Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What to do about Brad Lidge?

How much longer can Brad Lidge be a closer on a team that wants to win a championship? Last night, for the NINTH time this season, the Phillies had a lead late in the game, handed the ball to Brad Lidge, and then watched him blow a save. Many would argue that Lidge probably shouldn't have been in the game last night at all since he had pitched in three straight games already, but when you have a one run lead against the Pirates, your closer should be able to get the job done. While Lidge wasn't helped by Jayson Werth's botched play in the outfield last night, he still more than earned a blown save since he failed to get any of the three batters he faced out.

In the encore to a magical season last year, Lidge has been nothing short of a disaster in 2009, putting up numbers this season that are terrifyingly bad (0-6, 7.33 ERA, 1.80 WHIP), especially when compared with his numbers in 2008 (2-0, 1.95 ERA, 1.23 WHIP). For a team that has built up a large lead in their division like the Phillies, having a closer who has put up the kind of numbers that Lidge has is truly astonishing.

So, the question now is, what do the Phillies do? I'm all for taking Lidge out of the closer role, but who do you turn to? Ryan Madson closed a few games earlier in the year but wasn't terribly effective. J.C. Romero closes games from time to time but he's injured. Brett Myers, who is unfortunately at least a month away from contributing, has shown that he can be an effective closer, so he could be a good option if he has his head straight. There are really no other options on the roster after that.

With no obvious replacement available, the Phillies are forced to stick with Lidge despite how terrible he has been. With October right around the corner, however, if the Phillies have a Plan B closer up their sleeve, now is the time to show it.

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