Fire Eric Bruntlett

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Let’s play a game…

It’s called “The Devil’s Advocate.” It’s a very simple game to play. I’ll even be The Devil’s Advocate. You don’t have to do much at all to play. All you have to do is read my opinions and give your own in the comments after you are done reading. In this edition of the game, we discuss Brad Lidge and the Phillies’ closer situation.

Basically, you can go to any Phillies or Philly-centric blog and read hate spewed all over Lidge. Read the posts, read the comments, read the hate. Of course, everyone else’s comments are [sic]’d for highest stupidity.

By the way, the entire idea for this post came after I read the game recap on The Fightins. Of course, I decided to call myself “The Devil’s Advocate,” linking here, because the point of my comment was to question everyone else’s beliefs that we need to find a different closer. (I’ll explain my thoughts shortly.)

Over at The 700 Level, read all comments after 6:58 PM for ridiculous knee-jerk reactions and this piece of commenting gold from a guy calling himself Johnny Nas: “trade him for Smoltz.”

On Phinally Philly, Foley also suggested that he either demote (to the minors or a different bullpen role) or DL. He specifically pointed out, “Not Madson,” and said that Myers could potentially be interesting, but didn’t mention any possible replacements.

The Good Phight echoed Foley’s ideas about what to do with Lidge, but again, didn’t mention who would and would not work in the role.

At Phillies Nation, the commenters are once again sick of The Brad Lidge experiment. The following comment takes the cake for Comment of the Post, and honestly, I only needed to read 5 to decide that: “Admittedly, I haven’t been following the Phil closely this season. So can someone explain to me how a major league closer gets an era over 7 with 43 ip by August? Is he the owner’s son? Is he dating the gm’s daughter? How in the world do you fans put up with this?” Fittingly, the comment was from “dodger fan.” I would call him “not-a-baseball fan,” for apparently not being able to understand how Lidge is still on the roster. It’s called 2008, sir. It wants to know why you don’t remember it.

Carson from We Should Be GM’s wrote a post that wasn’t about Brad Lidge sucking. (Sarcasm very much intended.) But he also expressed a lot of disgust in Rollins’ lack of patience and the Phillies’ sudden and unexpected lack of a bench. I don’t know, maybe he’s just angry.

Crashburn Alley still stands by Madson as our #1 closer option, as of now, with Chan Ho Park as his #2.

In what easily wins the award for “The Most Knee-Jerking By Commenters in a Brad Lidge Post,” Beerleaguer‘s are either the stupidest, the craziest, or the best at hiding their sarcasm.

Finally, to wrap up the “first half,” the linkage of this post, if you will, of this post, Mike on the Phils also said that Lidge can no longer be the closer, but provided a very surprising suggestion: “The Phillies can get by with Jamie Moyer as the 5th starter this season, but they can’t get by with Brad Lidge as the closer.  Give Pedro a shot.”

Now for the part of this post where I actually give my opinions on this topic, after the jump, of course…

This will mostly be reiterating what I’ve commented at some of the aforementioned blogs. And making fun of those who disagree with me. I must say, a lot of the people who want Lidge out of the job all just sound like Alec Baldwin, and they don’t want Lidge to have any coffee. (By the way, please someone try to convince me that, despite the shortness of the role, that the speech is not among the Top 5 speeches in movie history. Intense, inspirational, sarcastic, attention-grabbing… all the makings of an amazing movie speech.)

Let’s start from the beginning. As I said earlier, this whole idea stemmed from me reading the comments on The Fightins and Beerleaguer, but I only commented on The Fightins, so we’ll focus on that. This is mostly just a cut-and-paste from what I wrote there, so if you already read it, well, read it again.

Dash Treyhorn, who writes the game recaps for The Fightins, said that this loss was particularly tough to pin down solely on Lidge, seeing as that the offense and defense both came up small. The readers didn’t seem to agree. Some choice words:

“Lidge can’t keep on closing. I don’t know what the answer is, but if Charlie keeps sticking with him, maybe Charlie’s the one who has to go. Maybe Brad has pics of Charlie cross dressing and is blackmailing him.” ~ Lebowski

“They did play awful, but Lidge did too. I can’t wait for Brett “Jesus” Myers to return. I think he’d make a good closer.” ~ Griswold

“Lidge has 8 blown saves. How many more excuses are we going to make for him. Excuses are for losers. Lidge needs to be sent to the minors to get his head fixed. NOW!!!!!” ~ DeanH

“seriously he has to think about the team and go to the minors for a few weeks like brett myers did last year. he put the team first and came back completely rejuvenated and ended up being a very important part in september and october” ~ Tom

Here’s where I come in. I posted my first comment fully expecting to get hate back. But I also fully believe what I wrote. I want Lidge to keep the job, not because he’s been anything close to good this season, but because he’s all we’ve got.

“Okay, so Cholly takes Lidge out of the closer role. Who’s the new closer? Where does he put him?
So, you want Myers as the closer? We tried that experiment before. That’s why we turned him back into a starter. Also, he ain’t back yet. And he ain’t gonna be back for a while. You hear about his setback, getting hit in the eye while playing catch with his son? So, who’s the closer until he gets back? Madson? Nope. Been there, failed that when Lidge hit the DL. Anyone else in the bullpen with significant closer experience? None. So who?
Then you say that you want him to accept an option to go down to the minors like Myers did last year. There’s no saying he would want to do that. Like I said, he would have to accept it. It’s his choice. Plus he’s an All-Star. He was perfect last season. Not a single blown save. Let’s say, hypothetically, he doesn’t blow another save the rest of the season, for whatever reason. We take half of his blown saves from this year, and move them to last year. That’s 4 blown saves in 2008, 4 in 2009. It’s still 8 so far in his Phillies career. The Phils won the East last year by exactly 3 games. Who knows if they lose his hypothetical blown saves last year or not. Who knows if they still hypothetically win the division. I do know this: in his 8 blown saves this season, the team is 3-5.
I feel that as lucky as Lidge was in his saves last season (remember the game when they clinched the NL East last season, anyone?) is how unlucky Lidge has seemed in his blown saves this season. It seems that in each one of them, there was always another seeing-eye or bloop single, or bad error by the defense, or awful call by the umpires, or terrible clutch hitting by the offense that contributed more to the blown save/loss than Lidge actually did.”

Again, like I said, I fully expected to get a lot of hate and backlash thrown back at me, but I expected it to smart, well-thought out hate. I expected good arguments to be made against mine. But it wasn’t. Instead I got hate thrown at me, from (if it’s the same guy) is among the most-hated Fightins commenter. From “harry”…

“so much stupid in the comment section…

why do people think madson failed in the closer role? what did he have, a whole week to prove himself? there is this thing called sample size. madson is the teams best reliever right now and he should be the closer. lidge is obviously picture injured – his decreased strikeout rate and problem with command would indicate so.

and re: myers, yeah, he was punched in the face”

Naturally, I fired back at him. I’ll wait to back up my comments, so that I can make harry look like as big an idiot as possible. I said,

There are also these things called stats. People like to use ‘em when talknig about sports. This is what the “stats” told me:
In 9 appearances while Lidge was DL’ed (9 IP), he gave up 5 runs (ERA: 5.00), 11 hits, 4 walks (WHIP: 1.60), 3 homers, and struck out 10. He also threw just over 18.5 pitches per inning and faced 4.66 batters per inning. He was 0-2, earning two saves and blowing two saves. The Phils were 4-5 in his appearances, and he raised his ERA 66 points and his WHIP 15 points.
And don’t you think Lidge would’ve gotten healthy again after being DL’ed the first time?”

Then he just becomes even more of an idiot. I didn’t even think that was possible for him.

“@The Devil’s Advocate

1. Yeah, there are those things called stats, it’s just too bad you don’t which ones to use.

2. I’m glad you’re able to conclude Madson isn’t a good closer after only 9 innings of work. Again, there is something called sample size.

3. I hope you or anyone doesn’t think that pitching in the 9th is any different from pitching in the 8th or 7th. Pitchers pitch about the same in any inning, there have been studies conducted proving this.

4. No, I don’t think Lidge is healthy. He said he wasn’t injured to start the season and then all of a sudden he was on the 15 day DL.

4. One more time – Madson is the team’s best reliever and should be closing.”

Rightfully, I called him out for that.


1. Learn to count.

2. Learn proper grammar.

Okay, fine. I’ll use actual criticisms on your inexplicable Madson man-love:

1. Which ones did you want me to use? The ones that count how many times you’ve fucked Madson?

2. There is absolutely no reason to think that he will do any better in the closer role now than he did before. Even in those 9 innings, he lost us 3 games.

3. So, there’s no more pressure on a reliever in the 9th, when the team is 3 outs from winning, than in the 7th or 8th? I’d disagree. But I guess if studies have proved it, it has to be true. Also, “about” = scientific vocabulary.

4. No, he went on the DL because he was awful up until that point.

4. (5?) Again – not a fucking chance in hell I want to put our close games in the hands of Madson. I’d rather trust Beardo with the ball in the 9th.”

I also posted my Closer Rankings – who I’d want to close for the Phillies.

“My ‘Who I Want to Close’ Rankings:


Han Cho
Beardo’s beard creatures
Adam Eaton
Billy Fucking Wagner”

“I was going to type up a long winded retort, but then it dawned on me that it probably isn’t best to waste my time arguing with someone who thinks Chan Ho Park is a better option than Madson. Okay, maybe just one point…

‘2. There is absolutely no reason to think that he will do any better in the closer role now than he did before. Even in those 9 innings, he lost us 3 games.’

No reason? How about his +146 ERA this season you hope. For the third time, there is this thing called SAMPLE SIZE. You can’t conclude that he isn’t a viable closer after only two weeks of work. He is this teams best reliever, get a clue.”

Trust me, I’m glad you didn’t type a long-winded retort. No reason for me to waste my energy arguing with someone as stupid as you.


The fuck is a +146 ERA?

“How about his +146 ERA this season you hope.”


He is the team’s best reliever, yes. But only when he’s not closing. Fine. If you want Madson to be the closer, then he can be the closer. But you need to let all of us shit in your mouth when he starts sucking again.”

By the way, I looked up ERA+, or adjusted ERA, it’s the most confusing fucking stat I’ve ever seen. Here is its Wikipedia page, and here’s a Yahoo! Answers question about it. If you know what it means, please explain it to me. What’s the home park factor? Why would anyone want to use it?

In any case, the best reliever is not always the closer. The best pitcher fit for the closer’s job should always be the closer. This is the list of Phillies who have had successful closer experience: Brad Lidge, Brett Myers. From that list, this is the list of Phillies who are not still on the DL: Brad Lidge.

For my last thoughts on this topic, let me hand it back over to Alec Baldwin… (Sorry, the stupid embed codes don’t work.)

The coffee joke from earlier…

And finally, the whole video…



August 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. My response:

    Comment by Bill B. | August 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. I don’t know that the Phillies have any other closing options other than Lidge. However, Madson is absolutely not the solution.

    I don’t know what the answer is.

    Comment by Jonathan Atwood | August 19, 2009 | Reply

  3. I think Myers is really the only Lidge alternative in this situation, he was certainly more than serviceable in that role before. It’s definitely a tough call but I think you have to stick with Lidge. Here’s hoping he works on his damn location and stops throwing 0-2 fastballs over the middle…

    Comment by estebomb | August 20, 2009 | Reply

  4. […] demote him, put him on waivers, or even release him. Allow me to reiterate my comments from my previous Lidge rant. What has changed since then that makes anyone else in the bullpen anymore of a reliable closer? […]

    Pingback by The Devil’s Advocate II: The Sequel « Fire Eric Bruntlett | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. […] a lot of talk about replacing Brad Lidge in the closer role for the Phils in recent weeks (Max has written about this extensively).  Well it’s time that I put my two cents due to my importance in the […]

    Pingback by Closing Time « Fire Eric Bruntlett | October 9, 2009 | Reply

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