Results tagged ‘ Brad Lidge ’

Who’s In, Who’s Out When Contreras, Lidge Are Back?

Before the season started the Phillies had their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers aligned like this:

  • Jose Contreras in the seventh.
  • Ryan Madson in the eighth.
  • Brad Lidge in the ninth.

But because of injuries to Lidge and Contreras, the Phillies have adjusted. They’ve used Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero and others in critical late-inning situations. In last night’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Phillies went young. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Vance Worley picked up big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.

“I think I put them in the fire, didn’t I?” Charlie Manuel said after the game.

Contreras could be back in roughly a week, although that remains to be seen. Lidge has said he’s hopeful he could be back before the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen lines up upon their return. Who stays? Who goes? Worley has done an excellent job, but it’s probably in the team’s s best interest to eventually send him back to Triple-A to start. (Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much recently.) They need him stretched out in case something happens to another starter. Roy Oswalt already has missed time because of a bad back and Joe Blanton already has missed time because of soreness in his right elbow (he still has discomfort in the elbow). It doesn’t make much sense to have the team’s No. 6 and 7 starters (Kendrick and Worley) both pitching in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson or Vance Worley could be optioned Tuesday when the Phillies activate Oswalt from the DL. The other could be optioned when the Phillies activate Contreras. But what happens when Lidge returns? If Worley and Mathieson are optioned at some point and everybody is healthy, the bullpen would look like this: Baez, Bastardo, Contreras, Kendrick, Madson, Romero and Stutes.

Now it gets interesting. Bastardo, Contreras, Madson and Romero appear safe. The Phillies need a long man, which is Kendrick. That would leave Baez and Stutes. Baez has had his struggles, but is a veteran making $2.75 million. Stutes has options, but has been impressive in limited action. Fortunately for the Phillies the decision does not need to be made today. If Baez is pitching well when Lidge returns I think he stays. But if he’s not pitching well he could be in trouble — unless Stutes himself is struggling.

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Lidge Has Shoulder Pain, Will Open Season on DL

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More bad news from Clearwater.

Brad Lidge will open the season on the DL because of pain in his right shoulder. He will be examined tomorrow by team physician Michael Ciccotti. He will receive a MRI exam next week in Philadelphia. Lidge said he is hopeful he could return by mid-April, but for the moment Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras will be closing games. 

Here is what he said:

Q: How did you feel yesterday?
A: It didn’t feel great. I still have some lingering issues with my shoulder. Experienced some post-shoulder discomfort in the back a little bit. Which is a little different from biceps tendinitis, but I think it probably relates a little bit. Either way, it didn’t go the way we were hoping basically trying to bump up from the percentage I was throwing at, which was hard to say exactly, but 85, 86, 87 mph range. Trying to get to the next step. Wasn’t ready yet. We’re going to have to take a little more time off and start back up again and hopefully give it a little more time to recover this time it’ll get us where we need to go.

Q: What does that do for Opening Day?
A: Opening Day I won’t be ready, based on what they’re telling me. Because we’re going to have to rest it for a while. It’s kind of up to them how long they want to rest it for. Then after that … get it examined. Dr. Ciccotti is going to look at it more tomorrow, determine to get a MRI or not. Then after that we’ll start picking it up based on what he says. But right now that’s kind of all I know. I’m still experiencing some discomfort in there, so we’re going to get more analysis.

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Lidge Throws Pain-Free Bullpen Session

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Brad Lidge threw roughly 35 pitches in the bullpen this morning at Bright House Field.

He has been sidelined since last Friday because of right biceps tendinitis.

“I felt really good,” he said.

Lidge said he expects to play catch tomorrow and throw another bullpen session Sunday before returning to Grapefruit League action. He said he could be in a game in three or four days.

“Getting out this little bit of tendinitis and getting back into it should be about the perfect recipe,” he said. “It feels a lot better now. I haven’t cranked it up to 100 percent yet. I threw somewhere between 80 and 90 percent. No discomfort.”

Lidge’s velocity has been down this spring. The expectation is it will return with a healthy arm.

“It’s coming,” he said. “My pop will never be there until the first game I’m closing during the regular season. It hasn’t been for however many years – five, six, seven years. I don’t expect myself to ever be close to where that is in Spring Training. It never has been. That being said, I should be able to get more on it than I’ve been getting on it the past couple outings. But if I don’t I still won’t be worried. As long as nothing is hurting me I’m going to be real happy. It’s really for me making sure that when I get out there I have good mechanics so I don’t re-aggravate the tendinitis. Assuming that goes as planned I’ll be more than ready on April 1.”

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Pitching Schedule: March 19-25

Here is the Phillies’ pitching schedule March 19-25:

  • March 19 @ Orioles: Cole Hamels, David Herndon, Scott Mathieson and Michael Stutes.
  • March 20 vs. Yankees: Joe Blanton, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo and Danys Baez.
  • March 21 vs. Red Sox: Roy Halladay, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, Herndon and Mathieson.
  • March 22 @ Blue Jays: Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick, Contreras, Baez, Bastardo and Stutes.
  • March 23 @ Rays: Roy Oswalt, Romero, Madson, Mathieson and Herndon.
  • March 24 vs. Twins: Hamels, Bastardo, Baez and Contreras.
  • March 25 vs. Braves: Blanton, Madson and Romero.

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Brad Lidge, who is out with right biceps tendinitis, said he feels better, although he is not sure if he is throwing a bullpen session today or tomorrow. … Placido Polanco, who hyperextended his left elbow Tuesday, is not in today’s lineup against the Blue Jays. … Brian Schneider is away from the team for personal reasons.

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The Opening Day Lineup


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Charlie Manuel has 17 days before he must fill out his Opening Day lineup card.

How will it look?

Here is a mostly educated guess:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Placido Polanco, 3B
  3. Raul Ibanez, LF
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Ben Francisco, RF
  6. Shane Victorino, CF
  7. Carlos Ruiz, C
  8. Wilson Valdez, 2B
  9. Roy Halladay, P

Manuel has hit Victorino second and Polanco fifth a few times this spring, so I suppose that’s a possibility. That would bump Francisco down a spot. But it seems pretty clear Ibanez is his guy to hit third … thanks to us?

“Ibanez, you guys talked me into hitting him third,” Manuel said today in Dunedin. “You were telling me what his career average is hitting third and what he hit last year third and all that.”

Life would be easier for Manuel if he had Chase Utley healthy, but he’s not. That means Manuel has to find new No. 3 and 5 hitters to open the season. Manuel said he isn’t sure how important those spots are to Ryan Howard‘s success in 2011.

“How much? I don’t know,” he said. “The more patient Ryan gets the more balls he’s going to get to hit. I think that’s the key to what kind of year he has.”

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Lidge Has Sore Right Bicep

I’m off today, but MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez is in Kissimmee and filed this update on Brad Lidge:

Lidge was scheduled to be on the bus today to play the Astros, but remained in Clearwater because of tendinitis in his right bicep. Rich Dubee said it is the usual issues of Spring Training and didn’t sound too concerned.

He said he’s unsure if Lidge will pitch in Thursday’s “B” game, but added that he’s still on track to be ready by Opening Day.

“He generally has it in the spring,” Dubee said. “It’s nothing that he doesn’t go through.”

While there’s no timetable for Lidge’s return to the mound, Dubee said that doesn’t necessarily throw him off track because the right-hander “already got more innings than he usually has in the spring.” Lidge has made five one-inning Grapefruit League appearances this spring, giving up five runs in the process (a 9.00 ERA).

Dubee said Lidge’s arm strength isn’t where it needs to be. For now Lidge will get a couple days of rest and see how he feels.

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Fastball, Fastball, Fastball: Getting Lidge on Track

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Let’s take a look at Brad Lidge‘s Grapefruit League appearances since he joined the Phillies before the 2008 season:

  • 2008: 0
  • 2009: 9
  • 2010: 0
  • 2011: 5 (so far)

Lidge is healthy this spring, which hasn’t been the case in previous springs. He is hopeful his good health this year will put him in position to have a successful season. But for the moment he is searching for his fastball. He allowed three hits, two runs and one walk in one inning today against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Lidge is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA (five earned runs in five innings) this spring.

“It comes down to this,” he said afterward. “It’s a pretty easy assessment so far. I feel like I can throw my slider on a dime, in and out of the zone, up and down where I need to. My fastball is garbage. It’s that simple.”

Lidge threw 20 pitches to Orioles hitters. He threw 19 fastballs.

“I have to work on my fastball,” Lidge said. “I’m not sure what my stats are, but Spring Trainings have been very ugly for me as a general rule. I take a while to ramp up velocity and control on my fastball. Even with being healthy it takes a while. Hopefully I’ll get a few more outings and get where I need to be. If I don’t feel good on March 31 I still don’t care. If I don’t feel good on April 1 then I care.”

“Tell them not to worry,” Charlie Manuel said about fans concerned about Lidge’s spring numbers. “I ain’t going to worry.”

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A look at the Phillies’ options to replace Chase Utley.

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Two More Steps to Go

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Cole Hamels pumped his fist and high-fived a few teammates before he coolly headed to the visitor’s clubhouse last night at Great American Ball Park.

There would be no pile up on the field.

The Phillies hope that comes later.

“We know what we’re trying to do here,” Jayson Werth said following their victory over the Reds in Game 3 of the NLDS. “We’ve got two more celebrations.”

The Phillies swept the Reds to advance to their third consecutive NLCS, which begins Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Giants or Braves.

“To be honest it feels like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Brad Lidge said. “This is an incredible run we’re on, but we feel like this is what we need to be doing. This is what we should be doing.”

The Phillies popped a few bottles of champagne after the game, but they kept things relatively calm. Things have changed since they won their first NL East championship in 14 years in 2007. The Rockies swept them in the 2007 NLDS, so they went a little crazy when they beat the Brewers in four games in the 2008 NLDS.

That victory over the Brewers represented a gigantic hurdle.

They have cleared that hurdle a few times now.

“We’re a veteran group of guys,” Werth said. “We weren’t always that way. As much time as we spend together and the type of guys we have on this team, I would say that’s what you can expect from us, you know?”

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Phillies Clinch (A Playoff Berth)!

If you’re like me, you’re wondering the same thing: what are the Phillies doing with all the champagne they bought this weekend to celebrate their fourth consecutive National League East championship?

They’re taking it to DC.

It is worth noting the Phillies clinched a playoff berth today anyway, despite losing to the Mets. They clinched because only one National League West team can finish with 93 wins.

The Phillies are 93-63 with six games to play.

If the Braves (87-69) win their remaining games, they can finish with no more than 93 wins. The Padres (87-68) and Giants (88-68) are competing for the NL West championship with the Giants holding a half-game lead. They play each other in a three-game series this weekend at AT&T Park. If both teams win every game leading to that series, they both would be 91-68. One of those teams obviously will win at least two of those games, pushing one team to 93 wins while the other team finishes with no more than 92.

Thus, the Phillies are in the playoffs.

If you’re wondering if the Phillies were going to celebrate on the train, think again. I asked Brad Lidge if it’s safe to assume the entire team will not be headed to the bar car for a celebratory drink.

“I think that’s a safe assumption,” he said. “We might be doing some low-key patting on the back, but we want to accomplish our goal and nothing short. That’s when we’ll celebrate.”

Because the Braves lost, the Phillies can clinch the NL East tomorrow with a victory over the Nationals or a Braves loss to the Marlins.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Magic Number Is 2

lidge 0924 2010.jpgLots of stuff happened during tonight’s 3-2 victory over the Mets:

- The Phillies’ magic number is two. They can clinch their fourth conscutive NL East championship tomorrow with a victory over the Mets and a Braves loss to the Nationals.
- The Phillies have an 11-game winning streak, which is their longest since a 13-game hitting streak July 30-Aug. 12, 1991.
- They are 19-3 in September.
- They are 93-61, which is the best record in Major League Baseball.
- Joe Blanton allowed two runs in seven innings to improve to 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA. He is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA (29 earned runs in 73 2/3 innings) in 12 starts since his last loss July 21 in St. Louis.
- The Mets are upset with Chase Utley.
- Charlie Manuel is upset with the Mets.

The Phillies were upset with the Mets for calling time when Brad Lidge was in the stretch, ready to deliver a 0-1 pitch to Jesus Feliciano with runners at the corners and two outs in the ninth inning. The Mets were upset with Utley for a late slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning.

“I think that was terrible,” Manuel said of the timeout in the ninth.

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