Area Man Helps Local Nine Win Big, Closer Struggles
Needed that one.
Brian Schneider hits a game-winning solo homer to right field in the 12th inning last night to beat the Reds, 4-3. The Phillies hope they can finish the weekend strong, lick their wounds over the All-Star break and come back ready for their annual second-half push.
But red lights are flashing again in the ninth inning. Brad Lidge blew another save. He is 1-0 with an 11.57 ERA and one save in four opportunities in his last five appearances. The Phillies got to the World Series last season with Lidge struggling. It is hard to imagine they go back with him struggling like that again. The odds are just against it.
The Phillies are looking for pitching help, more than infield help because they except their big boppers to start hitting and because they expect Placido Polanco to be back soon. Say the Phillies can only improve one area. Do they go for the rotation or bullpen? I might go bullpen. Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have been solid atop the rotation. Jamie Moyer, except for a few starts, has been solid. I’ve got to think Joe Blanton will turn things around. J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick can be a fifth starter. (Plus, Pedro Martinez is still out there.) But the Phillies don’t want to go through the same dance as last season, not knowing if they can rely on Lidge in the ninth inning. It would be nice to have a backup plan. Ryan Madson hasn’t handled that role well. Danys Baez was supposed to be an option, but Charlie Manuel has made him a mop up man lately.
I will be signing copies of my book Saturday from 4-4:45 p.m. during Pigapalooza at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.