a weak closer market(isn't there always?) I am perfectly fine to let Torre overuse him in August and September. Hopefully the top of our rotation prevents the bullpen from being used much in the playoffs. If Hamels, Lee, Blanton can each pitch 7 quality innings, then pass it over to Madson, and Lidge we don't have much cause for concern. Well yeah we do, but I don't think Sherrill is a big improvement or an improvement at all of Madson and Lidge.

TI - How do you shut down a guy who says to you that he is healthy and isn't feeling much pain? Diagnosis isn't an exact science. It is as much art as anything and a patient history (including their symptoms and what they tell you) is a critical piece that is needed to do that.

As for doctors examining him every day - they have a physical trainer on staff but there is a big difference between a physician trainer and having him go for an MRI and a consult with an orthopedic surgeon. Even then if you take an MRI and see some signs of structural tissue damage, you still can't remotely quantify "pain."

The person who is able to tell you that is Lidge himself and I am more than willing to bet that Lidge says that he is "fine" and "able to pitch" even if that isn't exactly the truth.

MG: Again there is nothing in Lidge's delivery that implies injury. His delivery looks almost identical to his delivery last year.

He has lost control again like he did in Houston when he was replaced as closer twice. But for some reason you don't accept that as a possibility. It HAS to be injury. There is precedent of this guy having control issues and struggling.

Also, biology is like the 9th field now you've claimed to have a background in during your time posting.

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