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Lidge Out 3-6 Weeks, Ben Fran Starting in RF

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, March 29, 2011 03:57 PM | Comments: 14
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

According to Ruben Amaro Jr., Phillies closer Brad Lidge has a posterior rotator cuff strain and will be sidelined up to six weeks. In his place, Jose Contreras will fill the ninth inning duties.

Also, Ben Francisco will be the new starting right fielder on Opening Day against the Astros.

The Lidge news is not a shock – he’s been dealing with this injury for most of the spring and the Phillies felt it was best to shut him down for a while following today’s MRI. What does come as a bit of a shock is the insertion of Jose Contreras into the closers role. Many believe, including me, that it should be Ryan Madson and not Contreras finishing off games for the Phillies. Contreras proved last year he’s good for the role, but over a small sample size, Madson gave the Phillies the impression he was not. Either way, with those two, the bullpen is still strong at the back end.

Who will fill the void? It could very well be Michael Stutes as the final man in the pen or someone like Mike Zagurski or Scott Mathieson.

Congrats are in order for Ben Francisco. He earned his starting spot in the outfield after a stellar spring. Defensively, he still has work to do, but his work with the stick has paid off.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1674 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    Congrats to Ben Francisco. We hope he has a great season and career in Philly. I predict that he will hit 22 homers, drive in 84 runs and bat .283. —- a solid and productive year.

     
    • Posts: 0 bill clark

      i think contreras fits the role more than madson personally. however, madson is very good in the 8th.

       
  • Posts: 0 Thedipsy

    Lets just forget about Lidge. Anything we get from him this year will be a bonus. Rotator cuff strain? Puh-lease. Gonna need a closer.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2965 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Contreras closer and Madson set-up. We’ll be fine.

     
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    We are going to need a reliable closer. Time to shake things up, Ruben !!!!

     
  • Posts: 426 Publius

    Avatar of Publius

    There is no position in baseball that is more overrated than that of “closer”. Heck up until Tony La Russa “revolutionized” (i.e. dumbed up) the whole concept of bullpen usage, managers would usually just put in their best reliever for the situation. This is the path I hope Cholly takes, rather than pigeonholing a pitcher per inning. If Madson is the best reliever on the team (which I think he is) he should be put in the highest leverage spots (which doesn’t always mean the ninth, mind you).

     
    • Posts: 520 Bruce

      Avatar of Bruce

      “Overrated”? C’mon. Of course, the manager would use their most reliable reliever in a closing role and it has a long history. It’s just today they have a name tag..”CLOSER” . ;-)

      It’s true the evolution of relievers’ role changed and became more specialized in the late 80′s. The role of the closer today is getting 3 outs for a “save”. Of course, there are exceptions such as future HOF, Mo Rivera who can go more than 1 inning when needed to close. And to be a closer, it takes a different mentality; a mindset like no other starter or reliever. Not any pitcher can be a consistently successful closer. Ryan Madson knows that from his dismal experience.

      Before closing, the young people here should take time to read and appreciate baseball’s history of great players including those who were considered the best in their role as the dominant reliever BEFORE the 80′s era. You had Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage and Rollie Fingers. They often went more than 1 inning. Keep in mind, pitchers pitched more complete games back then and therefore, fewer “save” opportunites for those relievers. Many baseball historians would remind fans that in their opinion the first great closer would be Jim Konstanty of the Phillies for his incredible year of 1950. He appeared in 74 games. That year, he won 16 games, had 22 saves, and was deservedly named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.

       
  • [...] Phillies Nation makes the salient point that whether it goes Madson-Contreras or Contreras-Madson, the back end is still strong. [...]

     
  • Posts: 193 bfo_33

    Avatar of

    I’m not a young person, but I completely agree that the closer role is overrated. Most of the Phil’s true “saves” last year were in the 8th, when Madson was pitching against the heart of the order. I don’t have the stats to back it up (and don’t have the time to look it up), but I would wager that 50% of Lidge’s saves were against the weaker hitters (6-9) – Madson took the brunt of the heavy lifting.

    When you have a truly dominant closer (Rivera, Nathan when he’s healthy), a closer shortens the game by an inning, allowing the manager to plan it bit better. There is additional pressure in regards to having to finish a game, but you are starting with a clean slate. When you have several decent arms, but none dominant, it doesn’t really matter who is labeled the closer.

    I credit (or discredit) Sparky Anderson for the evolution of the modern bullpen. But even back then, Sparky didn’t bring in the pen until the starter got in trouble (or he got a gut feeling that a bad match-up was coming), and he never defined a true closer, put in the guy best equipped to deal with the situation. My opinion is that is the way the Phils should go (except not waiting until the starter is in trouble, look at pitch speed, location,… make the move before he gets in trouble) – bring in the guy best suited for the situation – 1 out in the 9th, two guys on, a slew of righties coming, bring in Madson or Contreras (although both are pretty effective against either side). If lefties, Romero or Bastardo. Same thing goes for the 6th, 7th, and 8th.

    It’s almost here – except it’s going to be a truly crappy weather weekend. Why aren’t we playing in Houston? Some day, the MLB schedulers will figure out that it makes a lot more sense to have the northern teams start in the south or domes for the opening series.

     
  • Posts: 0 Thedipsy

    bfo_ Sparky Anderson? Modern Pen? When he won the WS he used McEnaney and Eastwick. He had no true closer. If you look at the vast majority of WS winners over the past 30 years, the vast majority of them had true, dominant closers. Some guys just can’t take the pressure and thats why they are not closers. Yes, the 8th inning guy is very important, but the closer has to get the last three outs and thats pressure. The 8th inning guy knows that if he effs up, his team will get another at bat. Sooooooo, when the Phils start blowing save situations and losing games because of it, come talk to me about how the closer is unimportant. Or are you guys just being “contrarian”?

    The Dispy

     
  • Posts: 193 bfo_33

    Avatar of

    Using modern from a standpoint of actually removing a starter in a close game. The current set-up (I guess it would be post modern?) of having an assigned guy in each role (middle relief, loogy, set up guy closer) makes life easier for a manager, but isn’t an upgrade. If you have a truly dominant closer, he should go in when the game is truly at risk – regardless of inning (well, at least 6th inning on).

    Having a guy deemed closer, vs having a dominant closer are two very different things. Going back to 2001, I only see 2 dominant closers: Rivera and Wilson last year. Lidge had a great 2008, but don’t tell me you didn’t get antsy every time he came in on a close game. Papelbon was very good in 2007 also. Isringhausen was no where near dominant in 2006, Jenks was a waiver pick-up in 2005, Foulk’s arm was about to fall off in 2004, Urbina with the Marlins – enough said, Percival was decent, but no where near dominant in 2002, and the Diamondbacks won despite Kim in 01. If you want to call Lidge dominant in 2008, I can live with that, still only makes 3 dominant closers in 10 yrs.

    By the way, the Yanks are 1-2 in the last 10 ws with the best closer ever, that same Brad lost two games in the series in 2005. Yes – I think a dominant closer is overrated, not just being contrarian. An all-around solid bullpen is far more important than any one piece.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    But come on guys, we need saves for my fantasy league. What else are they good for!?

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDispy

    bfo_ All the guys you just named had great years when their team won the WS.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 SJ Phillies Fan

    If you are going to be at the stadium this weekend, be sure to stop by and order your Portapong Table.

    PortapongTables.com!!

     
 
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