Tonight the Philadelphia Phillies finally ended their four game losing streak, edging Washington by a 5 - 3 score. The victory was won even though mule-headed Charley Manual removed Brad Myers from the game and brought in Brad Lidge to pitch the ninth inning, just as he did 2 days ago against the Houston Astros. And once again, Lidge fell apart on the mound. Before you could run to the kitchen for another beer, Lidge loaded the bases with 3 mediocre hitters. Of course Washington's next two scheduled batters were Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn - their two BEST sluggers. Then the great genius decided that maybe "HIS CLOSER" really wasn't up to it tonight and that he would try someone else rather than see Lidge let the runners score on a few more of his wild pitches. That someone turned out to be Ryan Madson - who had not enjoyed much success this year when he had tried to fill in for Lidge as the "Closer". But this time, Madson pitched like Brad Lidge pitched last year. He struck out Zimmerman and got Dunn on a ground ball, preserving the win for Pedro Martinez.
Martinez pitched fairly well for the aging veteran he is, surrendering 3 runs in six and two-thirds innings. Brad Myers took over and threw very well, showing a real sharp breaking curve ball and a moving fastball - he even got one National on a nasty split. As a former starter AND reliever, Myers knows how to pitch more than one and one-third innings. His stuff was good tonight. I really thought he should have been allowed to stay in the game - especially when you consider that the Phillies have NOT had a reliable "Closer" all season! But that stubborn Charley Manual sent in Matt Stairs (now ZERO for his last THIRTY at bats) to hit for Myers with 2 outs in the Phillies ninth. Then, instead of bringing in Madson or some other pitcher with at least some chance of blanking the Nationals for three more outs, he brought in Lidge yet again. After seeing Lidge give up a line drive single, a hard-hit ground-out (lucky it was hit right at the fielder), a hit batter, a wild pitch (and three more that Ruiz stopped from being wild pitches), and then a walk to load the bases, someone in the dugout must have told Charley to stop being such an ignoramus and to take Lidge out. So, Charley finally did take him out. He left such a mess for Madson, but Madson had his really good stuff tonight. He was as good as Lidge has been bad. Lucky for the Phillies.
Charley Manual is very stubborn. When he gets a notion in his thick head, it is hard to change his mind. Lidge being the "Closer" is the prime example of this. Another example is his insistence on having Matt Stairs be his primary late inning pinch-hitter. The man has had a nice career but he's ZERO for THIRTY for heaven's sake. How about giving someone else a chance to be the hero? Maybe that rookie Mayberry, for example, would be the long-ball threat that Matt Stairs used to be.
I root hard for the Phillies and I want them to win. I've said before that I believe the success of the TEAM should come first. Charley Manual is supposed to be a HITTING expert. Maybe he is, but the Phillies have not been getting on base lately and their team batting average has declined... I'll tell you this, I really don't agree with the way Charley Manual handles the PITCHING. He has got to change his stubborn ways and try some new ideas and approaches. If he won't, then he may have to try that state of life called retirement...