Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is it Time to Make Ryan Madson the Closer?

Brad Lidge got hit hard again yesterday, not only blowing a save by giving up a game-tying homer to A-Roid in the bottom of the 9th inning, he then gave up the losing run.  He came into the game with a 4-2 lead.  The Phils lost 5-4, thanks to Lidge's incendiary performance, wasting a fine start by J. A. Happ.  It also wasted the first major league homer by rookie outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. (whose father, former Kansas City Royal first baseman John Mayberry, was present).  Mayberry, Jr. hit his first homer in Yankee Stadium while Mayberry, Sr. his last there, completing the circle.

He blew another today, giving up the tying run in the bottom of the 9th, and wasting a terrific start by Cole Hamels and good work by Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, and Ryan Madson.  It's SO frustrating.  The minute he came into the game, something told me that he was going to blow it, and, unfortunately, I was right.

Lidge's ERA is now a very, very ugly 9.15, and opposing batters are hitting .340 against him.  Those are hardly the numbers for a closer.  Hell, they're not even the numbers for a long reliever.  He's now blown 4 of 12 save opportunities, and can't seem to get through an inning without letting at least one runner get on base.  He is definitely NOT the same pitcher he was last year, and the Phillies just cannot afford to keep blowing games in the last inning.  I think that it's time that Lidge be removed from the closer's role and Ryan Madson installed in that critical role.  Madson certainly has the stuff to be an effective closer.  If Lidge works out his problems and gets his shit together, then he can certainly be reinstated as the closer.  I sincerely hope that that happens, preferably sooner than later, but for now, the Phillies just cannot afford to trot him out there with as totally ineffective as he has been.

Luckily, the starting pitching seems to be improving.  Brett Myers pitched a terrific game Friday night, Happ did very well yesterday, and Cole Hamels pitched six solid innings today.  That can only bode well, given the inconsistency and unreliability of Lidge.

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