If you head over to the Philly.com sports page today, you'll see two columns about Brad Lidge and his struggles this season, and both of them say Lidge should not be removed from his closer role any time soon.
This is the type of thing that's really beginning to piss me off. I love Brad Lidge. I really do. He was perfect last season, a huge part in the Phils becoming World Fucking Champions, and I will be forever grateful for that. But professional sports are all about what have you done for me lately, and lately, Brad Lidge has been nothing short of the worst closer in baseball. Just look at the numbers: 21 games, 0 wins, 2 losses, 9.15 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, .337 batting average against, 21 strikeouts against 12 walks in 19 and two-thirds innings, 29 hits, 20 runs, all 20 earned, 6 home runs surrendered and 4 blown saves in 12 attempts.
That's as awful as it gets, yet here we have John Smallwood and Phil Sheridan spinning the exact same PR bullshit that the Phils have been feeding us all season: that Brad Lidge's stuff is fine, he's doing some good things out there, blah, blah, blah.
Oh really? Those numbers, a 9.15 ERA, more runs and hits than innings pitches, blowing 33-plus percent of save opportunities and allowing the opposition to bat well over .300 are good things? Really? And having absolutely no command of the fastball gives hope? How exactly?
Smallwood tells us that the Phils have no other option. Yeah, because it sure looks like Ryan Madson can't get the job done.
Now, Sheridan does point out that maybe Madson would implode and not handle the closer role well. Valid point, but at this point, could he do a worse job than Lidge? That would be hard to do. Smalls also says any fix, like with Romero coming back, moving Madson to the closer role, would only be for the short term, not a long-term solution. Well, what exactly is wrong with that?
I understand Brad Lidge is making a lot of money, top-notch closer money. He is the guy for this team. But why not put him on the DL, get his knee right and his command back, just to see if it has an effect. Clearly, trotting him out there hasn't been working, and it's hurting this team. If now's not a good time to do it, when is? Are the Phils just supposed to keep putting Lidge out there if he continues to fail no matter what? That sounds like a fraudulent idea to me.
I get it, Charlie sticks with his guys, gives them the benefit of the doubt. But right now, Brad Lidge is the worst pitcher on the staff, one of the worst in baseball. He needs to clear his head, get his command and regain his form. But he can't do it at the detriment of the team. Sit him down for a couple weeks, let him go on a couple rehab assignments, get out some minor-leaguers, and if he regains his form, put him back in the role he shined so bright in last season.
But don't just keep putting him out there for the sake of his psyche or because he makes big bucks. We all saw what happened to Lidge in Houston. If that's the Lidge we're stuck with, the Phils can't afford to continue to let him close. The media and the Phils may be putting the PR spin out there, but as Rasheed Wallace once said, "Ball Don't Lie." You are what you are, and right now, Brad LIdge is a closer with 0 wins, 2 losses, 9.15 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, .337 batting average against, 21 strikeouts against 12 walks in 19 and two-thirds innings, 29 hits, 20 runs, all 20 earned, 6 home runs surrendered and 4 blown saves in 12 attempts.
Ball don't lie.