Thursday, September 24, 2009

Throw Him Off the Lidge

Last night, after Ryan Howard almost singlehandedly gave the Phillies a 6-3 lead in the 7th, it looked as though that magic number was about to get down to four. The big man somehow flicked a ball off the end of his bat all the way to the leftfield scoreboard to plate Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley in the 3rd, then crushed an opposite field two-run homer in the 7th for a little insurance.

But then a homer by some guy named Gaby Sanchez served up by Cole Hamels in the 7th and a single by Cody Ross to plate Jorge Cantu at the hands of Ryan Madson in 8th, and suddenly this was a one-run game in the 9th. At this point last season, there was no doubt in my mind that the Phillies, holding a 6-5 lead with three outs to go, would win — and for good reason. They did not lose when leading after 8 once all season.

Well, as we have been painfully reminded again and again and again this year, we're not in 2008 anymore. When I saw Brad Lidge warming up in the bullpen, my stomach turned. He is the complete opposite pitcher he was last season, literally. Which is to say he sucks on a level not even Mitch Williams ever approached, and that's saying something.

When he gave up a leadoff double to this year's Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, Adam EatShit turned and asked me, "Is this game over?" I replied, "Not with this next batter, but in a few batters. No way they win this game."

Mr. EatShit said, "Yeah, they are gonna lose. But wouldn't it be sick if he pitched out of it and that was finally the point he turned it around?" Yes, yes it would be. But we both knew better. Brad Lidge simply doesn't have it in him.

A fly ball to right by Chris Coghlan moved Gload, the tying run, to third. After a questionable called third strike to John Baker, there was the ever-so-small glimmer of hope that, hey, maybe he will get out of it. But of course he didn't. He walked Hanley Ramirez. Jorge Cantu singled to center to tie the game. And one pitch later, Brett Carroll, BRETT CARROLL, laced a hanging slider to left center to end the game.

As meech so eloquently put it: "Brad Lidge and his stupid face fall to 0-8 on the season with 11th blown saves. Go away, Brad Lidge."

I couldn't agree more. Brad Lidge is the worst pitcher in all of baseball right now. His ERA is 7.48. He's 0-8, 11 blown saves. Opponents are batting .305 against him. Brad Lidge should not take the mound again for the Phillies in 2009. At all. Not in the regular season. Not in the postseason. Not in a save situation. Not in mop-up duty. Not at all.

And as pissed off and frustrated as I am with Lidge, I think Enrico summed it up best: "At what point do you stop being so damn mad at Brad and start looking at Charlie for still frigging walking the guy out there? With eleven games left in the season, I don't think anyone has faith the Phillies can close an important game down."

Sorry, Charlie, but you've fucked up too. Brad Lidge hasn't been getting it done all season. The right time to remove him as closer has come and gone. Now what the hell do the Phillies do? Brett Myers, the only other player on the roster with successful closer experience, is hurting. Ryan Madson has been just as much of a mess as Lidge in the closer spot. J.C. Romero and Chan Ho Park are ailing. What the hell?

Drastic times call for drastic measures. Perhaps it's time to see what one of the two guys dueling for that fourth spot in the playoff rotation can do in the role, though 11 games remaining and Pedro Martinez's sore neck sure don't give the Phils much time. But maybe J.A. Happ or Pedro can do what Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson can't. If not, looks like it's going to have to be closer by committee, taking it out for out.

One thing's for damn sure, Brad Lidge should not be allowed anywhere near that pitching mound. Hell, he probably shouldn't even be allowed in the stadium. We aren't in 2008 anymore.

BallHype: hype it up!

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