There was one storyline that caught my attention, however, as I tuned into this game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Cardinals went down 1-2-3, sending the game into the top of the ninth with the Phillies holding a three-run lead. Entering the ninth, this game was in a save situation, so Phillies closer Brad Lidge began to warm up in the bullpen.
In the top of the ninth, however, the Phillies tagged on another run, making it a 10-6 game and no longer a save situation.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel followed the thought pattern of most managers in this situation: My closer is already warmed up, and even though this isn’t a save situation anymore he can go ahead and close this game out.
Manuel forgot one minor detail in his decision to send Lidge to the mound: the first batter due up in the bottom of the ninth was Albert Pujols.
Yes, that Albert Pujols. The guy who wrecked two years of Brad Lidge’s career with one swing.
Here is the play-by-play from the Cardinals ninth inning:
- B. Lidge relieved R. Madson
- A. Pujols homered to deep left
Brad Lidge’s second pitch was a belt-high 94 mph four-seam-fastball right over the heart of the plate that Albert Pujols delivered to a fan sitting in Section 346, Row ZZ, Seat 9.
Translation: it went somewhere far, far away.
Well played, Charlie Manuel…
All I am saying is that if your team is in a non-save situation and the next batter up is your closer’s personal home-wrecker/life-wrecker/career-wrecker, sit the kid down!
Regardless of a boring game, I found it entertaining to take a stroll down memory lane and watch Brad Lidge give himself whiplash watching a pitch sail towards Neverland in the left field bleachers.
Despite Albert Pujols’ home run being an "A-Rod Home Run" (meaning that it was hit in the ninth inning when his team was either down a lot or up a lot and helped the team in no way whatsoever), it was a no-doubter off the bat and Brad Lidge’s face as he watched it fly away was simply priceless.
If Brad Lidge blows eight of his next 10 save opportunities and is removed from the closer role I’ll know why, and I’ll blame Charlie Manuel…