The Curious Case Of Brad Lidge

Joseph MintzerContributor IAugust 26, 2009

"The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season!" Harry Kalas

Brad was on top of the world. Perfection. It's hard to believe that just a season ago Brad Lidge was one of the best if not the best closer in baseball. His blow-it-by-you fastball and his deadly slider frustrated countless batters all year.

No Phillies fan will ever forget watching Hinske swinging over Lidge's slider. The championship drought was over. The Phillies were champions and they owed it to Brad Lidge. Perfect. Perfect.

Fast-foward a few months and Brad Lidge is leading the MLB in blown saves. I didn't think Lidge would repeat his stellar 2008 season, but this never even crossed my mind. I expected him to have around 2-5 blown saves, but nine? If you had tried to tell this to me during spring training, I would have laughed in your face.

How could this happen? Last year Brad Lidge gave up 15 earned runs the whole year. This season is not yet complete, but Lidge has already given up over double last year's total with 35. Last year Brad had an ERA of 1.95. This year, his ERA is 7.33. That is frightening.

This is in no way a small issue. This problem has to be fixed before the postseason. You cannot win without a closer. Ask the Mets.

The Phils have experimented with this problem during the season. Ryan Madson was the closer while Lidge was injured, but that didn't work out all too well.

Clay Condrey and J.C. Romero have both pitched bullpen sessions this week. I would like J.C. to stay where he is though. Condrey probably wouldn't be the best option for closer (1 save in 2 opprutunities), but the Phils have to keep an open mind. One of them could possibly take Lidge's spot. If his never-ending slump continues, something must, not should be changed.

Which brings me to Brett Myers. I think Brett will be the closer by the end of the year. In 2007, Brett Myers was the opening day starter, and he threw the last pitch of the regular the closer. He had 21 saves in 24 opprutunities, pretty goodfor a former starter.

Myers ended up being a starter again in 2008. He had an up and down season, finishing with a 10-13 record and a 4.55 ERA. Unfortunately, Brett was injured early in the 2009 season.

The stars have pretty much aligned for Brett to make a comeback. A former closer coming back to his team while their current closer is struggling. That's luck.

Lidge's terrible play can't be excused anymore. The Phillies have to make Myers the closer. Brad has left them no choice.