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Philadelphia Phillies: Lidge Needs to Be Closer to Not Being The Closer

PHOENIX - JULY 28:  Relief pitcher Brad Lidge #54 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on July 28, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 4-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Claire ReclosadoSenior Analyst ISeptember 26, 2009

The Philadelphia Phillies have been a focal point for many reasons—they are the reigning World Series champions, they are on pace to win the NL East, and they have a menacing lineup, just to name a few.

Within that jovial clubhouse, one would find an assorted cast of characters. There are jokers, superstars, leaders, and perfectionists.

Phillies manager Charlie Manual has that country charm, that candid disposition, and boy is he fiercely loyal. His unwavering loyalty has been on display all season as he has continued to keep a struggling Brad Lidge in as closer while he leads the Major Leagues in blown saves with 11.

It’s understandable that Manual, a player’s manager, would want to show his closer trust that Lidge will pull out of the funk. “Lights Out” Lidge is in there, and good ol’ Chollie has been holding steadfast to the belief that the perfect closer from the 2008 season will resurface.

But when does one say, “enough is enough”?

While the Phillies flaunt a potent offense, it is not feasible to depend on the bats erupting against every opponent they face. Fans can wish, hope, and pray for Philadelphia to score 15 runs on a nightly basis, but it’s just not going to happen.

What has been happening is the once-untouchable Lidge has been unreliable. With every appearance, memories of his impact on the 2008 championship season becomes diminished—instead fans’ groans amplified by rattled nerves take their place.

The Phillies can’t afford to wait any longer. Patience is one thing, foolishness is another. Lidge may be psychologically affected if he loses his job, but what have all these blown saves done for the entire team’s psyche?

The 2009 playoffs is not the stage to watch it play out. The star’s spotlight has burned out: It’s time to bring in the understudy.

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