"Last year's last year and this year's this year," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, in an admirable effort to bolster his guy's confidence. "He's got the same stuff he had last year, but that's baseball. Right when you think you've got this game whipped, it can jump right up and bite you. But he'll always be my guy. If you do something else with him, I think that could hurt his confidence."
I appreciate that Charlie wants to stand by his man. I likewise understand that the psyche of closers is somewhat fragile. However, Lidge has cost the team five losses this year and has six blown saves. It is quite clear that this is not the same dominating pitcher as last year. To his credit, Lidge recognizes that he's not pitching well. "I feel good, but I know that something needs to change , in terms of the results," Lidge said. While I support trying to stroke the closer's brittle psyche, the team cannot afford to continue to blow games in a misguided attempt to massage Lidge's ego.
My humble opinion is that unless Lidge gets himself right very quickly, he and Ryan Madson need to switch roles, as I think that Madson deserves a shot at the closer's role. While that may not be good for Lidge or for his ego, the needs of the team must come first, and if Lidge isn't doing the job, someone else needs to get a chance to do so.