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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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Pick a name out of a hat? It's scary because it would probably work better than just running Lidge out there.

repost:

Its almost impossible to suggest a "bad" idea at this point - as long as it isn't to stick with Lidge.

At this point, with injuries to Park, Myers, Romero, and Eyre - the phils need to pick one of our starters to pitch out of the pen.

I think if Pedro agreed and liked the idea, he could be the best, while leaving our rotation pretty much as good as it can be.

If I am a hitter in the ninth inning in the playoffs down a run, I would be pretty intimidated by future HoF Pedro Martinez marching out to the mound with highlight clips on the bigscreen showing him buzzing every and any hitter that dared to step too far into the box.

how is this not tearing the team apart at this point?

it really must be a rock solid clubhouse.

if youre a position player like howard how can you not go to manuel and say what the heck are we doing?

Park as a two inning closer would be nice..but he's out indefinitely.

Although maybe Park throwing with his left arm is still an upgrade over Lidge.

Maybe Mitch sucked because his pants were so tight.

It's a shame, we should be brimming with optimism about this team, but until they can close out games, the impending sense of doom grows larger and larger.

Agree with TI that Manuel's continued willingness to use Lidge has to be viewed within the context of our division lead. Painful as it is for fans, the Phils can afford the risk of seeing whether or not Lidge can improve.

Of course, it seems clear by now that he won't. At this point, he needs to be permanently set aside in the interests of finalizing our playoff spot, resting starters and setting up the playoff rotation.

Gotta love that Vet turf, too. Makes you want to drop trou and pinch a deuce right there on the spot ...

As I suggested earlier, certain players on the team need to have a closed door meeting with UC (UtleyHoward/J-Roll perhaps). This situation can not be good for morale. Why bust your hump for 8 innings and have someone blow it in the 9th? It just isn't fair.

Count me in with those who vote for closer by committee.

I respect Lidge, but watching him pitch now reminds me of one of those bad dreams where someone's chasing you and you're running and running but not going anywhere.

I don't expect him to voluntarily remove himself - that would be like giving up, and I expect professional competitors to have more fight in them than that. I understand Charlie's moves in this closer situation and don't think he's a worthless manager. Injuries have limited his choices for closer. However, with the way the Fish were hitting last night, I knew Lidge would fail. I've been all for giving him time to right himself, but I think it's getting worse, not better.

At this point, the only ones with confidence when Lidge comes in the game are the opposing hitters. And that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, which leads me to believe that even should Lidge find his command and regain his 2008 form today, it might be too late - both for him to regain that feeling of dominance and for the hitters to learn to fear him again.

I'm hoping against hope for a stroke of genius somewhere and some good luck. Otherwise, I think the playoffs will be more like 2007 than 2008, unfortunately.

I think I'd still rather see Mitcy-Poo trotting out there in the ninth in a one run game. And I mean Mitch now, not the Mitch who was cooked 16 years ago.

The Phils are going to Milwaukee- the land of beer and bratwurst.
Lidge should have a brew and a brat every inning for the first 8 innings and see if that loosens him up a little for the 9th.
If nothing else that would instill fear in opposing hitters.

Seriously, Brad should not touch a baseball again until 2010 spring training.

"I'm definitely frustrated a little bit at a loss, but I'm sure there are some things I can do better."

I'm not sure whether to give Lidge credit for holding it together and being a trooper, or smash my laptop out of frustration with him/his inability to figure it out/his generic quotes on the matter.

I'm sure he's going nuts privately, though, because he has to know he's slowly depleting the Mt. Everest of goodwill he built up last year.

I know no one wants to hear it, but imagine what a nightmare this is for Brad Lidge himself. To fail at your job, not be able to turn yourself around, feel responsible for the team's losses...It's gotta suck.

I guess that's why the one poster (sorry, don't remember who you are) says it's not fair to Lidge, either, for Charlie to put him in the 9th inning.

It just stinks all the way around - for Lidge, Charlie, the rest of the team, and the fans. Still, it's better than being a Nats fan.

Maybe this will give the offense extra incentive to be productive, to avoid a save situation altogether....

At this point, I place the blame squarely on the starting lineup and hte starting pitchers. If they'd just score more runs and cut down on the runs allowed, Lidge wouldn't be in this mess.

klaus: Given the state of our bullpen, I don't fault Cholly for giving Lidge one last opportunity to prove that he deserves to be the closer. I DO blame him for his comments after the game that Lidge is still the closer.

GBrett- Agreed- Lidge must be going through a personal hell right now- I am in favor of shutting him down for the year . I think prolonging the agony is rough for him and I know it's rough for the fans.
Make it end , Charlie, make it end!

GBrettfan - Or it'll cause the offense and starting pitching to press, knowing they need to be almost perfect in order to win the game.

That'll work out well.

Last night was a blessing in disguise. This really ends the Brad Lidge experiment for 2009. Frankly, the experiment would have already ended had we not had injuries to Park, Myers, Romero and Eyre.

But now it's over. It's clear Lidge can't be trusted in a close game. This is better than having Lidge close a couple more 3-run games down the stretch and giving Manuel a false sense of security.

bap: Lidge is still our closer like Werth is our starting CF.

myno: Yep, I thought of that but wanted to end on a positive note. But you're right.

As for these arguments that Cholly must be a good manager because we've won 3 division titles . . . the Dallas Cowboys won a Super Bowl with Barry Switzer, and the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl with Bill Callahan. It's pretty much universally accepted both were total yahoos.

The Phillies have a good team, and the manager in baseball has a very minimal impact. Cholly certainly has some positive attributes: his players like to play for him; he keeps drama out of the clubhouse; and he knows a lot about hitting. But there are a LOT of managers whose players like to play for them and who keep drama out of the clubhouse, but who aren't complete nitwits.

Anyone who still believes that Brad Lidge is the best choice for closer is in need of medication. Cholly wasn't the reason we won the WFC in 2008 but, if he makes Lidge the playoff closer, he will be the reason we DON'T win it in 2009.

ATTN ALL Phillies Phans attending games this year.

Bring a white towel to the game.
If Lidge is put in for the 9th, put the towel over your head.

CJ: No. More like Lidge is still our closer like Rollins is still our leadoff hitter.

Hey, J and I agree, use Walker as closer. Does this get me in BL Elite now?

CJ:
It is not over. What makes you think that Charlie thinks that the 11th blown save is any worse than the 10th and 9th and 8th? Sorry, but we are not making the decision or the call to the bullpen.

Unlike many posters, I don't blame Lidge, because it's the manager's decision to put him in. And it ruins the whole game, because we know what's coming.

Starters:
Lee
Hamels
Blanton
Pedro/Happ

Closer:
Pedro/Happ

In the first series, both Pedro and Happ can close in a left/right combo. After that, determine who will start, and the other will close.

Is that so hard?

Has our resident Lidge-defender dropped in with his save percentage stats yet?

check your email, phillies are sending emails to the winners and losers of the nlds ticket drawings...i was reeeejected

Amen, BAP. The bullpen's excellence last year made Charlie's job easy and his push-button style work. I believed then that the Phillies won in spite of him (with the help of Billy Wagner's injury), and I believe it now.

Where is HIS boss in all of this?

@phils and nova: Me hopes Lidge is getting one of those playoff rejection e-mails from the Phillies today, too.

loctastic, I'll buy into the Walker as closer experiment.

BL Elite? No, your handle sounds too much like Lidgetastic, not good for your chances against the BL Elite Selection Committee. From what I hear, Committee Chairman clout is not in too good of a mood right now. He was seen kicking a dog and spitting on children this morning.

If the bullpen were healthy... with Park, Romero and Eyre... do people really think Lidge would be getting as many opportunities as he has?

I think Park's injury is actually the biggest... had he remained healthy, we'd be seeing Park in the 8th and Madson in the 9th.

"imagine what a nightmare this is for Brad Lidge himself."

I'll take his multi-million dollar nightmare and world series ring over my nightmares of not being able to pay rent any day of the week.

Also, all the creative solutions to the closer problem that everybody suggested are great, but the time to try them has passed already, and Cholly appears incredibly, unbelievably, set to stick with Lidge.

Its a shame, this really is the best Phillies team ever, but they are not going to win another WS, thats for sure, not with this bullpen mess.

MVPTommy will invert at the thought, but there's nothing in the rule book that says you absolutely HAVE to have one guy who is your closer. Why not just forget it's the 9th inning & use the reliever(s) you'd use if it were the 6th inning? If a couple lefties are coming up, you bring in Eyre or Happ. If a couple righties are coming up, you bring in Walker. If you need a ground ball, you use Condrey or Moyer. If you need a strikeout, you use Madson or Park (if healthy). If one of those guys has already been used, you figure something else out. Once upon a time, relief pitchers didn't have regimented roles, but were used whenever their mananger happened to call on them. The 9th inning never became "different" until managers started treating it as different.

I'm with those not faulting UC for giving Lidge a chance to work things out. But his ERA has climbed steadily through September to 7.5. He's had more than his chance and it's past time to move on.

So I will now dig out that "Vote for Pedro" shirt from a few years back. I was actually hoping for Pedro to have less luck as a starter, and get the push to the pen (same as Park). He could bring serious heat for one inning. That with his experience and attitude. Time for UC to sit down Pedro, and ask him to step up for the team.

This becomes easier if Happ proves healthy tonight.

The manager in baseball has minimal impact...unless the team loses, of course.

BAP- I think that's what will happen in the playoffs- Whatever pitchers are left off the rotation will be relievers in an "all hands on deck" approach.
During the season there needs to be a long term approach taken to the use of relievers , but in the playoffs each game needs to won individually.IF you leave yourself short for the next game so be it , if you can win today's game.
I hope Charlie sees it that way- the current way inspires fear in the hearts of Phillies fans not opposing hitters.

Lost in the Lidge Debacle is the news that Ryan Howard passed Saint Albert Pujols in the RBI race. He's only one behind the NL and MLB leader Prince Fielder. Ryan ought to be able to pull pass the Prince this weekend.

BAP, I agree. I can't pinpoint exactly when the closer role was invented (maybe someone else has that info) but when I started following baseball, there were the starters and the guys in the bullpen and that was it. There were no specialized roles: manager just brought you in when the started got knocked out.
There is no logical reason at this point for the Phils to even worry about having a "closer". It's time to use anyone who is ready to pitch.

LF: Yeah, there are other discussion-worthy topics besides Lidge. Here's another one, which some poster (I forget who) noted the other day: since being called back up, Miguel Cairo has made 2 starts and had 14 ABs. During that same time period, Eric Bruntlett hasn't had a single AB. His last PA was a month ago. Ironically, he actually got a hit in that PA and has 5 hits in his last 10 PAs. Yet, as soon as Cairo got here, he immediately took over the duties that were previously being performed by Bruntlett.

If we go with 12 pitchers in the playoffs (and, with all the injuries & uncertainty, I think we pretty much have to), does Miguel Cairo make the post-season roster instead of Eric Bruntlett?

I can actually see some advantage to not have a dedicated "closer." I'm sure that 48 appearances last year, coupled with the years in Houston before that, author quite a perceptive and predictable book as to Mr. Lidge's tendencies in certain situations (i.e. don't take the bat off your shoulder with 2 outs and take your walk, etc.).

Basically, "closer" is a high leverage situation in every sense. Every pitcher has their comfort zone and tendencies in situations like those. Sooner or later, you're going to get those tendencies (including "Plan B" and "Plan C") figured out, tipping pitches or not.

Why not change it up and throw more at the opposing team to figure out in those late game situations. I'd imagine it has to be tougher to prepare for something like "What will Happ/Walker/Pedro/starter-not-going-for-several-days do here?" than it is for prepping for someone who has gobs of info on him in those situations. Who knows?

Also, I'd like to have someone who can at least hold a runner on first, to prevent the likelihood that a basehit will actually score any baserunners in a close game.

Of course, Mariano Rivera debunks everything I just wrote, so there's a good chance I don't know what I'm talking about. It sure wouldn't be the first time.

Interesting that you define it as "discussion-worthy" BAP, but I'll bite: "does Miguel Cairo make the post-season roster instead of Eric Bruntlett?"

Isn't that kind of like wondering whether or not it's worth it to wash my hands after I've already contracted H1N1? If you're looking at either, chances are you're effed.

You can't compare Mitch to Brad. Mitch was burnt out by the WS. Too many innings. Lidge simply stinks. He is not overworked at all. Just overpaid.

So the Phils have lost 10 games they lead after 8 innings (if I remember ESPN's stat correctly)... and we've still go this division wrapped up weeks before the end of the season. Puts all that Mets whining from last year in perspective.

That is probably the most family friendly usage of the phrase "hanging balls right down broadway" that I've ever seen

Great analysis on BBTN from Fernando Vina last night: "The Phillies will be fine with Lidge in the playoffs because he was perfect in 2008 and has that untouchable slider. There's no reason to think he won't get it together when they need him."

It's nice to see he isn't swayed by the ERA over 7.00 for 95% of the season or the fact that Lidge has had seasons exactly like this before and not figured it out. Those analysts are amazingly terrible.

Here's a novel idea: complete games.

The Bruntlett & Cairo 25th man debate may have to include a third catcher, since Chooch has injury questions.

@willard preacher
that might be the most perfect analogy I've ever heard. much better than the sermons you used to give on the steps to my French 2 class.

@CHARLIE MANUEL
Use Ryan Madson for more than 1 inning, ride him into the ground. He is clearly your best bullpen pitcher. He has the second best FIP on the team. Please.

WP: Yeah, neither is exactly my idea of an ideal utility infielder. But I do think Cairo brings considerably more to the table offensively. Bruntlett may be somewhat better, and more versatile, defensively. But I don't see either one of them ever playing defense in the post-season. I'm more worried about who has the better bat.

Ozark-I agree. Some posters think the pitcher's arms are made of glass or something, but I'll for complete games when possible, especially now.

As an aside, I always despised Steinbrenner, but there is no way he would have let this Lidge situation go on this long.

I totally agree with the notion that if the pitcher who throws in the 8th inning has a good inning, at least start him off in the 9th and see what happens. With a disaster like Lidge, why the hell do we even need to defined roles at this point? Madson pitches the 8th well, roll him out in the 9th and have someone warming in the pen. This paint by numbers sh*t is getting ridiculous.

The whole closer thing has always irked me to a degree. I'm old enough to remember the early days of what we now know as the "closer" role. Early in the 70's along came the likes of Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage and a little later Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith etc. Before them you generally had a guy in the pen who was better than the others and therefore pitched in more tough situations than the others. But those tough situations might arise in the 6th or 7th inning. In that case if the "fireman" did his job, as often as not he would continue and perhaps finish the game. Before the 70's there were other stellar relief pitchers to be sure but the role was vastly different. Guys like Virgil Trucks and Dick(the monster)Radatz were supposedly quite good. I say supposedly because Geez I'm not that old. But the current closer role IMHO started to develop with Rollie Fingers and others in the 70's. It seems that "The Genius" Tony LaRussa really begat what we see today. I think he really started with Dennis Eckersly, and why not? Few relievers had ever had an extended period of dominance like Eckersly. Using him exclusively as your "closer" made perfect sense. He was unhittable for a few years like Lidge was last year. Suddenly everyone was doing it that way. But it never made sense to me. Dennis Eckerslys and Mariano Riveras come around once or twice in a generation. Occasionally a guy will have an off the hook season like Lidge did last year, but too often I think managers make a guy a closer who is nowhere near up to the task. They are just simply the best guy in the bullpen. Remember 1998. Terry Francona kept trotting out the almost good enough to be called mediocre Mark Leiter. That was wretched. He was so intent on managing by the book that he stooped to that level of stupidity. The point is every team has a closer and only a handfull of teams actually have someone good enough to capably do the job. That would certainly seem to be the case with the Phils this year. Charlie has to start managing accordingly. With off days during the playoffs you certainly have the option of using more relievers in each game. Use 5 or 6 if you need to. That way you can often get the matchups you want. It may be the only way to go at this point. The Phillies simply do not have a "Closer". Managing as if they do is foolhardy at this point.

Lake Fred - curses!!!!

I guess my Lidge jersey also disqualifies me. I plan to tape an "'08" after the name for the next couple of games. Why not, I have to do something before people start throwing crap at me.

Which one do you want to close?

Pitcher A: 3.20 ERA, 134 ERA+, 1.17 WHIP

Pitcher B: 7.48 ERA, 57 ERA+, 1.86 WHIP

Pitcher C: 3.33 ERA, 129 ERA+, 1.23 WHIP

Pitcher D: 2.30 ERA, 187 ERA+, 1.02 WHIP

I guess I'm most worried about the Chooch injury, moreso than even the Bruntlett/Cairo discussion. Chooch caught every game in last year's post season. Not sure I'd like to put Paul Bako in that same spot...

I'm new to this site (I love it) but I have a question:

What's the worst ERA in the postseason (since 1985) for a closer on a World Series Champion? If anyone could get that I would be much obliged.

Petey Pablo: I'd answer your question, but you lack an important point of comparison: Deer-in-the-headlights looks.

del monty:

Per Jayson Stark: "Not that this should scare anybody in Philadelphia. But no team in the history of the modern save rule has won a World Series with a closer whose ERA (7.21), opponent batting average (.299) or WHIP (1.83) was as high as Brad Lidge's is this year."

That article was written a little over a month ago. Since then, unbelievably, Lidge has actually gotten WORSE, statistically speaking.

via http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings090820

I agree with clout's take in the header, specifically his close. "I understand why CM did it, there was a chance for Lidge to get right and why go into uncharted waters of finding another closer if you don't have to? But time has now run out. They've got a handful of games left to determine the best alternative."

My foolproof solution is to just have Hamels and Lee pitch complete games. Have Blanton and Happ pitch the 9 innings in game 3, and have Pedro and Moyer do the same in game 4. I guess we can keep Madson around in case something somehow goes awry, but other than that I think we're all set.

CJ,
Crap...how could I forget to include the most important stat. Do you want it in counting form or as a ratio of DITHL/9?

I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Rube, I'm available.

My 64mph slider is unhittable since it three hops, but given the chance, I wouldn't give up the longball in those high pressure situations. I'd also keep runners on 1st with an unbreakable four minute stare.

Offering, not pressuring.

Brian G - I had a similar thought. My solution, however, was as follows:

1. Calculate Sherrill's prorated salary from August 1 on, take that amount and buy as many rain machines as possible, and turn the machines on whenever a starter's night starts to go to crap.

2. Put Moyer in.

3. Victory

Petey: I prefer DITHL+ since it takes park factor into effect.

CJ: Good point. I seem to recall that, in light of last year's performance, they angled all of the stadium lights slightly away from the mound at Citi Field in an effort to cut back on DITHL by the Mets' 'pen.

Let's see what I can find on BR...

Thanks Pablo, I can't imagine it could be above 5.00.

Cj- Not to further complicate the math but Lidge looked more "bug on the windshield "than "deer in the headlights" lately.

Is that able to be factored in ?

Petey: That is quite possibly, the best idea ever conceived in the history of baseball. Certainly an ace up our sleeve, as Moyer is untouchable after rain delays. There's nothing in the rulebook that comes close to mentioning teams manipulating the weather for their own advantage, and I'd go as far as to pass that up to the Phillies upper management.

Petey: Exactly, and I would figure the DITHL totals would be higher in parks like Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank because of the quality of the home teams there and the threat of the longball!

CJ: Interestingly, Clay Condrey, of all people, has made 78 consecutive appearances without a deer-in-the-headlights look. That's the longest active streak among all National League relievers.

Bubba: The BOTW stat is relatively new and, like UZR, seems to be a little unreliable. Lidge's 2009 season should help refine that stat greatly.

Loctastic, good idea about taping "08" after the name on your jersey. I won't throw crap on you.

bap: Fascinating. I'd love to see if that streak holds up if he's called on for the 9th before the end of the season!

"The Phillies simply do not have a "Closer". Managing as if they do is foolhardy at this point."

donc hit the nail right on the head with his entire post, but these last two lines sum up the Phillies situation perfectly.

Brad Lidge is not a legitimate closer in 2009. The Phillies have no legitimate closer this season. There is absolutely no reason why we need someone to fill the closers role to repeat as World Champions.

For the rest of the season and the playoffs, the 9th inning should be treated as any other inning pitched by the bullpen. The situation must be evaluated in its context and the most appropriate man for the moment needs to be used. If that means Park, Madson, Happ or Moyer goes two innings, so be it. If that means multiple pitching changes at the back end of the ballgame up to and including the 9th, so be it.

There is no reason that one man need be relied upon to pitch the ninth inning. As donc said, if you have a phenomenal arm in the pen that can fulfill that role (Lidge in '08), use him, but anything less than that should put the breaks on naming anyone "the closer." Lidge doesn't need a replacement; the "one-size-fits-all" strategy of Charlie Manuel is what needs to change.

If Lidge hadn't been identified as a "closer", he would have been right alongside Tashner in the Iron Pigs pen for much of the season. If we can send down a struggling Myers and Tashner, if we can release a struggling Eaton and Lopez, if we can demote a struggling Moyer, why cannot something be done with Brad Lidge?

For my money, the two funniest running jokes in BL history are:

1. DITHL as a stat; and
2. Height of a 3B.

Keep up the good work, ladies and gentlemen. I enjoy getting my intelligent baseball discussion with some humor thrown in. That's why BL is the best.

I think even the strongest Lidge supporters like myself saw last night that's it's officially over. I just can't understand how a major league pitcher can give up at least one run in the majority of his innings pitches over an entire season.

OK, it took a while, but I finally tracked it down. DITHL+, 2009:

Pitcher A: 285 (rivaling Pedro's 1999 ERA+!)

Pitcher B: 41

Pitcher C: 8

Pitcher D: 180

bap's tidbit may have given away Pitcher A, but the rest are still up for grabs.

BTW, I should clarify that, where possible, those are 9th inning DITHL+ numbers only. Seemed more relevant to the closer discussion to sort them that way.

Here's the subject on which I'd like to see some sabermetric research (no, this isn't another deer-in-headlights joke): is the 9th inning REALLY different, or is this all just an unfounded theory that baseball managers accept as dogma? If you threw Clay Condrey or Chad Durbin or Scott Eyre into the closer's role, is there any empirical basis to believe that they would fare worse than they are faring in their present roles?

I'm not sure how you'd do the research, but I guess you could look at the track record of guys who started in one role, then later became closers. No doubt, some succeeded & some failed in that transition. But there's also an element of chance involved, in that many of these guys would also have failed even if they had stayed in their old role. For instance, if the Phillies had made Chad Durbin the closer this year, I would venture to guess that he would have stunk it up. But they didn't make him closer & he stunk it up anyhow. What I want to know is whether the failure rate of non-closers turned closers is any higher than the year-to-year failure rate for relievers in general. My guess is that it isn't, and this "9th inning is different" stuff is unsupported by any empirical evidence. That doesn't mean it can't exist in certain limited cases, but it does mean that it's significantly overblown as a factor in whether or not a particular pitcher is capable of closing.

To augment my last post, I guess one key difference about the closer's role is that the closer has to face whatever hitters are coming up; the manager can't pick and choose to use him in situations where he's more likely to succeed, as you would with a LOOGY or a guy like Condrey or Walker, who are much better against right-handers. Then again, guys who are bad against hitters from one side of the plate probably never transition to closer, so there wouldn't be many such guys in the data pool that I'd be looking at.

If the 9th inning really isn't different -- which is my hypothesis -- then the way around the lefty-righty problem would be, as I said earlier, to not have a single closer. Instead, just pretend the 9th inning is the 6th inning & use guys in the situations where they are most likely to succeed, just as you would in the 6th inning. If you've got 2 lefties coming up, bring in Eyre. Then, if a righty comes up, switch to Condrey or Walker to close out the game. If it works in the 6th, it can work in the 9th.

clout's comment from the header made Rob Neyer's blog on espn.com. Pretty cool.

The DITHL stat needs to be tempered by the socioligical background of each player. The DITHL of your urban deer won't affect his performance as much as it would a rural deer, as the urbanite has seen plenty of headlights over the years. The pitcher with a suburban background will react more like his urban counterparts than will the player who grew up in the sticks.

bay_area_phan, while I cannot provide statstics...I can provide personal experience. From my HS ball playing days, the team's last inning brought out the small-ball in all of us. Free swingers got more patient (sometimes). Less swinging for the fences and more contact hitting. (why they were waiting until the last inning to do that is beyond me)

When I see the films of Lidge blowing saves, I see just that. Contact swings. On his flat fastball, even on his slider almost in the dirt (which makes me wonder if they know it's comming)

Bottom Line: Batters will change their approach at the plate in the 9th. Contact swings....choking-up...pinch hitters...pinch runners. It _IS_ tougher. Think Play-Off Hockey. They step up their game a notch.

Brian G: Thanks for the head's up. That is pretty cool. I guess we no longer have to guess if "national media types" read BL. At least he gives BL a link. Can't hurt, right JW.

bap:
Not sure if that research has been done already, but Fangraphs had a post the other day that bears somewhat on your question (although it is only 1 pitcher - Heath Bell)

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/numbers-as-narrative-bell-hernandez-pujols/

Basically, when he was with the Mets from 2004-06, Bell's ERA kept climbing, resulting in him being put in the game in lower and lower leverage situations. Looking deeper, though, one could see that his FIP wasn't bad, and the poor ERA was due to super-inflated BABIPs. In other words, his ERA suffered because of bad luck and crappy defense behind him.

Since being traded to the Padres in 2007, Bell's peripherals have been the same or better and now he is seen as a stud closer, who enters games in high-leverage situations only. Granted, sample size of 1, but at least anectodal evidence to support your theory that the 9th inning isn't something supernatural.

FWIW, Lidge is being hurt by an astronomical .374 BABIP. Interestingly, his LD% is actually *down* over last year, but his FB% is way up as is his HR/FB rate. The stats would seem to confirm JW's observation that Lidge is "hanging balls right down Broadway every night."

has anyone else heard anything about post season tickets?

The MLB - Pitching - Elias Player Rating has 646 pitchers ranked. Brad Lidge is ranked dead last at 646. Just to give you a feel for this ranking, Adam Eaton is ranked 614. You can see it here:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/playerratings/_/type/pitching/count/601/rating/elias

The tipping pitches theory has me baffled.
How could every team in Baseball know what Lidge is throwing without the Phillies being aware that they know ? For a full year, no less.
How does that communication work?
One team, even a few teams for a little while, I could understand. But both leagues for a full year- I don't see it.

Does anyone think that Cholly will actually go with a "closer-by-committee" after watching him manage here for the past 5 years? That's just isn't how he manages a bullpen. He anoints a guy a closer and sticks with him for as long as possible.

As for managing by "closer by committee," does anybody on here think that Cholly actually has a strong grasp & feel on how & when to best use his relievers?

Bubba, it's not too hard for our opponents to know what Lidge is going to pitch. It's either a slider in the dirt or a fastball in the wheelhouse.

Hat's off to clout for getting an uncredited opinion posted on the ESPN site. Kudos to Jason for having BL to be the place to get the real scoop on the Phillies.

Lidge's problem is that batters have him figured out. Lidge is not fooling anyone. They can hit the fastball and the slider. Lidge has been doing the same schtick for years now. He needs to make some adjustments. He _NEEDS_ a 3rd pitch.

3 x 3 = 9 Nine pitches in an inning. Flip a coin and call it nine times. How many did you get right? Statistics say around 4. What do you think the batters are doing? A ML hitter will get very good swings on those pitches. They know what's coming and it is not unhitable like last year.

Easy solution: Change-up

Good pitchers change speeds and locations. Mix it all up. Give hitters something else to think about. It will help make the slider look more like the fastball and elicit more Ks. It will cause hitters to be late on the fastball.

LF - They'll have to invent a whole new set of stats to properly capture the g(l)ory of Lidge's year.

Shane - next time you see one of these ML hitters choking up, let me know.

Lake Fred:
Elias is being a bit unfair to Lidge, no? Chien-Ming Wang (and his 9.64 ERA and 2.02(!) WHIP) are ranked 6 spots higher.

Adam Eaton > Brad Lidge? Man, I have to see it to believe it...

Well, what do you know.

Shane: I don't think Lidge "needs" a 3rd pitch. I just think he has to learn how to not throw belt high fastballs and hanging sliders.

How many closers have 3 pitches?

Here's a thought - Lidge to the 60-day DL, call up Mathieson and Drabek, see which one is the best at closing games, and get permission from Selig to have that guy on the postseason roster.

Or, if you're afraid of blowing out Drabek's arm, just call up Mathieson. He has the stuff to close and the kind of storyline FOX would love (so Selig will sign off on it)

Pablo: Wang only started a few games this year. Lidge has been hurting the team all season. Lidge has been worse, value-wise.

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EST. 2005

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