The Phillies rallied to tie it and take the lead, but Brad Lidge blew his ninth save of the season and surrendered a two-run Andrew McCutchen walk-off homer in a heartbreaking 6-4 loss to the Pirates.
Beerleaguer: There wouldn't be a greater waste of time than to blather on about getting a new guy for the ninth, because Lidge seems to be the answer, come hell or high water. Charlie Manuel isn't even interested in taking baby steps, sending him out for his fourth-consecutive game rather than wean him away from a heavy, macho workload after making positive progress during the Mets' series. Tonight, the Phillies turned the tables in the ninth, the save light went on and Manuel gambled on a one-run lead and fourth-consecutive appearance, rather than cash in his chips and take what he can get.
The Pirates saw seven pitches and whacked out three runs because Lidge was living out over the plate again. He wasn't pitching so much as throwing, or even heaving, his fastball and slider in the general vicinity of home.
They're trying to get Lidge right, and he looked okay over the weekend, but here they are, once again, with confidence stripped clean by another blown save. Honestly, if a struggling closer throws three-straight games, would anyone question a decision to start the ninth with someone else, like they did with Scott Eyre last Sunday? Are Luis Cruz, Brandon Moss and Andrew McCutchen worth reading from the book verbatim, or is it possible to go off the grid there?
Then again, what's the point of small doses? It's like Yoda used to say: "Do, or do not. There is no try."
Notes: Moving to the rest of the game, Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh's best pitcher lately, had the better night than Joe Blanton; Blanton ran a lot of deep counts and didn't have his best location. Elias will research the last time a hitter homered on his first two pitches, which is what Jimmy Rollins did tonight. The first one was smoked. Lidge spoiled one hell of a good comeback. There's nothing I love more than hard-hit balls down the line, in the gaps and over the outfielders, which is how Carlos Ruiz, Ben Francisco and Shane Victorino got it done, all for naught.