My fears came to fruition in Game Four of the World Series against the Bronx Bombers. Lidge surrendered three runs as the Phils went onto lose 7-4 a half an inning after they tied the game at four. That game was crucial.
If the Phillies win that game, the series is tied at 2-2. Anything can happen. Instead, New York took a commanding 3-1 lead and went on to win in six games.
While a lot of things went wrong against the Yankees and even that inning, Lidge played his role in losing the Fall Classic.
Lidge will have surgery on his elbows, and might be ready for Spring Training; however, who says he should be automatically handed the closer's role? I'm not.
Any closer who blows 11 saves in 33 opportunities, has a 0-8 record and a 7.21 ERA doesn't deserve any kind of security. Charlie Manuel is a loyal man, but sometimes loyalty ultimately costs you championships.
Enter Ryan Madson.
Madson has been one of the better set-up guys in baseball the past two years, and has developed a 97 mph fastball to go along with one of the better changeups in the league among relievers.
Madson could be a very capable ninth inning hurler because he certainly has the stuff to handle the job, and I believe that he has the mental makeup to do so too if he knows he is the closer
The 29-year-old righty had 26 holds, 10 saves, 78 strikeouts and a 3.26 ERA in 77-1/3 innings. He was 10-for-16 in save situations. He was 1-3 in save situations with a 3.48 ERA, and 14 strikeouts in 10-1/3 innings. .
The Phillies played musical roles with him a few years ago, yanking him from the bullpen into the rotation and back. He was shaky at best as a reliever and a starter when he didn't know what he was.
Then, in 2008, Madson knew that he was going to be the eighth inning guy; that he was going to be the guy that gets to Lidge. We called him the "Bridge to Lidge," but that was when Mr. Perfect was on his A game.
If you think that Madson doesn't want to be a closer someday, you're crazy. Every reliever wants to be the guy that his club turns to when the game is on the line.
For me, I don't think Lidge deserves anything for 2010. He pitched terrible, and blew a lot of games and a big one in the postseason. Madson deserves, and should get a chance to become the Phils' closer.
What's the harm having an open competition? It can't possibly hurt, can it?
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