Lidge No Longer Lights Out to Close
Charlie Manuel sounded a little like Herm Edwards this afternoon at Nationals Park.
We play to win the game.
Brad Lidge, who was pulled in the ninth inning in last night’s 5-3 victory over the Nationals after the loaded the bases with one out, said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told him that he would be closing the next time the situation presented itself. But Manuel said this afternoon that he simply told Lidge that he wasn’t afraid of putting him in there.
“I’ll just go with how I feel,” Manuel said.
So if there is a save situation tonight, tomorrow night or Friday, it’s not iron clad that Lidge, who is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA and a Major League-leading 10 blown saves, is closing?
“I’m going to sit down sometime along the way and talk to him or whatever,” Manuel said. “I’m getting kind of tired, if you want to know the truth. Really, I am. And the reason is because I figure I can put him in the game when I want to. I’ve been very loyal to him. I’ve stuck with him. I did everything I think possible to get him going. There’s no way I want to ever lie to him and things like that. Like I told you last night, I don’t do that. I don’t have a history of doing that. I don’t do it. But at the same time, we’re going to win the game. Hey, the best way we can win the game. If Brad’s not out there to close, well then I guess that’s going to be my decision. We are going to play to win the game. Our team definitely is not about the one guy, either. I’m sure he feels that way. Really. It’s very important that we get him straight and right. But at the same time we’re going to play to win the game.”
In other words, if there is a save situation in the future, it could be Lidge, it could be Ryan Madson, it could be Brett Myers.
It sounds like closer by committee to me.
“He’s having an off season,” Manuel said of Lidge. “And we’re at the place where we need to win some games. If we’re going to win our division, we need to win some games. These are very important games and we need to win them, and I guess I’m going to pitch who I think on that night can do the job. When he gets in there and he gets consistent, he can take that job right back. I look at him in the future as being the closer for the Phillies. But right now we’re going to try to win games. My first priority is to win the game.
“Let me tell you something. When I managed in Cleveland I’d go get my pitcher whenever I wanted to. I’d go get my closer. I used to take (Bob) Wickman out of games and he used to get mad. I’d take John Rocker out. I didn’t give a damn. Because you know what? We were trying to win the game. The main thing was we win the game. If you don’t want to win the game or anything I can put whoever I want to out there, but I’m going to try to have the best guy on that night out there pitching that I possibly can have.”
Manuel made it clear he isn’t afraid to use who he wants, either.
“I’m the manager. I kind of go with how I feel and what I think,” he said. “I’ll take the responsibility. You can put it all on me. Really. I’ll take that. … I’ll bring anybody in the game, all right? I don’t care. Really. When you get right down to it, you me to tell you the truth? I’m not afraid or nothing like that. That’s no big deal. He might be in there tonight. He might be. He might not.”
Scott Eyre returned to Philadelphia to see a doctor tomorrow. He has soreness in his left elbow. … Clay Condrey is working out at Citizens Bank Park, and could make a rehab appearance for Double-A Reading. … Jamie Moyer will pitch Saturday against the Mets. Pedro Martinez will pitch Sunday, likely in the second game of a doubleheader. Manuel said Kyle Kendrick likely would pitch the opener Sunday.