Brad Lidge has put together back-to-back memorable seasons over the last two years but we're sure he'd like to forget the most recent one.
2008 was perfection;2009 isn't!. For his major league leading eleventh time, Brad Lidge blew a save last night, turning a certain Phillies victory into another crushing defeat as the Marlins scored two runs in the ninth inning to take two of three games in the series. With the loss and blown save Lidge has now directly contributed to or been solely responsible for nearly 20% of the team's losses this season.
We've all heard Lidge, his pitching coach or his manager speak optimistically every time the Phils closer seems to have regained his 2008 form only to watch a debacle like last night throw cold water on the situation. The truth is, sports fans, he's lost "it". Whatever precisely "it" is that closers possess, and surely one thing is the ability to stop the opposition in its tracks, Lidge no longer has it in sufficient quantity. The harsher truth is, there isn't anyone else the Phillies can turn to. As if we needed further reminder that Ryan Madson isn't the answer, Madson gave up a run in the eighth inning preceding Lidge's meltdown. Madson opened the door; Lidge invited the Marlins to stay.
At this point no one, especially the other eight guys on the field at the time, wants to see Charlie Manuel hand the ball to Lidge. Frankly, I'd bring in Clay Condrey or Sergio Escalona. What, you ask? To which I'd reply, "What, they are going to do worse than Lidge?" Just tell them it's the seventh inning. After all, that's about as far as the bullpen fears to tread anyway.
Talk about squaring into shape as the season winds down.