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The Philadelphia Report: Phillies are More Than Open for Closer Suggestions

Ray TannockSenior Analyst ISeptember 11, 2009

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Brad Lidge #54 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a photo during Spring Training Photo day on February 20, 2009 at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Brad Lidge continues to struggle on the mound for the Phillies, and that doesn’t make for a good situation as the Phillies make their inevitable entrance into the postseason this year.

But to be honest this is par for the course for Lidge.

Historically, the past four years to be exact, Lidge has been a big up-and-down guy, which is probably one of several reasons why Houston traded him away.

As a member of the Houston Astros, 2005 and 2006 are the only back-to-back solid years in Lidge’s career. In that time, Lidge garnered 74 saves out of 84 opportunities while throwing 207 stikeouts and posting a 1.28 WHIP average despite a 5-9 overall record.

But 2006 started what has now become the wild roller-coaster ride Lidge has had to deal with.

In 2006 Lidge was 32 of 38 in saves.

In 2007 he went 19 for 27.

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Last year of course, was the highlight of his career going 41 of 41, while this year seems to be the low point of his career posting a dismal 28 of 38.

It is clear that Lidge just doesn’t have it, despite the fact he truly DOES have the right stuff. His slider is one of the meanest a batter can face.

His command over his fastball, however, has been less than desirable. Without that type of command, a closer just can’t be effective.

But September is the gateway to the postseason, and the Phillies have to act now if they are to put this fire under control and have a legitimate shot at a repeat.

They have some options they can entertain, but when they do, it will be crucial.

Jamie Moyer was put on the shelf earlier this year, and although he hasn’t liked it, it seems fitting for the old sage; one option the Phils can explore.

Moyer has a great repertoire of off-speed pitches that work effectively against most hitters but he doesn’t have a lot of speed. Moyer could make a good closer fit against specific teams but not an overall replacement.

Brett Myers is the other main option I like; one that the Phillies could go to in the coming weeks. His recovery has been going well and it doesn’t seem like he has lost a step.

Myers has been itching to get back in some role for the club and with his slider ability, his sneaky curve, and a powerful and dominant fastball, Myers could be the patch the Phillies need.

This is not to say Lidge is done, but he has been battling some nagging injuries this year, which has obviously hurt his confidence level, so taking a breather for a while may work in his favor.

Lidge will not entirely get the axe, but if he continues to struggle, the Phillies will simply have to go with other options if they are to keep the dream of a repeat alive.

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