Lidge Defying the Odds

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Are nine blown saves and a 7.33 ERA enough reason for a closer to lose his job? 

In 99 percent of cases, the answer is yes. 

Brad Lidge, however, seems to be the exception.  After all, this is the same guy who went a perfect 41-for-41 in save chances last season and played a major part in bringing the Phillies their first World Series title in 28 years.  Without question, he deserves a longer leash than most, but five months should be long enough.  His fantasy owners have suffered long enough.  You can bet that many of them would rather see him demoted.  At some point, the gain in the saves category is outweighed by the loss in ERA and WHIP.  We’ve reached that point.

On the heels of Lidge’s most recent implosion, Ryan Madson received the save opportunity last night, leading many to speculate that a change had been made.  Not so fast.  Lidge had pitched four straight days, so manager Charlie Manuel likely just wanted to give him a breather.  Regardless, Madson did not exactly make a positive impression, blowing a save of his own but managing to pick up a vulture win thanks to Philly’s 10th-inning rally.

The rehabbing Brett Myers, who struck out five in two scoreless innings yesterday for Double-A Reading, is another closing candidate.  Myers served as the ninth-inning man for the Phils down the stretch in ’07, so he does bring something of a track record.  On the other hand, there are considerable risks involved with trusting anyone who hasn’t graced a big league rubber in three months.

As of now, it appears that the Phillies are committed to Lidge, but there comes a time when a contending team must concentrate less on the past and more on the present and immediate future.  The clock is ticking.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

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