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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Scott Lauber's take on Lidge's outing last night:

Are you insinuating that Young Brett has picked up a pound or two?

I second Mitch. Charlie has no choice but to keep him in there for now. Everyone can agree that the best possible solution for the team (even if you think it is improbable) is for Lidge to work out his issues. Charlie has some leeway with how well the rest the team is playing and how big the division lead is. He can afford to run him out there for now. But just because he's doing that now (and saying that he will stick with him) does not mean that Lidge will close in the playoffs if everything stays as is. There's no way they keep him in there if that is the case, but you cannot extrapolate what he's doing now with what he would do then.

Do Condrey and Romero have to come off the DL before September 1st to pitch in the playoffs? How does that work?

Agree with Mitch. I still wait and see on Lidge for a couple weeks. It was his 4th straight outing, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt last night. However, one more blown save in the next week or 2, and Lidge no longer closes, Myers gets the job.

I see Mathieson will be playing in the AFL, but I would still like to see him called up to the Phils for September. What are the rules on Sept. call ups? Can they play in the playoffs?

I get this feeling that if Myers comes back and does well and Lidge is continuing to struggle we will be seeing Lidge go on the DL sometime in Sept.

If it's broke, fix it.

Baseball is a game of adjustments, and Charlie Manuel is refusing to adjust his 9th inning strategy in the face of clear and present danger. This will bite us in the ass if something different is not done.

I liked the description of Myers as a caged animal.

Shouldn't Brett have the baby first before we wonder if he'll be back for the playoff run? He looks as sleek as David Wells in that video.

While I don't agree with BAP's sentiment (from the last thread) that Manuel deserves to be canned if he keeps running Lidge out there, I do agree with him (after sleeping on it) that last night was the line in the sand as far as who is to blame for the blown saves. From this point forward, every time Manuel runs Lidge out there, HE is on the hook.

Lidge has already proven that he isn't going to be the guy to get it done this year, time and time again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again expecting different results. Charlie's decision to continue to handicap this team by sending an ineffective closer out there with no other defense besides "He's my guy, he's done it before" is just inexplicable. It's the equivalent of a trainer running a one-legged boxer out to fight because he used to have two legs. Lidge DOESN'T HAVE IT THIS YEAR. No matter the reason, continuing to ignore that is managerial homicide.

*To add on regarding Myers: throwing him into the closer discussion once he gets back (which, if Cholly won't, the media and fans surely will) is just going to make this situation 100 times more combustible. I'm not looking forward to it. However, if there is a replacement, Myers would be it seeing as how he will come from the outside and not take away from what we have setting up for the 9th.

Not saying it wouldn't work (we have no idea what Myers would bring to the role at this point)...but there will be an absolute feeding frenzy on both Lidge AND Manuel if Myers isn't anointed closer and Lidge blows it in the playoffs. I don't want to be around to see that.

What kind of shape did you think he'd be in? Even when perfectly healthy, he doesn't have a history of good fitness. He couldn't run or do most aerobic work with the hip rehabilitation, but apparently he could sit on his A$$ and eat lots of cheeseburgers.

I think the odds of Lidge being the closer in the postseason is about the same as the odds the Nationals will make the postseason. Our great team, large lead, and poor competition are the reasons why Lidge has had the chance to work things out in the closing role. If the Braves were charging hard, we'd see how much patience Manuel has for real. Whatever else you say about the man, he's no fool, and letting Lidge close games which mean anything would be a foolish move.

Lidge is going to low leverage innings as soon as Myers shows he's ready for the load.

I don't mind them keeping Lidge in their right now. Right now the bullpen is kind of a patchwork anyways with Romero and Condrey out. Really only 2 solid options in Madson and Park. Rest are a crapshoot most nights including Durbin, Walker, and Moyer.

Myers is Factor X. He is the only one that Cholly would replace Lidge with as the closer. You have to hope that he continues to progress tonight including feeling no pain/tenderness and continuing to register 93-94 (or 101 MPH on the Reading gun which really has become a running joke at the several RPhils games I have gone to this year).

How can you be a AA-team and supposedly spent a decent buck on a radar gun only to have it consistently record pitchers anywhere from 4-7 MPH faster than they are?

Ok all this Lidge talk about blown saves and things of that nature has me thinking, "How is this possible that a guy so sure of himself last year is so unsure of himself now?". I say give him until Myers gets back in early September to figure it out, then go from there. To me you only have 2 options. 1.) Myers 2.) Chan Ho.

Also, this prompted me to look up All-Time leaders in Blown saves. Can you believe that The top 3 ever in this catagory are ALL eithier Hall of Famers or All stars. Here is the list by season and all time. Pretty interesting stuff.

Goose Gossage - 112
Rollie Fingers - 109
Jeff Reardon - 106
Lee Smith - 103
Bruce Sutter - 101
John Franco* - 100
Sparky Lyle* - 86
Gene Garber - 82
Kent Tekulve - 81
Gary Lavelle* - 80


Rollie Fingers, Oakland Athletics (1976)-14
Bruce Sutter, Chicago Cubs (1978) - 14
Bob Stanley, Boston Red Sox (1983) - 14
Ron Davis, Minnesota Twins (1984) - 14
John Hiller*, Detroit Tigers (1976) - 13
Rich Gossage, New York Yankees (1983) - 13
Jeff Reardon, Montréal Expos (1986) - 13
Dan Plesac*, Milwaukee Brewers (1987) - 13
Dave Righetti*, New York Yankees (1987) -13

* Left Handed

You can't keep trotting Lidge out there for the sake of the players behind him.

You'll ruin the psyche of the whole team if he is allowed to repeat what he's shown thus far.

Mathieson was allegedly hitting 98 in A ball rehab.

Nice list mvp. I'm not surprised that the career leaders are HOF/All-Stars as they would naturally have a lot more opportunities over a long career, but the season leaders are pretty surprising. I'd be interested to see what Rollie's save % was in 1976, though, because I can't imagine he was tanking games at the rate Lidge is this year.

Iceman: In 1976, Rollie Fingers was 20 for 35 in Save Opportunities. That is 57%.

Lidge in 2009 is 25 for 34. That is 74%.

Puts things in perspective, Huh?

Complacency will kill this team. They need to fix the situation NOW.

I have to disagree with Mitch. You construct a bullpen from the 9th inning backwards. Why is (was?) it called the "Bridge to Lidge?" Becuase you form your bullpen starting with the ninth and work backwards. Leaving people in the 6th, 7th and 8th inning isn't effective when you have someone in the 9th who is ineffective, otherwise it's all for naught.

Those numbers are deceiving though. First of all I can't find the blown save stat anywhere. Where did you find the blown save stats you referenced earlier?

Second of all, he was 13-11 in 70 games with a 2.47 ERA (135 ERA+) and 1.17 WHIP, in 134 innings. It was a different time back then, when relievers were asked to pitch multiple innings and have a much higher workload. That was around the time Mike Marshall appeared in 100 games for the Dodgers.

So while you can look at save percentage and compare it to Lidge's, you can't overlook all the other numbers that say he was much better for his team than Lidge is for us this year.

So, let me get this straight:

- The Phils can afford to have Lidge blow a few more games because they have a nice lead in the division, but they can't afford to have Madson blow a few games?

- Flip/flopping Madson and Lidge could cause them to fail and screw Madson up permanently, but it couldn't cause them to succeed and rectify the situation permanently?

To clarify, the reason I ask where you found the blown save stats is baseball-reference and other similar sites I usually use don't have blown save stats.

What I'm getting at is that I would guess that many of those "blown saves" may have come when giving up leads in the 7th or 8th inning, where the team still has a chance to come back and win if he gives up a lead.

If he averaged nearly 2 innings per appearance, then you can bet he was brought into the game in the 7th or 8th inning most of the time.

Why else would a reliever have a record of 13-11? I think the save percentage stat is bogus.

krukker: Good points, but mvptommy's comparison is also idiotic for this reason: In 1976 the saves rule was much stricter. You had to face the tying run. Which meant that if it wasn't a 1 or 2 run game, you usually didn't get a save. Today, saves are cheap, so it's much easier to pick one up and much harder to blow one.

Rollie Fingers also appeared in 70 games and finished 62 of them (including two double headers), and he had an ERA+ of 135. In terms of "Lidge-type" save situations--that is 9th inning where team is up by 1-3 runs, Fingers had six opportunities and got the job done five times--at least if I'm reading his 1976 stat sheet correctly.

In the "Lidge type" save Fingers blew, August 1 against the Twins, he came in to replace Vida Blue, who recorded only one out then walked two straight. Fingers gave up a single to center field, which scored the runner from second, but the runner on first reached third due to E8. The runner then scores on a sac fly.

As one can see, this is hardly a textbook blown save. Coming in with two runners on and getting butchered by the CF doesn't exactly set up a winning situation. However, Fingers did give up one more hit before getting out of the inning.

i'm curious if Happ and Lee will are more reticent to be taken out of the game in late innings of close games with the current closer situation and if that will cause some problems with the starting pitching staff. if the goal is to win games and there's someone whose not doing the job this team seems to pickup for the weak link. those two seem to be ideal candidates to pitch more complete games to preserve the lead they have.

Fingers also had a blown save in the 10th inning September 10th vs. the Rangers, but it was the same situation: Vida Blue gives up a bunch of hits, and Fingers gets thrown in to a mess.

J.R. King: Let me see if I can help.

"- The Phils can afford to have Lidge blow a few more games because they have a nice lead in the division, but they can't afford to have Madson blow a few games?"

They can probably afford both. What they can't afford is to screw up their setup man while trying to fix their closer and wind up with 2 problems instead of one.

"- Flip/flopping Madson and Lidge could cause them to fail and screw Madson up permanently, but it couldn't cause them to succeed and rectify the situation permanently?"

It could do either one of those things. There is also a third alternative: That Lidge improves.

I should add here that my personal preference would be to flip flop Lidge and Madson since that worked in Houston. But I also realize that it is a risky move that could make the team worse than just leaving Lidge alone.

The fact of the matter is that Lidge just isn't right for some reason. The Phils may have lost Sunday's game as well if Bruntlett hadn't been covering 2nd when the Mets runners were going. Under normal circumstances, Francouer's liner is through and we're in deep trouble.

Where is it written that the closer has to close? He could star off with, Park, Madson, Lidge, anybody. If a guy isn't getting it done, then pull him and give someone else a try. If we'd have won half the games that were blown by Lidge and Madson, we'd be up by 12, 13 games. In a way part of this is UC's fault. Same thing with playing small- ball offensively. Yes you have to manage the game with the players you've got, but you also have to manage the situation s of each game. Cholly doesn't do that.

Rich Hoffman actually made a great point tonight and arguably the most sensible suggestion I have heard regarding Lidge:

- Lidge's numbers with 1 day of rest or more are completely adequate: 2.95 ERA

- Lidge's numbers with no rest are a nightmare: 9+ ERA

- Basically since Lidge has been getting destroyed on days where he doesn't have rest, you could set up a framework where you tell Lidge he will only close games on days where he has at least 1-day of rest once Myers get back.

- Solution enables the Phils to work Myers into the closer role in Sept to see what he has (while pitching in the bullpen) and also allows Lidge to save face.

Probably one of the better suggestions I have heard on DSN in a long, long time.

If you don't want to mess up Madson, then why not Park? We have Moyer for long relief, and Condrey will be coming back at some point. Durbin's thrown the most relief innings, anyway, outside of Madson. I have a difficult time believing Park will suddenly turn into an 8.00 ERA pitcher who gives up 3 out of 4 one run games, which is basically what he'd have to do in order to eclipse Lidge.

Simple solution: Have Brett eat Lidge when he finally comes back up. By the looks of recent photos, he's already been in training for such a feast.......

And as if many of you weren't worried about Myers' weight enough as it is, the Reading Phils are apparently having an All-You-Can-Eat Night.

This should end well.

I like MG's/DSN's suggestion because it would actually satisfy both camps: Lidge stays in the role and we get to try other options on consecutive save days. Nah, it just makes too much sense to work.

I hear Myers learned the real meaning of all-you-can-eat from Kobayashi after the Kyle Kendrick trade.

Alex - If you were from Berks County, you would realize that the quality of food you eat is a secondary issue to the quantity of food you get when eating dinner.

Its is why Berks County is largely full of crappy national chains that give you a pile of heavily-processed, generally mediocre food for a reasonable sum. There a couple of decent alternatives but not many.

That said, the $1 dog night never fail to gross me out. Never eat hot dogs except for that night literally all year but a dog and a beer isn't a bad way to watch a game. Probably is you almost inevitably will have some a$$ sitting around you will eat 10+ hot dogs, drink at least 4-5 beers, and potentially be omitting various forms of gas all night long.

"Charlie has no choice but to keep him in there for now>"

Bullcrap. This is about WINNING games and WINNING another championship. That is why you sign Pedro Martinez and replace Moyer. That is why you trade 4 prospects for Cliff Lee and Francisco. That is why 45,000 people show up at EVERY game at CBP.

Its about doing what it takes, in 2009, to win it all. Its about putting your BEST team on the field, in 2009, to give yourself the BEST chance of winning it all.

And in 2008, Brad Lidge has already proven 9 times (3 times more then ANY other closer in baseball) and countless other outings where he got hit hard and had no command of the strikezone, that its not his year and its not going to get better. He might get it back in 2010. But not this year.

And to continue to trot him out there, when its painfully obvious to anyone with 2 eyes, that he don't have what it takes to get it done CONSISTANTLY in 2009, makes all of the things that have gone into 2009, pretty much moot.

It will make Ryan Howard's work that he did in the offseason to improve himself, moot. It will make Shane Victorino's terrific all-around season, moot. It will make Jayson Werth's first All-Star season moot. It will make J-Roll's 2nd half surge, moot. It will make Raul Ibanez's steller 1st half, moot. It will make Chase Utley's quick rehab from hip surgery, moot. It will make JA Happ's possible ROY honor, moot. It will make all those days and nights that this team has fought and scratched to stay in 1st place and win yet another NL East crown, moot.

And why? Because Cholly said "Brad Lidge was our closer" and failed to make the move that needed to be made. One move is what has been needed, is needed and will be needed.

Everytime I watch Chan Ho Park pitch, he is filthy. Running fastballs at 95 MPH. Tailing fastballs at 93 MPH. Knee-buckling curveballs. Hard sliders that lefty's can't touch. He has closer's stuff. He has closer's command. He deserves a shot. Why? Because he has gone out and PITCHED to get his shot. This year. Last month. Last week. Lidge? Was bad in April. Was bad in May. Was bad in June. Was bad in July. Is bad in August.

Just make the move and be done with it. Stay the course, and this season very likely ends in Mid October, losing to an inferior club in the NL Playoffs. Stay the course, and ALL of those players and ALL of those fans both at the games, watching on TV or posting here, will be let down. And for what? Stubborness? Loyalty? Stupidity?

We have other options. If not Chopper, there is Madson. If not them, there is that Myers guy who led many of these same players and coaching staff, to the playoffs in 2007, doing this very job. He has already proven he can handle the 9th inning. Brad Lidge in 2009, cannot.

"my personal preference would be to flip flop Lidge and Madson since that worked in Houston. But I also realize that it is a risky move that could make the team worse than just leaving Lidge alone."

I agree there's a risk, but I think that risk is worth the potential for reward. Also, as b_a_p noted a few weeks ago, having Lidge pitch the 8th will inform the Phils whether his problem is that he can't close or that he can't pitch. This will be helpful come playoff time.

How funny of a game is baseball? We are seriously lobbying for Chan Ho Park to become the closer of this team---and it is a valid solution.

The same Chan Ho Park who 3 months ago looked like the worst offseason signing since Adam Eaton. Reason #414 why baseball is an amazing game.

It makes no sense at all to use Lidge in any role. His record speaks for itself. There is a zero chance that he will turn it around, therefore continuing to use him to close, even for the next couple of weeks, deprives the team from trying out other options. Park to me is the obvious choice, as he can get strikeouts and has good control. Why shouldn't he be used immediately to determine how well he does? At this point, the closer problem is the priority and continuing with Lidge amounts to postponing the inevitable. If Park is effective, he presents an alternative if Myers is unable to return to form. Moreover, if Park is to have any chance to succeed, he needs as many innings as possible in the closer role, before we enter the post season. All this stuff about having the division locked up is pure illogical nonsense. It's an endorsement of an unproductive use of the next few weeks. Using Lidge in a setup role based on his experience in Houston is nuts. It's just as easy to lose a game in the 8th inning as it is in the 9th. To put it succinctly, Lidge stinks, and if it isn't perfectly obvious by this point in the season, then lay off the beer while watching the game.

Jose Mesa's final season in Philly in 2003 (and probably the major goat on why that team didn't make the playoffs):

5-7 record, 6.52 ERA, 24 saves, 58 IP, 71 hits, 7 HR's, 31 BB's, 48 K's, 1.759 WHIP

Brad Lidge's 2009 season to date:

0-6 record, 7.33 ERA, 25 saves, 46 IP, 56 hits, 11 HR's, 28 BB's, 48 K's, 1.80 WHIP

Earily, sucky.

Other than Mesa having a superior year.

Brilliant earlier post, denny b.
The team is either trying to win it all...or it isn't. The Manager's job is to put the players in positions to win, not to coddle one at the expense of the team.

I find it ironic that many of the same people who are concerned about messing up our 7th & 8th inning bullpen situations are the very same people who regularly argue that there's something unique about pitching the 9th inning, such that you need to save your best reliever for that situation. If pitcing the 9th is unique, and you need your best person, then trying to get that best person is well worth the risk of screwing up the 7th & 8th inning situations. The Phillies, and plenty of other teams, have gotten by in the past with a committee of setup men. They can get by with a committee again, if need be. But they can't get by with a closer who is having, quite literally, the worst season in the history of baseball for a closer.

Solution: Bring back Joe Table?!

It would also be ironic if Charlie Manual lost his job because of his handling of the Brad Lidge situation when getting players of our slumps is one of the things Charlie does best.

(Not that I think Charlie's gonna get fired over the Brad Lidge situation. I'm convinced that Myers will be the playoff closer unless Lidge somehow rights himself.)

Well Mesa had a 415 ERA+ in 1995 and almost won the Cy Young so he must still have something in the tank despite being 48...I mean 43.

That should read "getting players out of slumps is one of the things Charlie does best."

Amazingly, Clout and I agree completely. The right move is to make Madson the closer and have Lidge in a setup role with Park and Romero, but it is risky, in that if it blows up you've messed up two spots.

But bap is also right that you can't sacrifice the 9th in order to keep the 8th OK. There's no point to doing that. If the 9th is broken, then having a solid 8th is irrelevant. You have to try to fix the 9th first; if it blows up, well, it was already blown up anyway.

One idea that needs to be put to rest is this notion that Mathieson somehow has a role in solving our 2009 bullpen issues. After all his surgeries, Mathieson is a nice comeback story. He throws hard and, if he can stay healthy (a huge if), he could still have a solid major league career out of the bullpen. But it has been nearly 3 full years since the guy pitched in the major leagues, and his ERA when he pitched was even worse than Brad Lidge's 2009 ERA.

I'm all for giving Mathieson a September call-up and seeing what he can do in some low leverage situations. But there is 0% chance that he will be on our post-season roster -- let alone a closer or setup man.

"Myers recently admitted his hip had much to do with his sudden dip in velocity that started before the 2008 season." When you add this to his changing stories about his recent black eye, about whether (or not) he was involved in a recent bar fight, or his unfortunate arrest in Boston, it is pretty clear that Mr. Myers has a problem with A) the truth, and B) maturity. Doesn't stuff like this grate on your teammates, making them wonder whether you're reliable?

Just wondering if you've heard anything to this effect. Thanks.

MG: Lifelong Berks residents do not eat at chains, they are for the outlet shoppers and professional people who move in and out for a few years. We are loaded with local places that serve both quality and quantity. Meyers wife is from here, so he's probably getting home cooking.

Lidge can't pitch more than 3 days straight. He also shouldn't pitch in non-save games unless he needs the work. Simple solution is to clobber every opponent every game.

The Reckless Redneck is comin' to the rescue.

What a story this would make and Myers' career, at least with the Phillies, will come full circle.

Meanwhile, let's see if our other biggest problem source can straighten his act out tonight. Can't say I'm filled with optimism about his prospects for returning to prior form at any time in 2009. But maybe he'll surprise me.

bap: Not filled with optimism? You're kidding.

Jack: Yeah, I don't profess to be a very optimistic sort. But is there really any reason to be optimistic about the rest of Hamels' 2009 season? Realistically, I'd be satisfied just to see him pitch as he did in May through June -- which is to say, decent, but hardly on a par with his 2007/2008 seasons.

Was at the Reading game when Mathieson hit 102 The scouts in the front row had it at 100 and he was mostly 95-98 Reading Gun is off 2 miles or so
Would be crazy not to bring Mathieson in up in Sept. At the very least he should compete in 2010.
Myers will be the closer in Sept in my opinion.

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