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Will This NL East Division Clinching Happen Already?

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst ISeptember 24, 2009

SAN DIEGO - 1986:  Steve Bedrosian #40 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers the pitch during the 1986 season MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I am tired of putting Brad Lidge's picture at the top of my stories, so I reached down to just beyond recent memory to give an answer (LOL) to the quagmire that the Philadelphia Phillies closer situation has become.

This Phillies pitcher, shown at right, won the Cy Young Award in 1987, when he recorded 40 saves, went 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA. This pitcher had 184 career saves.

Who is he? I know, but I wonder if anyone know who he is or what the answer is to the Phillies back end of the bullpen. And can this guy come out of retirement?

I don't think Phillies manager Charlie Manuel knows. Listen to his comments in Thursday, Sept. 24 Philadelphia Daily News story by David Murphy:

"Him and Madson, that's what we've got in the back end of the bullpen right now," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's struggling. At the same time, it's hard for us to close a game out. It's tough. It's kind of what we've got. I mean, I've got confidence in him. I keep running him out there. Hopefully he does the job. I pull like hell for him every time he goes out there, believe me."

What? What the heck is Charlie talking about? Later in the story he said that the percentage of games are won when a team has a lead in the eighth and ninth inning, they should win a high percentage of games.

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Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

He is frustrated just like the rest of us. He witnessed the Phillies bullpen blow a 6-4 lead in the eighth inning, with Ryan Madson giving up one run and Brad Lidge blowing the save and with two outs, allow the winning run to score in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 loss.

The magic number sits at four for the Marlins and five for the Braves.

The Phillies play four in Milwaukee, then head home for three with the Astros and four with the Marlins at home.

They, as a team, have to put this loss behind them and finish off the Brewers.

Because right now, they went 3-3 against their closest division rivals, not a formula to close things out. They did reduce the number by one against the Braves and two against the Marlins during their past six games.

Historically, the team that wins its division early is swept out of the playoffs.

The Phillies have to get healthy, in their pitching staff especially, and get the bats going.

Last night, before the ninth inning washout, I was pleased by the offensive production from the Phillies. Ryan Howard, with his two-run home run sits at 130 RBI, one behind the Brewers' Prince Fielder for the National League RBI lead.

My solution?

Just like Rickie Bottalico said on Phillies postgame on Comcastsportsnet: You have to make the change now and the change is Ryan Madson.

Done. Forget it. End of conversion.

Brad Lidge, with 11 blown saves this season, should not touch the ball until the Phillies clinch the NL East.

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