Last Night It's Madson, Tomorrow Night It's … ?


madson 0909.jpgCharlie Manuel
had two options to pitch the ninth inning last night at Nationals Park:

- Brad Lidge.
- Ryan Madson.

Brett Myers could have been an option, except he had pitched Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday and had warmed up Monday. He was unavailable. So with a 6-5 lead in the ninth inning against the Nationals, Manuel chose … Madson to get the save.

“I wanted to leave Lidge alone,” Manuel said. “Lidge will get the chance to save some games for us, but tonight I wanted Madson.”

And tomorrow night?

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll just wait and see. I don’t want that to be a big thing. He was a great closer last year and he’s still got that kind of stuff. He’s got the talent. I don’t think there’s no reason in the world he can’t eventually get right, whether it’s this week or tomorrow or two weeks from now or a month or whatever, or next year or two years from now or three or whatever. I think he’s still a good pitcher. I’m not down on Lidge at all. Not at all. I’ve still got confidence in him.”

But clearly that confidence has waned. Lidge is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA and a Major League-leading 10 blown saves. Manuel said before the game that he hung with Lidge for a long time, but with less than a month to play before the postseason this teams needs to win. Maybe getting out of the closer’s role will help Lidge. Maybe not. But Manuel is focused on getting to the postseason, and winning in the postseason once the Phillies get there. Lidge simply has been too erratic to make Manuel feel comfortable about his chances.

How will this work? Manuel sounds like he is going with a closer by committee approach, although he never used those words. Madson got the nod last night. Manuel said Lidge will get opportunities. I assume Myers will, once he gets a little more comfortable.

Can this work? It can. Madson is getting more comfortable in the ninth inning. Myers loved the job in 2007. Few are better when Lidge is right. If Manuel and Rich Dubee pick and choose the right pitchers for the right nights, it could work.

Will it work? We’ll see. Closing ain’t easy.

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36 Comments

I think it is a bit premature to conclude that Charlie is utilizing a relief by committee approach at least as far as closer is concerned. Rather, he is still in the process of easing out Lidge and trying to decide whether Madson or Myers will replace him. Thus far Myers has only come into games as the second to last option. But I must say Charlie played his cards right the other night when he gave Lidge his chance and had Madson in reserve and did not hesitate to pull the trigger.

“Lidge will get a chance to save some games for us.” Sure. When they’re 6 games up with 5 to play.

Exactly muleman. I don’t get why Charlie keeps saying he still has confidence in him. Clearly he doesn’t and he has every right not to. Lidge seemed pretty pissed last night when he was saying he was happy they won. He said it with a death stare. Business is business Brad. I hope he doesn’t go sour like Moyer did.

The Phillies are best when Lidge is the closer, and he’s pitching like he did last year. They have their 8th inning guy (Madson) and their Lefty (Romero) and evryone else in their special role. Unfortunately, that isnt’ the situation at present. Charlie is, therefore, is trying to find the next best solution not only as far as cloeser, but setting everyone’s role. (Myers or Madson close, but who sets up?). even by doing what Mule sarcastically suggests, he’ll be helping the team. Perhaps he’ll find the missing ingredient and be able to return to his former form in time for the playoffs. If not, Does he take over the 8th inning spot vacated by Madson? Does he take over Myers role as 7th inning guy (that is how Charlie has been using him mostly)?

joed: I didn’t see Lidge’s comments, but just from the audio I could tell he wasn’t happy. Maybe he’ll be pissed enough to start pitching better. Moyer has been good since he lost his regular starter’s job. Since they can’t motivate these guys with money, maybe anger is a good motivator?
f.i.j.: If Lidge doesn’t return to form, and someone else claims the closer role, does Brad even make the post-season roster? He could share a luxury box with Jamie. Now there’s a decision that would take some industrial-strength guts.

Oh Moyer has definitely benefited from pitching with an attitude. Brad could use one for sure. He looks terrified out there right now. Charlie hasn’t been much of the player’s manager lately and I like it. A swift kick in the rear is good from time to time. We’ll see how Lidge responds.

I agree with pherris that Charlie has no intent to have a ‘closer-by-committee’. He is trying to find who the closer will be. It is not as much of a dire emergency as some may think, mainly because they clearly have options. Three teams in this decade alone have won a WS using a different closer from the one they used in the regular season.

Hey phan, which teams are the ones you are talking about? Just curious.

2003 Marlins
2005 White Sox
2006 Cardinals

Whether Lidge is the closer, the set up guy, or just an arm in the bullpen he has to be on the post season roster. From my point of view, the PS roster will look like this:

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Bako, Dobbs, Stairs, Francisco, Brunlett, Lee, Hammels, Happ, Blanton, Lidge, Madson, Myers, Eyre, Park, Pedro, and depending on who’s healthy, Moyer, Durbin, Condrey, Tyler (pick 1). The last spot I figure will go to Mayberry, or Cairo as the need for bats is greater then for extra arms in the Post season. If Tracy gets hot, and Dobbs and Stairs stay cold, we could see him on the roster instead as the 25th player. It breaks down to 8 starting posisiton players, 5-6 bench, 4 starting pitchers, 6 relievers, and 1-2 swing man or long relief guys.

Tracy has power. His problem is that he had Howard ahead of him. I don’t think he ever makes the team as a starter, but for playoffs, if you need a LHB off the bench, why not? Can’t be worse then Stairs has been lately. Same thing for Mayberry. If we feel we need some power off the bench from the right side, and want to keep Francisco as an option to start, or to also come off the bench, he could help. The issue is we can carry one extra bench player and one less pitcher in the Playoffs as we only need 4 starters and not 5

Thanks phan…that Cards team was out of nowhere and now look at Wainwright. Unbelievable year.

Is there any chance of Romero or Condrey really coming back this year. Condrey seems to be making very very slow progress and JC waited way too long to get the cortisone shot. And even if they are back how effective can we expect them to be?

The bench still concerns me greatly. Chad Tracy isn’t going to do anything. The guy is a minor leaguer for life for a reason. Cairo and Bruntlett combined might get the ball out of the infield 2 times out of 10. I don’t want to see Mayberry taking a key AB in a playoff game at all. It’s basically Dobbs or bust. They better pray he comes back strong because Stairs hasn’t had a hit since the bomb heard ’round the world in the LCS.

As Whitey used to say, “You could look it up,” so I did.

The 2003 Marlin had Braden Looper with 28 saves in the regular season (hardly spectacular) and used our old pal Ugeth Urbina to get 4 saves in the post season.
The 2005 White Sox had Dustin Hermanson with 34 saves in the regular season and Bobby Jenks with 4 in the post season. Hermanson only pitched in one WS game, so there must have been an injury involved.
The 2006 Cardinals had Jason Isringhausen with 33 saves and used Adam Wainwright to get 4 in the post season. Given Izzy’s history, I’d say there was an injury involved there too.

I’d guess that none of those situations mirrored what the Phils are going through with Brad Lidge.

I’m not overly concerned with “roles.” In fact, it makes more sense to just be flexible and use the best relievers in the most crucial situations, as far as I’m concerned. Myers can clearly go more than one inning per appearance, so there’s no need to just say he’s the “set up guy” and only pitch in the eighth, etc. I understand starters and relievers, but there’s no sense in acting like relievers are so specialized that you can only put them in in certain situations because that’s their “role.”

The situations do not mirror the Phillies situation in so far as why the closer in the regular season was not the closer in the post season. But I believe this misses the point that teams which have had to change the closer in the post season have had success regardess of the reason for the change.

We’ve had this discussion before. Some of us think that a pitcher should be used until he’s not efetive any more that game. If a starter goes 7 and is still getting outs, let him start the 8th..if a RP came in for the 7th, and had a good inning, let him start the 8th. the closer is whomever is the last pitcher standing.
Other’s argue that pitchers in today’s game need to know their specific role. Either way, we seem to be set with quality pitchers for the post season, we just don’t know how they’ll be used yet

Yeah, the closer isn’t the Quarterback or the Manager or anything. You just need a good pitcher who can get 3 outs with the lead, nobody on base, and no outs. It’s not like switching it up throws the whole team into disarray.

phylan: I’m not concerned with roles either, but today’s players are, so it doesn’t matter what we think. As evidenced by the intro to “The Pen” TV show, those guys have their titles and they expect to be used in certain situations.
Could Scott Eyre come in to face a right-handed batter? Sure, but it’s also the first excuse someone would use if he didn’t get him out. Guys like to know at which point in the game they can expect to come in. I don’t think you can ignore the fact that today’s players have roles, as much as we might like to think otherwise.

The way things are these days, they like to give pitchers defined roles and I think the pitchers probably feel tht they will perform better if they know what that role is. They’ve been conditioned over time to think this way. It’s not like when I was a kid and the manager just put his best bullpen guy in the game when it was on the line, no matter what inning it was. They didn’t have ‘closers’ or ‘set-up’ guys.
And muleman, you miss my point. The point is that you don’t have to rely on one guy if you have a good bullpen. The circumstances of the change don’t matter. The Phillies situation is similar to those other teams in that sense, in that they are fortunate they can go in another direction and still have success. It takes somebody special to be able to be a successful, career closer like Rivera and Hoffman, IMO. The strain must be unbelievable. You can’t have fear and you need to have a short memory. That ain’t Brad Lidge (Myers?). Lidge had been on a rollercoaster his whole career so this development really should not have caught any of us by surprise.

so are we saying we need to assign roles to he Pen, or not? I think that Lidge, Myers and Madson can all close. Those three, Park, Tyler and Romero can all set up. Long relief can be handled by Moyer, Pedro, Condreyand Durbin. Obviously Eyre and Romero are the lefty specialists. (Moyer has no real difference in his results based on l/r hitters) the question still remains, who do we put where, and who doesn’t make the roster

what it takes is a faster fast ball and a better slider then we’ve seen this year from Lidge, that’s for sure

Also getting the last 3 outs in the game is a whole different ball of wax then getting them in earlier innings. As I’ve heard Mitch, Ricky Bo, Wheels say often, there’s no net. So with that it takes a different mental approach.

karen: Right. Prior to the ninth, someone can come in and bail out a bad pitcher. The closer is always the last man standing – that is, until Charlie stepped in the other night. That’s why it made such a wave around baseball.
phan: True, you don’t have to rely on one guy, but they still have to know when they are going to be used – at the very least prior to the game. You can’t start ringing the bullpen phone to ask for a guy in the fifth inning if he’s thinking he’s the set-up guy. It’s a little sad, but it’s the state of today’s game.
And, since when did we start counting warm-up pitches as a performance? I’m hearing that we can’t use s0-and-so because “He warmed up last night.” Geez, can we coddle these guys a little more?

If Madson is to be our closer, it is of utmost importance that he develop some snazzy facial hair.

Chin beard is acceptable. Moustache-and-mutton chops would be best.

not to mention the apropriate intro music

FIJ, do you know something about J.C. Romero the rest of us don’t? Why do you keep listing him as if he were pitching well right now and guaranteed to be on the playoff roster? The fact is he just got a cortisone shot and we don’t even know if it will help.

No, actually in teh list of probable playoff roster he’s not listed at all. What I said is he’s capable (if healthy) of closing, being set up guy, or lefty specialist. I hope he’s healthy for post season, but like you I doubt it given how his year has been so far

Also Scott Eyre has an injury, the extent of which we will find out soon.

If Eyre and Romero can’t pitch for the rest of the year or if they show themselves to be ineffective, who will the Phils use as their lefty-specialist? Taschner? Does anyone know? Because it is a real possibility that could derail our hopes of a repeat.

In regards to Madson’s hairstyle/facial hair, he seems to be the pen’s barber (in the series “The Pen” you see him cutting Eyre’s hair) so I guess he knows style :-)

Well, there’s always Moyer…..

If Taschner is the situational lefty in the playoff then we are all in for a disaster.

phan52 and pherrisphain, if you both agree that Charlie is completely phasing out Lidge as a closer, you are calling Charlie a liar because he said that Lidge was going to get chances to close. It’s just NOT going to be guaranteed. Lidge will get a chance to close the next time the Phils are leading by 2-3 runs in the last inning. And Madson or Myers will close if it’s only a 1-run lead. Charlie is amazing. He’s upset with Lidge, but he’s still holding onto the hope that Lidge will turn it around. Lidge’s stuff may even be better than his stuff was last year. His problems are pitch selection and location plus whatever goes on inside his head before and when he throws the ball. He always seems rattled before the first pitch. Can this be fixed?

Suposedly Taschner really straightened himself out whil in AAA this year. He changed his delivery etc. He had a good record and good stats in LV and said he has better movement and control now. That said, he’s not my first pick either.

It’s funny how Cliff Lee gets shelled for the third time in a row and everyone is more worried about Lidge and the closer issue. Of course, that’s what the blog is about. Nevertheless, Lee seems to be pitching like Josh Beckett, both incredible pitchers going through unexplainable spells of horrible pitching. I hope Lee can get his spot-on control back; otherwise we can kiss post-season-success good-bye, with or without a closer.

He went 7 IP giving up 4 earned runs, on 6 FBs, 12 GBs, and 8 line drives. I’d hardly call that getting “shelled.” Cliff will be fine.

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