Lidge's New Role

Brad Lidge‘s role in the Phillies bullpen has changed, but how that role works remains to be seen.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Nationals that to get Lidge right he plans to pitch him in low stress situations – the Phillies leading or trailing by a few runs – with the possibility to close on occasion. But he also wondered how often those situations will present themselves. Only four of the Phillies’ previous 25 games have been decided by five runs or more.

“I don’t see us using him in the seventh or eighth inning,” Manuel said. “I look at him as a closer. That’s kind of where he fits. I see him pitching once he needs work. If we’re behind in the game or we’re ahead or something by a good margin we’ll get him to make sure he pitches live in the game. He needs to get work where he can command his pitches and he feels good about himself. I agree that he needs work like that. That’s kind of what he wants. I don’t know how much work like that from here to the end of the season we can get him.”

Could he still close this season?

“He could close,” Manuel said. “He hasn’t lost nothing. I’m telling you right now, he definitely can still close. I see where he could be our everyday closer again. Yeah, of course.”

Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee met with Lidge after last night’s 6-5 victory, when Ryan Madson picked up his second save in as many nights. Manuel pulled Lidge from a save situation Tuesday after he loaded the bases with one out, allowing a single, walking a batter, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch.

It sounds like Madson and possibly Brett Myers will be pitching in most save situations until the Phillies deem Lidge fit to return, but Manuel is not going to name Madson or Myers the team’s closer for the foreseeable future, perhaps because he wants to make it clear to Lidge that he can get back his job.

Lidge said he is OK with Manuel’s plans.

“It’s real simple,” Lidge said. “Just get me work to get me where I need to be. That’s about it. I told him, ‘Listen, whatever you need to do, I’ll be ready to take the ball at any time.’ I told him it doesn’t need to be a save situation.’ Obviously, I’m ready to throw in those. But if we’re up by six runs, down by six runs, I feel like I’m very close to where I need to be, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a couple more outings. We’re on the same page with everything and we had a good talk.”

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Left-hander Scott Eyre received a MRI exam today in Philadelphia. It revelaed a “loose body” in his left elbow, which has been causing his “quick and sharp” pain when he throws. Because Eyre had dye injected into his arm, the Phillies said he will not be able to pitch for a few days. “Obviously, we’re considering different courses of treatment at this point,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “He will be unavailable for the next few days.” Proefrock said the Phillies there is a remedy that would allow Eyre to pitch again this season. “We have not made a decision on how to proceed at this point,” Proefrock said. Eyre is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 39 appearances this season. … Left-hander J.C. Romero (strained left forearm) and right-hander Clay Condrey (strained right oblique) continue to workout in Philadelphia, but there are no updates on their timetables to return.

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10 Comments

Attn: Jamie Moyer. Please reference Lidge, Brad re: how to react to a role change.

Good attitude by Lidge. I’m hoping he fixes things in time for October.

Lidge is unflappable. He said, “It’s real simple . Just get me work to get me where I need to be.” – as if any work has helped him to get to where he has needed to be over the past 5 months of the season. It’s almost like he is in denial of how bad he is. I’m still rooting for him to hit the switch and return to his ’08 form.

Very close to where he needs to be, seems like miles away.
But philsfaninva nailed it contrasting Jamie and Brad’s difference in reactions. Jamie’s done well in his new role, but he has certainly slipped on my respect meter due to his reaction.

Sounds like he has the right attitude – at least in front of the media. He’s been in denial mode all season, so I take that with a grain of salt.
I give Charlie full marks for making this move. It’s not too late, and he showed incredible patience with a guy who was owed a lot more than the benefit of the doubt. But it just wasn’t happening on a consistent basis, and a change had to be made.
I’m not quite as worried about that 6 game lead as I was last week.

Lidge’s primary problem has been his inability to throw his slider for a strike. Batters have learned to just not swing at it and Lidge falls way behind in the counts. He has to lean more on his fastball, which is 95 mph but not all that great movement-wise.
He doesn’t have to throw all of them for strikes, of course, that’s the point, but it’s fooling batters way less now than it did in ’08.

Matt Stairs returns to form. If the Phils can pull this come back off, they will be the team they used to be. You know, come from behind and win in late innings. When was the last time they did that?

That game was a tease.

Was Blanton jinxed? Right after an article naming him the best right-handed pitcher on the Phils since ’05 Myers was written, his ERA shoots up .50 to 4.11.

Once gain the Phils make a bad pitcher – Livan in this case – look like Cy Young. A 6.0 game lead in the division with 24 games to go – which includes six against the 2nd place Marlins, three against the Braves, four against a Mets team that hates them and four against the Astros who recently swept them in four. This team has problems hitting, lot their 2nd best pitcher and bullpen uncertainty, not a good combination to finish the season.

Granted we are not supposed to beat any team 100% of the time, but if you can’t sweep the worst team in baseball, do you have a realistic chance of beating the Rockies, LA or the Cards in the playoffs? You have to believe the Mets are letting the Fish sweep them and they’ll play us like it’s their WS. Their season can be redeemed if they get the Phils to choke like they did the last two years. We must take at least two from the Mets this weekend, and hopefully we’ll win more.

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