Still no internet in the Sigma Alpha Mu house here in Bloomington, Indiana. Therefore, I am relegated to short posts while surrounded by people who have way to much free time on their hands at the library.
To start off this post, I will say that I am forever grateful for what Brad Lidge contributed to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. His 41 saves in 41 save chances marked the best season for a closer in Phillies history, and his final pitch to Eric Hinske to clinch the 2008 World Series will go down as one of the most memorable moments in Philadelphia sports history.
With that said, it’s time for a change.
I’ve stuck by Lidge pretty much all year. When he went to the D.L in the middle of June after blowing six saves in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, the excuses were flying out of my mouth. Fatigue, bad luck, injury, bad calls, I basically said everything that could constitute me as a “senseless homer”, as my father would say.
Now, I just can’t do it anymore.
After Tuesday’s debacle which ended in another Brad Lidge meltdown (9th blown save in 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a walk-off homerun), it’s time to realize the obvious.
While Lidge’s velocity and pure stuff may be similar to last year, the closer mentality that once got him the nickname “lights out” is just not there. When Lidge is on the mound, his lack of confidence is felt throughout the stadium he is playing in, and even through the television screen where fans like myself are nervously watching, waiting for another Lidge save to go down the drain.
With that said, loyalty is overrated when it comes to winning a world series, and it’s time for a change to be made.
Here are a couple other closer options that the Phillies should try out as the regular season winds down.
1. Tyler Walker: Former Giants closer has pitched well for the Phillies this season. Began the season as the closer for Triple-A Lehigh Valley before his promotion to Philadelphia.
2. Brett Myers: When Myers struggled in his role as a starter in 2007, the Phillies moved him to the bullpen, where in time he began to close. In his role as a closer, Myers thrived, saving over 20 games, and providing a level of consistency that helped the Phillies edge out the Mets in the 2007 NL East divisional race. While Myers it coming off of a potential season-ending hip injury, don’t be surprised if he gets a shot.
3. Ryan Madson: Madson has already gotten his shot this season, blowing two straight saves during his stint as a closer when Brad Lidge was on the disabled list. However, it’s undeniable that Madson has the best “closer” ability in the bullpen, as his upper 90’s fastball and filthy change-up gives him a leg-up on everybody else in the Phillies bullpen besides Lidge.
The Phillies could also try to go out and acquire someone (a-la Billy Wagner), although at this point of the season (7 games up in the NL East with five weeks to go in the regular season), it’s likely that the Phillies will look to stay in the organization for a possible replacement.
Where’s Ugueth Urbina when we need him?