It’s Time to Look Elsewhere for a Closer

Lidge face

The infamous "Lidge Face", now sans mole

Let’s start with the real news, Brad Lidge has elbow
stiffness and is returning to Philadelphia to be examined.  Now
I’m not typically a knee-jerk reaction type of guy (maybe Brad is, and that’s why
its always injured….), but I think it’s officially time to look for other
options at closer.  

First of all, if you are reading this, you know two things about Brad
Lidge. 

1: He was one of the main reasons the Phillies won the World Series in
2008

2. He stunk last year, and promptly blew game 4 of the World Series
after Pedro Feliz hit a game-tying HR off of Joba Chamberlin in the 8th inning.  

Now it’s still early, but in 2008 Lidge gave
up 15 ERs, 50 hits, and 35 walks in 69 innings.  Last year, he gave up 47 ERs, 72
hits, and 34 walks in 58 innings. 

This year in his first save opportunity?  He
served up two meatballs that were kept in the park by the wind, and lucked into his first save.  Not to mention the fact that he couldn't get more than an out in his first appearance against the Mets.

What I’m trying
to say is that it seems more likely that 2008 was the "fluke", as opposed to the last year and half.

Personally I think Jose Contreras has closer stuff and could be solid in that role.  He has a mid 90’s fastball, a "swing and a miss" splitter that may be the best
in the league, and even a good
slider. 

Madson obviously can’t close no
matter how many toes he has, I don’t think Durbin has closer stuff, and Baez
has only 12 saves since 2006. 

I’ll always trust Charlie’s decisions, but he
chose to stick with Brad all of last season despite how badly he pitched
and I had no issue with it, but this season Lidge missed spring training, hasn’t exactly
been dazzling, and now he is hurt…. again.  

Yes… it’s early, but to me, I have to think that the fat lady is humming, and Brad
should be on a very short leash.

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4 Responses

  1. You are forgetting Lidge’s appearance against the Cardinals when his slider looked like 2008’s. Don’t be too quick to throw him on the scrap heap.

  2. Besides last year, Lidge has had 1 year with an era over 3.60 out of 7 full seasons, so yeah, I’d be more willing to call last year the fluke than ’08. It’s really too early in the season to tell anything, but I’d be more worried about the rest of the bullpen than Lidge. Madson has been iffy at best, but since it’s been mostly in the closer spot and not his normal set-up roll, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’ll be fine. Romero’s been pretty meh, Baez is hit or miss, Figueroa’s been alright, and haven’t really seen enough of Herndon to make a judgement. Only dependable people so far have been Contreras and Durbin, and that’s not enough to make a bullpen, especially with Madson out for at least another month. If you think back to ’08, the reason we were so good down the stretch and in the postseason, besides our offense, was our bullpen. Lidge and Madson were automatic, and Durbin, Romero, and Eyre were pretty lights out too. All we needed was our starter to bring a lead into the 6th inning, sometimes even the 5th, and we’d have a great chance of winning. Get 7 innings out of them and it was game over. For all this talk about trying to get Lee back, I don’t really see our rotation as that much of a problem. Our 08 rotation was what? Hamels, Moyer, Blanton, Kendrick, and Adam Eaton?? ADAM EATON??? And our offense is better now than it was then, so we really don’t even need as good a rotation. Halladay’s obviously capable of going at least 7, and Hamels, Moyer, and Blanton are all capable of consistently going at least 6. Just imagine when Happ comes back, because if he can keep his walks down, he’ll have another outstanding year. Barring a major injury, I think our rotation will be fine through the rest of the year. Honestly I’d rather shop around for a better bullpen come trade deadline time, but I don’t think a new closer is particularly what we need.

  3. I think they can get by and win the division with Lidge on the shelf, but it’s tough in the playoffs when you have a 1-run lead in the 8th inning.
    A team like the Yankees for instance now has Hughes in the 7th, Joba in the 8th, and Rivera in the 9th. Most nights if they are ahead in the 7th, they are going to win. Makes managing and playing the game a lot easier when your bullpen can close out close games most of the time.
    Chollie is going to have to mix and match with Contreras, Baez, Romero, and Durbin for most of this year until Madson is back and if/when Lidge is every ready to pitch for more than a few weeks at a time. Then you have guys pitching in new roles. It’s almost like 2 more months of spring training for the bullpen to get used to new roles.

  4. I’m done with him. Thanks for 2008 but Lidge hasn’t been healthy since. Here we are 33 games into the season and still no closer. I think Lidge has more rehab games than MLB games this year…Time to talk to the Royals to get Joakim Soria to fill the empty position

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