This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by leaving your comments.
There have no doubt been meetings. And conferences. Maybe even tarot card readings and exorcisms. But none have shaken Brad Lidge from the jaws of the alien that’s wrecked his season. If you’re a believer that recent past performance is the best indicator of future returns, you can’t feel too confident about Lidge “finding it” with about three weeks to go in the season. And you shouldn’t be. The numbers are mind numbing – 0-7, 7.11, 10 blown saves. Charlie has stuck with him much longer than any manager would ever have been expected too; but even Charlie doesn’t want to be the violin player on the Titanic.
Through it all, the look on Lidge’s face after each implosion has gone from that of unconcerned to confused to glazed, to at-last, shell shocked. The faster he tries to throw his fastball, the more action it loses. The more drop he tries to get on his slider, the sooner it hits the dirt. On the mound, he squeezes the ball so hard it looks like its going to explode in his hand like a egg. Brad Lidge is a burned out husk and his confidence is shot.
The problem now is what do you do with a closer that can’t close anymore? My answer is don’t pitch him at all. Why would you put the guy into any stage of a meaningful game? If he screws up the ninth, he’ll screw up the seventh or eighth as well. And let’s not see any attempts at “nurturing” him with one out saves, please. I realize that there are injuries in the pen now. Given that, one might suggest Brad could pitch some innings in the remaining games where the Phils are safely up or way down, to perhaps build a little confidence (like last night). I think Charlie would be reluctant to do that often as he might perceive it as a slight to Brad.
If Brad’s not already done as the closer – and he may not be for all we know – than surely one more blown safe would seal his fate. He’s gotta turn it around, and I mean yesterday. Short of that, I would suggest that someone else occupy his playoff spot. The playoffs are not a time to “keep working on it” and “battling” while a more capable pitcher sits at home…unless that’s where you want to be too.