Although there was much excitement over the return of Brad Lidge to the active roster, he did not make an appearance last night due to a phenomenal outing from Cole Hamels and a shut down ninth from Ryan Madson.
The bigger question that this raises is whether or not Madson will remain as the full-time closer instead of Antonio Bastardo.
All signs point to yes. Charlie Manuel had said that Madson would return to close after his rehab, and that is what seems to be happening if last night is any indication.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, Charlie Manuel had this to say about his overload of closers:
"We’ve got two good guys right now. That’s a good problem to have. I don’t mind those problems. We’ll see where it goes. We’ve got confidence in both. I’m not afraid to use them at any point in the game."
He is right, it is great to have a very solid right-handed and left-handed pitcher to come out of the bullpen and be able to pitch at the end of the game.
Even if Bastardo is not pitching the ninth inning, he is going to be extremely valuable for the Phillies throughout the final push.
Who should be the closer?
Also, being left-handed and not the closer could allow Charlie Manuel to use him whenever they need to get out some big left-handed bat.
The Phillies want to use him as more than just a one out left-handed specialist, but without being locked into the ninth inning, Manuel could have more flexibility to use Bastardo when they need those left-handed outs.
I think that Madson will continue the success that he had been having earlier this season as the closer.
He has a 2.08 ERA and has gotten 16 saves in 17 opportunities. Maybe he has finally been able to tack down that closer's role successfully.
If he has, he will have quite a payday this off-season.