In 2008 it was a whole different story. Brad Lidge lived up to that nickname of "lights out." He finished the 2008 year going a perfect 48-48 in saves. In 78 2/3 IP he had an amazing 105 strike outs. His slider dropped like the economy and no one could hit it. It was safe to leave CBP when you heard Drowning Pool's Soldiers come blaring through the speakers. Brad Lidge was the most dependable person I knew in 2008.
But 2009 is just a different story. It was obvious early on that something was wrong with Brad Lidge. He looked flustered and most saves he got, he sort of looked lucky to get through it. And then it happened. Brad went a perfect 54-54 until the Padres ended his streak. The fans gave Lidge a standing ovation and I for one thought he would still get back to the old Lidge.
Were now in August and he still hasn’t righted the ship. He blew his 8th save yesterday and the fan base is getting restless. I think everyone can agree at this point that Brad Lidge could very well be the downfall of the Phillies chances at a repeat. So what are some other options? I’ll go through three possibilities.
The first is currently a Cincinnati Red. Their current closer is Francisco Cordero. He is 25-1 this season in save opportunities with a 1.75 ERA. He has a lot of money left on his contract and he would need to clear waivers. If the Phillies were lucky they could have a shot at getting him. If they were too be open to picking up his entire contract the Reds would give him up for absolutely nothing. It appears evident that he will be put on waivers. It would be nice to see the Phillies sure up the bullpen with another established vet.
The second is currently rehabbing and just missed his first scheduled rehab start. Brett Myers is coming back from hip surgery and is reportedly ahead of schedule. He is primarily a starter but he was converted to a closer back in 2007. In 2007 he went 21-3 in save opportunities and supposedly "loved" the role. He loved it so much that it took him half a season to truly realize that he wasn’t going to be the closer in Philly anymore. This could possibly be a win win for the Phillies. Brett is gone after this year and the Phillies already have a crowded rotation. Brett would probably prefer to be a closer to a starter. If he is able to come back in September and be effective it could possibly vault him into a Type A free agent, and solve the problem in the pen.
The third and final one is risky. When Baseball America was compiling their list of the Phillies top 10 prospects back in 2007 Scott Mathieson was listed as their #5 prospect. When BA did their projected 2010 lineup guess who they had pegged to be the closer, that’s right Scott Mathieson. After his second Tommy John Surgery Mathieson is back and rehabbing in the minors. But instead of a starter the Phillies have put Mathieson in the pen. So far this season he has pitched for the GCL Phillies, Clearwater Threshers, and is currently at AA Reading. So far he has a combined .82 ERA this season with 22 IP only 2 ER and 21 K's. Hitters are just hitting .167 off him. I’ve heard reports he is hitting 97 and he picked up the win in game 1 of a double header yesterday.
All of these suggestions are long shots, Especially Mathieson. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that when September comes around Scott gets the call up. Hopefully Myers can add something to the mix as well. And more importantly I hope that Brad Lidge looks a little more "Lights Out" and not like the dimmer switch he’s been this season.