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Closing Options

Posted by Amanda Orr, Wed, August 26, 2009 03:40 PM | Comments: 33
Analysis, Commentary, Posts

This double post is brought to you by both Amanda Orr and Pat Gallen

Brad Lidge’s time as a closer must be numbered. After last year, Lidge has been given a free pass, but it’s time to rip it up. With nine blown saves, a 7.33 earned run average, and 1.80 walks and hits per innings pitched, he can’t continue to be the Phillies closer. The Phillies have other options.

When Lidge was on the disabled list earlier this year, Ryan Madson took over as closer.  However, he was also victimized.  Madson has of record of 4-4 and is 4/8 in save opportunities.  He has a 2.95 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.  He strikes out 9.1 batters per nine.  Overall, they are decent numbers, but most of his struggles have come as closer.  While trying to adjust to his new role, perhaps he tried too hard.  Giving him another chance is worth a shot.

http://philliesphorum.mlblogs.com/Brett%20Myers.jpgBrett Myers went down with a hip injury, but is recovering faster than expected.  There is a chance Myers will be back as a reliever.  He has closing experience, in 2007, when he went  5-5 with a 2.87 ERA.  He saved 21 games in 24 opportunities and opponents batted just .229 against him.  As a closer, he was a whole different animal, striking out 64 in 53.1 innings.

With this being his contract year, Myers would like to make an impact any way he can.  He has experience, and was successful at it.  He loved it, and was upset with the Phillies converted him back to a starter the following year. Myers should not immediately jump into the closers role, but depending on his outings, he could find himself in the ninth inning.

Chan Ho Park, Chad Durbin, and others could close, but they aren’t the best options.  They have been successful in the roles they are currently in, especially Park.  When J.C Romero returns, he would give the Phillies another option, but with the number of base runners he allows via walks, he probably won’t fare well.

Charlie Manuel wants to “stick to his guy,” but how many more blown saves will it take? After being the National Leagues’ best closer in 2008, Lidge has been the worst closer in baseball this season, sporting the most blown saves and highest ERA of any reliever. As long as Lidge is pitching the way he currently is, he can not close. The best option is Madson or Myers, once he returns.

-Amanda Orr

———————————————————————————

We Will Miss You, Brad Lidge

This is in no way an obituary for our fair closer Brad Lidge.  It is, in essence, a kind reminder of what was, and what should be.

It’s not every season you can be perfect, but in 2008, Brad Lidge was just that.  To think that 2009 would be similar was justifiable, though not recommended.  Not in the fickle game of baseball.  Only certain closers can be counted on year after year after year.  Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and a select few have been able to relish the role in the 9th inning.  Lidge has not done that.

Last night against Pittsburgh, we witnessed another piece of confidence torn from the fabric of number 54.  Is there any left from here on out?

http://images.dailyradar.com/media/uploads/ballhype/photos_large/2008/09/30/Lidge.jpgLet us not forget the special things Lidge brought forth less than a year ago.  The anchor of a stellar bullpen nailed down games with ease, unlike anything Phillies fans had seen since Steve Bedrosian in the 80’s.  And even Bed Rock couldn’t hold a candle to what Lidge put forth.

Lest we forget, it’s a “what have you done for me lately” world we inhabit, and that same slogan holds true in baseball.  Brad Lidge cannot close games now.  At least not every game.  And while Charlie Manuel has gone through the manual on how to approach the subject, I’m afraid the options are limited.

My theory: closer by committee.  There are several able arms that have withstood the pressure in late inning situations.  With Madson throwing 98, Park on point, Eyre a shoo-in against lefties, and possibly a healthy and hungry Myers set to return, there are options here.  Go with the gut feeling.

If Madson matches up well against the hitters in the ninth, go his way.  Two lefties about to come up?  Call on Eyre.  Looking for a change of scenery?  Give Lidge a shot here and there.

Try this for the next month and at the end of September, come to a conclusion for the playoffs.  If a CBC still works, go with it.  If Madson is simply on fire, run with him.  If Myers jumps back in and remembers how to be a closer, then he can be your man.

Cholly is a smart individual; that much is certain.  The mind games he has attempted to play with Lidge have failed, but you cannot blame him for trying. In a similar situation with Jamie Moyer, Manuel and the staff made a tough decision on a guy who helped the Phillies win games.  Now, another decision like that has to be in the works.  It’s time for real change.  The Phillies have some room to maneuver here with such a large lead in the NL East.  So trial and error should not hurt any more than Lidge has.

We will hardly forget Brad Lidge’s magical season of a year ago.  However, that chapter is closed and its time open another.  Make it happen, Cholly.

-Pat Gallen

Avatar of Amanda Orr

About Amanda Orr

Amanda Orr has written 713 articles on Phillies Nation.

Amanda has been writing for Phillies Nation since 2009.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Jason

    Agreed and agreed. Lidge is off, physically as well as mentally. I like the idea of using the hot hand and inserting arms based on situation. Charlie fancies himself a guy who plays his gut. This would be the ultimate test of that ability, but his track record indicates he could make it work.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Couldn’t agree more with your post, Pat.

     
  • Posts: 0 BS

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a closer by committee work out well. My preferred option would be to see Madson get another shot at closing, with Brett Myers as my second choice (assuming he pitches well after being reactivated from the DL).

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    BS: Rays 2008… that was some type of CBC

     
  • Posts: 0 maxhole

    this is like night and day. ha

     
  • Posts: 0 Duffie_D

    I might be the only person left who thinks Brad Lidge is gonna be fine. He pitched well in the Mets series, his stuff is still effective. Last night was his fourth straight day of pitching. On top of that, with the Phils going into the 9th inning trailing 3-2, he may not have been completely mentally ready to go out there in the bottom of the inning.

    Anyone who pitches four days in a row these days is going to feel the effects, but Lidge is a gamer and he’s not going to make himself unavailable for a game due to simple fatigue. Charlie shouldn’t have sent him out there last night because he was tired. I really do think its that simple.

    A playoff schedule would have Brad Lidge pitching in at most three games in a row at any point, and in many cases not even that much.

    Take a deep breath everybody. Calm the f*** down. You do not want to see a closer by committee. You do not want to see Madson back in that role. Myers is a completely unknown quantity at this point, and anything he might give us out of the bullpen is gravy. The situation with Lidge really isn’t that dire. He has the experience that no others in the bullpen do. I’m willing to bank on that experience. I think you should be too.

    Chill out everyone. Please, just chill out.

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    Nice articles. But sorry, closer by commt does not and will not work. It’s way too risky and it will burn you eventually. Look at those ’08 Rays. Yes they made to the WS, but they lost because they’re very few if any defined roles for their BP. And if it weren’t for the hot shot rook, David Price, the Rays would’ve lost to Boston. It can also completely screw up your middle relief. What happens when Mason closes two cons nites but is unavaible in the next game when he has favorable matches-up in the eight 8inning. Same thing with Scott Eyre. What if teams bring a switch hitter off the bench, then what. You need a closer than can get both lefties and righties out. Period. And Chuck’s boneheaded dec making only adds to the circus. Right now I’d have to go with Todd Walker or Chan Ho Park. Myers please get healthy and become our closer. As least Myers wouldn’t scared. I was blasted for mentioning Bill Wagner last week. What was that? I know it would not have happened anyway,but at least’s it’s going outside the box. RA has made some great moves. But his dec or lack there of to get either Qualls or the guy the Dodgers got may be this team’s downfall. Charlie don’t let Lidge or any relv pitcher throw 4days in a row. J*cka**!

     
  • Posts: 0 phils_ftw

    I love how everyone think Madson should get another chance. I guess people weren’t paying attention the last time he was given the chance. News flash, Madson was given a chance to close even BEFORE the last time he was in that role and he STILL stunk at it. Madson’s confidence is too shaky for the closer role. He was awesome UNTIL he blew a save (it happens eventually, eventually you’ll get several 1 run games with zero margin for error and blow the save.) After that blown save he didn’t locate his pitches well, he didn’t throw his change up (his confidence pitch), he lost velocity and thew fastballs right down the middle for players to crush. Why do you think he gave up so many HRs in his time as a closer?

    Madson is TOO vital as setup man, we move him to the 9th to suck again, then who pitches setup? Don’t say CHP, if you’ve been paying ANY attention you’d know CHP needs a few days rest after his relief appearances. Don’t say Eyre or Durbin, Eyre in the 8th against all righties would be recipe for disaster. Durbin has been inconsistent. Don’t say Moyer, do you really expect Moyer out there every game in the 8th at his age? Don’t say Lidge, it’s pointless to give the game away an inning earlier. Walker? Maybe, but that’s as big a gamble as throwing Madson back into a role he’s sucked at doing TWICE.

    Let’s say we put Madson into the 9th and he loses his confidence again due to repeating what happened last time. Great, now we’re still weak at closer but now we also have Madson sucking in the 8th inning again. Remember what happened to him when he was moved back to the setup role when Lidge returned? He kept sucking for like a Month. There is only so much time left in the season, we don’t have the luxury to be screwing around with the chemistry of people who are comfortable in certain roles. When this whole Lidge DL stint happened and Madson was moved to closer the ENTIRE PEN went out of whack. Not just Madson.

    Let’s not go down that road again. Not in September, when we have to stay ahead of the Marlins and Braves.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    HAMELS DOMINATES TONIGHT.. and we don’t need to worry about this for at least one more day..

    Lidge would be unavailable tonight anyway.. so it would be Madson or Park

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Nobody is this bullpen has a freakin role except for Madson so cut the crap. Park comes in whenever. Same with Eyre, Walker. Durbin can stay in the 6th or whatever. Myers, Condrey, and Romero haven’t pitched in forever. Its not as hard as you think. Here ya go:

    Park, Eyre, Condrey: Mixed in 7
    Madson, Eyre :8th
    Myers, Romero, Lidge: Mixed in 9th

    Is that silly?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    And the Dipsy lays it down.

     
  • Posts: 0 jay-ha

    Double post?!

    The revolution has begun.

     
  • Posts: 0 Alex

    How about Trevor Hoffman? He’s been put on waivers.

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    The Dipsy is wrong, yet again. The Phils will manage to get buy for the duration of the regular season. The Braves and Fish are good, but incomplete teams. Last year at this time, if I’m not mistaken it was Romero, Madson then Lidge. Chad was your middle relief. The only reason the roles of our bp guys aren’t as set is because of all the injuries. But they’re not as all over of the place as you try to make it seem. And Charlie doesn’t help either. BP by commt has worked 1 or 2 times in the last x amount of yrs. The Mix and Match stra. will blow up in the Phils faces come October. Maybe even sooner than that.

     
  • Posts: 0 Repeat!

    If the Phils had a team like the Cards or Rockies in the N.L. East chasing them, this problem would be a lot more “Chicken Little” like.

     
  • Posts: 0 winks tiddley

    We need to speak to the Brewers about Trevor Hoffman. The man can still close games and we are desperate. The Brewers are shedding salary. We need to move F A S T.

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Hoffman is the best option, but common thinking is the Marlins would block it. Have to try anyway.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    OK Repeat. You can just watch Lidge melt into a heap of goo while he keeps blowing every third game, screwing up any chance we have at the best record in the NL, while ALSO taking away any chance that Charlie would have to reassemble his bullpen for the post season. Genius. Charlie keeping Lidge as the closer is safe for Charlie and if he keeps him there that’ll be why. If he tried different guys according to matchups and saves were blown everyone would think Charlie an idiot. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know, I guess. Whats the definition of “insanity” again? By the way, how’s your talk show goin?

    The Dipsy

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 therookie300

    Would a team like the Marlins really want to take on any extra payroll? I would highly doubt they block it for that reason alone.

     
  • Posts: 0 Richie Allen

    I know this doesnt answer the closer question but…
    Did any one but me turn the tv off last night when Lidge came in?
    I coudnt take the Pirates hitting rockets off this guy..Why didnt Charlie lift him after they tied up the game?

     
  • Posts: 0 mikeB

    A person gets so sick and tired of Feliz hitting into double plays or striking out. This guy is good defensively but I hope that the Phils can come up with a more consistent hitting third baseman eventually.

     
  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    Duffie:

    1) Judging him by the Mets is not a good idea. That’s a minor league lineup.

    2) The numbers in Amanada’s article tell the real story. It’s a complete DISASTER. The ‘ he might get it together’ is no longer an operative theory
    That’s not going to happen and he should not be the closer any more.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I think that Hoffman is owed 1m for the rest of the year.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Keith E

    Lidge is looking more and more like the closer he was in Houston. This is hard to watch and I truly feel for the guy. You know he’s dying for a few positive outings. If this is the bill for perfection then we should all chip in a little positive energy and send it his way. Bottom line is; this cannot continue.
    GO PHILS!!!

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Keith I like your enthusiasm. I’d like to say some positive reinforcement would lend a hand. But I’m just not sold. I like Lidge a lot too, so it sucks to see him in this position.

     
  • Posts: 0 Michael N.

    There goes that Madson idea. Now we gotta worry about him going back to the 8th is he gonna struggle again because he blew another chance at being closer.

     
  • Posts: 0 SDO

    How about a Lidge/Myers duo for the closer position? ala the Martinez/Moyer combo, which seems to work. Put Lidge out there only on alternate days.

     
  • [...] The question of closer is still very much with us.  Will Brad Lidge catch fire and return to 2008’s form?  Will Brett Myers come back to recapture his form as a closer from 2007?   Or will Manager Charlie Manuel have to revert to closer-by-committee?  Check out this detailed report on closer options from Phillies Nation. [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 TODDFROMFAIRMOUNT

    Brad Lidge is our closer.

     
  • Posts: 0 Lewisauce

    Brett Myers whiffed five last night in two innings. It was at Reading, so there was no gun, but his estimate was he was throwing mid-90s.

    All this anxiety about who will close is kinda silly. We have an experienced closer rested and coming back from an injury just in time for September. I don’t understand the uncertainty. As soon as he’s ready, which will be very soon, plug Myers in. Problem solved.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Pedro has been solid for us defensively – just ok offensively. Though probably above average there too. I would like to upgrade that position in the offseason though and lock it down for 3-4 years while they build depth in their system at 3B. I vote for Mark Reynolds – young, cheap, upside, desperate team looking for even younger talent than he is.

     
  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    No. Brad Lidge is the closer. Brett Myers is plan B, Hoffman plan C. Then if that all fails Lidge is back as plan D.

    But basically its Lidge, then Lidge, then Lidge, and then Lidge again, because they are NOT going to kick him out of the closer spot over 9 blown saves. Get over it. Theyll rest him more now though, you can bet that. But hes still the primary guy in big games.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris.I

    Who cares if Madson blew ONE save? Lidge blew how many? NINE? If it wasn’t for that homerun, Madson would have been untouchable. He deserves another shot

     
 
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