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