It's Lidge or Madson … Or Not
Unless he’s not.
“We’ll do what we have to do,” Manuel said before tonight’s series opener against the Brewers at Miller Park. “We’ll see. Whatever we think, whatever we want to do, I’ll do it. I’m open to what I’m going to do, yeah.”
The never-ending ninth-inning saga for the Phillies continued after Lidge blew his Major League-leading 11th save of the season last night in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium. Lidge is 0-8 with a 7.48 ERA with 31 saves in 42 opportunities. In four appearances since Manuel returned Lidge to the closer’s role, he is 0-1 with a 14.73 ERA and three saves in four opportunities. Opponents have hit .421 against him. Lidge is on track to become one of just five pitchers in baseball history to finish a season with no wins, eight or more losses and a 7.00 ERA or higher:
- Ed O’Neil went 0-8 with a 9.26 ERA in eight games in 1890 with Toledo and Philadelphia of the American Association.
- Charlie Stecher went 0-10 with a 10.32 ERA in 10 games in 1890 with Philadelphia of the American Association.
- Edgar Gonzalez went 0-9 with a 9.32 ERA in 10 games in 2004 with Arizona.
- Russ Ortiz went 0-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 26 games in 2006 with Arizona and Baltimore.
Who would the alternatives be?
Brett Myers would make sense, but he is hurt. He will throw bullpen sessions next Tuesday and Thursday, which would leave him no more than three games to show Manuel he could handle the job in the postseason.
Fans have asked about Pedro Martinez or J.A. Happ, but they seem unlikely. Martinez is 37 and has never closed before. Happ also has no experience in the role. One of them obviously will be in the postseason rotation. The other could be valuable as a multi-innings guy in the pen, especially if Chan Ho Park is hurt.
Tyler Walker? He is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 27 appearances. He has closed before.
“He’s done a good job for us in the role he’s in,” Manuel said of Walker. “We’ll do whatever it takes that we think will win a game. I might give you guys something really good to write about.
“If you look and see what our pitching situation is right now, who we have there … both of those guys (Lidge and Madson), they are our talented guys. As far as stuff-wise and experience-wise and things like that. It kind of made it tough. But at the same time we’ve got to try to do something to win games, too.”