The lone clip from today's Philadelphia Phillies game I witnessed was Jayson Werth's go-ahead home run. I relied on text message alerts to fill me in on the rest.
Last year, I would have completely ignored any more updates, knowing there was no possibly way the Phillies could blow the game. In fact, not once did they blow a game in which they had the lead entering the ninth.
This season is a completely different story.
Brad Lidge, the hero of yesteryear, has turned into a complete nightmare.
So, back to earlier this evening.
I never received a message alerting me of the Braves tying the game. I still have yet to receive that message.
But the message notifying me of the final score? Yes, that one I did, unfortunately, receive.
I hadn't known whether Brad Lidge had entered the game. I had hope and prayed he hadn't, but was still unsure. Then my eyes scanned the rest of the message, only to find the losing pitcher was who I had feared it to be.
Brad Lidge had blown his eighth save of the season. Do the math, and you'll see that's eight more than in 2008 (8 - 0 = 8).
Any other closer in the league would have lost their job weeks ago. Not Lidge.
Somehow, the Phillies and a number of their fans continue to support him. Not I.
A professional baseball team can't win with a closer who blows a save every four opportunities. You can't be successful with a closer with an ERA above 7.00. It simply isn't possible.
A closer who has eight blown saves by mid-August shouldn't continue to hold his job. If he does, the only affect he will have on the team is a negative one.
So when does enough become enough? When does Charlie Manuel cease to believe removing Lidge is the wrong decision?
A manager having faith in his players is always a positive. Yet, in some cases, it reaches too far. The Brad Lidge situation resembles just that.
There won't be too many situations in the postseason where the Phillies won't have to worry about blowing games. Almost every game will come down to the wire.
If Brad Lidge is going to be relied on to hold onto the lead come October, the Phillies are in trouble.
The naysayers argue that there isn't a much more reliable replacement.
Pardon me, but is that a joke?
Whether it's Chan Ho Park, Brett Myers, or some other reliever, it's tough to imagine anyone could do worse than Lidge is right now.
Myers may not have been any more than an average closer in 2007, and his return from injury leaves questions to be answered. But it isn't very likely that he can be much worse than Lidge.
All I ask from the Phillies is to never see Brad Lidge enter a save situation for the remainder of 2009. I can't handle another blown save.
Maybe next year can play out a bit differently. It's possible that in the offseason he may be able correct what has been hampering his ability to pitch this season.
But for now, someone else deserves a shot to close out games.
Just don't make me sit through another agonizing outing from Brad Lidge.
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