Thursday, September 24, 2009

More heartbreak from Lidge

We wanted to talk this morning in the blog about Michael Vick, and Andy Reid’s foolish charade yesterday that he had not yet decided if Vick will play on Sunday. Yeah, right.

But the truth of the matter is we have bigger fish to fry. Or I suppose that should be the Fish frying the Phils, or at least their bullpen.

When we lapsed into a coma last night, the Phils were comfortably ahead of the Marlins as a deluge descended on Land Shark Stadium.

The few fans who were there – aside from all the Phillies fans who had invaded South Florida – took cover. The sensible ones went home.

Too bad the umps didn’t decide to do the same. After a 45-minute rain delay, play resumed in the eighth inning. What happened next was even less pretty than the weather.

The Phils had gone out to a 6-3 lead in the seventh, powered by Ryan Howard’s two-run homer, his 42nd on the year.

But Cole Hamels got nicked for a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-4. Ryan Madson got touched for a run in the eighth, and you just had a bad feeling what was coming next.

Yep, Manager Charlie Manuel summoned Brad Lidge for the ninth, with the Phils clinging to a 6-5 lead.

Voila, another killer loss as Lidge surrendered his league-high 11th blown save. The Phils’ magic number remains 5, in large part because the magic Lidge showed last year in running the table with a perfect
48-for-48 in save situations has escaped him this year.

He’s been consistently inconsistent. The result too often has been what happened last night.

Exactly where Manuel goes from here no one is quite sure. Madson doesn’t seem to be suited for the closer role. Chan Ho Park and Brett Myers are both hurting. J.A. Happ, who is starting tonight, might get a shot at it. Even Pedro Martinez could get a look.

One thing is clear. It is becoming increasingly obvious that this is not Lidge’s year. As has been his habit over his career, he is following a great year with a sub-par one.

Right now the Phils can’t really afford to keep running him out there.
Unfortunately, Manuel doesn’t have a lot of options.

It might be the story of this season. Call it Heartbreak Lidge.

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