It is 10:30 P. M. Eastern time and I just watched the lowly Pirates come from behind against the World Champion Phillies and beat them. The stubborn manager of the Phillies - Charley Manual - has said over and over this season "Brad Lidge is my Closer". Yet again, his blind insistence on bringing Lidge into the ninth inning has cost the Phillies another victory. In my humble opinion, Charley has crossed the line between "Loyalty" to his player and just plain outright "Stupidity". I told my wife when the Phillies took a 4 to 3 lead in the top of the ninth, "If he brings in Lidge, he'll blow the game". Sure enough, Charley did it again!
Don't get me wrong; I like Brad Lidge and he did a wonderful job for the Phils in 2008. But this is 2009, Brad Lidge is a year older and - guess what? - he's HUMAN. He's having a TERRIBLE year. Anyone can have a bad year, and Lidge is absolutely terrible this year. Look at the numbers: his won-loss record is 0-6; he has blown 9 saves; his ERA is 7.33 (which I believe is the WORST of ANY Closer or Starter in MLB).
Charley Manual has several competent pitchers on his staff. He has a power-hitting team. He doesn't have to bring in Brad Lidge every time it's the ninth inning for God's sake! What in heaven's name is wrong with the Phillies Manager and General Manager Ruben Amaro? Don't they read the stats? Lidge can't do it this year. Whether his problem is physical or mental or both, the fact remains, he can't perform in 2009 like he did in 2008.
I believe pitchers are human beings, not automated robots. A competent manager will know when a pitcher is going well and stay with him. He will also know when the opposite is true. Stubbornly adhering to "I don't care how terrible he pitches, he's my closer!" isn't Loyalty to Brad anymore, it is STUPIDITY. Wake up Charley Manual and Ruben Amaro! Let some of the other staff take a shot at being closer. Or, if you like, have the "closer by committee" system. Brad Lidge is messed up big time. Let him pitch long relief or maybe even give hime some time off to clear his mind. I think he still can be of value in the future, but he is not helping the team now. A CHANGE IS CERTAINLY IN ORDER!