Manuel Is Sticking with Lidge

lidge 0523.jpgBrad Lidge
has been a hot topic for Phillies fans lately, especially after he blew two saves this weekend against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Lidge is 0-2 with a 9.15 ERA and eight saves in 12 opportunities this season.

His ERA is the second-highest in baseball amongst relief pitchers.

But move him out of the closer’s role? Sit him? Charlie Manuel said he isn’t close to thinking about that.

“I want Lidge to feel like we’ve got all the confidence in the world in him because I do,” he said before tonight’s game against the Marlins. “People are going to voice their opinions and everything like that. Sit him and all that stuff. What’s sitting going to do for him? Sooner or later he’s got to go out there and pitch and get somebody out.”

But what about having him pitch in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings?

“That’s worse,” he said. “What kind of message is that? That’s really worse. That’s what Houston used to do to him. They used to slide him into the sixth or seventh.

“If my manager walked up to me and said, ‘You failed the last two days I’m going to give you a break. I’m going to let you sit three, four or five days or slide you into the seventh inning or something like that,’ how would you feel? I’d say, ‘Hey, Chuck doesn’t like me too good.’ That’s kind of how I look at it.

“I think his stuff is there. I think it’s just a matter of him making more quality pitches and cutting down on his walks and things. I think his stuff will play out over 162 games. That’s what makes him a good closer. His stuff will play out. Will he blow some games? He had a perfect year last year. What the hell? How was he going to top that? He had to have some letdowns this season. That’s baseball.

“I think about treating him right. I think he deserves a chance to work it out.”


I meant to post this, oh, a couple months ago, but sometimes my e-mails pile up: Baseball America ranked FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Double-A Reading Phillies, the third-best Minor League ballpark in the country.


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That’s exactly why Charlie is known as a “player’s manager”. He sticks with his guys and gives them time to work out of prolonged slumps. As long as Lidge continues to work at digging himself our of his hole, Charlie and Rich Dubee will stick with him. I’m worried about Lidge’s fragile psyche and the possibility of another Houston-like melt-down. He’s got to get his breaking ball to bite or hitters will keep sitting on it waiting for the fastball. He looks healthy and he’s got plenty of juice but his pitch selection and confidence both need work. Let’s give him another 2-3 opportunities before we call for his head!

Yeah, he needs to fake a swagger and some confidence even if he doesn’t feel it inside. He looks too tentative.

Charlie is in effect staying with ‘his man’. Very noble, I sometimes think that Manuel doesn’t always do the right thing. In this instance, sitting Lidge isn’t a penalty for him, but it may allow him to clear his head for a couple games.

Manual will stay with Lidge at his own peril, for if Lidge continues to falter, it will be Manuel that is also cast in a negative light as well. Look what they did to Myers when he had a few bad games previously. He not only was out of the rotation, they sent him down to the minors.

Lidge has had more bad games than the 4 blown saves would lead you to believe, he’s been in more jams than the Schuylkill Expressway has this season and for some reason he is still getting into the jams and now he is starting to pay for them with the blown saves.

I think about the latest movie version of The Titanic, and although Lidge isn’t to that point yet, I can clearly hear the yeoman saying ‘there’s some ice up ahead.”

Even with the two blown saves this weekend I think he is coming around. He made one big mistake against A-Rod and yesterday he just got unlucky. His location with his fastball was much better yeterday.

Charlie always sees the bigger picture. We cannot win another World Series without our Bermuda Triangle of Romero-Madson-Lidge vanishing every hope of the opposition in September and October. Lidge must be there at the end of the season. Sure we could be four more games ahead of the Mets, but it’s better to sacrifice now than to regret later. IN CHARLIE I TRUST

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