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When the Spotlight’s On…

The Phillies closer situation is very much in limbo right now. If the Phillies have a 3 run lead or less going into their defensive half of the 9th inning, its anyone’s guess as to who is going to be coming into the game. Four nights ago it was Brad Lidge, but once he loaded the bases Uncle Cholly did the unthinkable and pulled Lidge out. He brought in Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson and the following night, he went to Madson as well.

After the game Charlie hinted to his “Closer by committee” theory, and that he didn’t care who it was in the role as long as they got the win. However, this theory can’t stand if the Phillies want any chance at winning the World Series again.

Last year’s playoff success was due to that amazing bullpen and that each person had a role and succeeded in their role. If the starters struggled is wasn’t that big of a deal. No starter needed to go longer than 6 innings because Romero, Madson, and Lidge each pitched awesomely. The Phillies were able to “shorten the game.” Basically the opposition had 6 innings to take the lead and hold it or they were in for a loss. It was no wonder the Phillies only lost 3 games in the whole 2008 playoffs. But if they want to be back- to-back World Fucking Champions, they are going to have to figure out this closer thing once and for all.

Now, my name is Tommy Weida. I have been a Philadelphia Phillies fans for all of my 23 years of existance. I have sat through closers like Mitch Williams, Heathcliff Slocumb, and Jose Mesa. (Side bar story: I once had Heathcliff Slocumb’s autograph. My dad took me to get it when he came to the area. I loved that thing. I had little baseball display case for it and everything. Then, like 2 weeks after I got it, I must have left it on my bed before going to school in the morning and my dog, Tigger, chewed the ball up. The autograph was ruined. I guess I own the smartest dog in the world. Okay, back to the blog).

I was excited when the Phillies got Billy Wagner and I saw his first save as a Phillie live. He hit 99 mph twice in a row. His 3rd pitch only went 98. This cool old guy in front of me turned around and said, “he must have thrown the change-up.” I was not quite as excited when the Phillies got Lidge, but he quickly proved me wrong.

So what’s my proposed solution to the closer situation? Well let me tell you:

This is MY ideal playoff set up. A four man rotation of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, and right now its a toss up between Martinez and Blanton. As of this moment, I would go with Martinez, but I feel really uncomfortable writing off Blanton, a man I have could argue should have won the 2008 World Series MVP. So whoever loses out will join Moyer, Condrey, Durbin, Park, Eyre, Romero, Madson, Myers and Lidge in the bullpen. I wrote that list in no particular order so don’t think I did.

Moyer, Condrey, Durbin, Park and the loser of the Blanton/Martinez battle will be the mop up guys. you know, the guys that come in the game when down or up by 5 or more runs. If the starter goes 6 innings and the pressure is on in a close game, I’d go with J.C. Romero in the 7th. He held that role last year and did a great job at it. In the 8th I would go with the pairing of Madson/Lidge. They would be used based on matchups with whoever was coming up to bat.

So if you have been keeping track, I have left out two guys. I’m gonna start with Scott Eyre. He hold a very crucial position in the bullpen; left-handed specialist. He’s there to get those tough left handed batters out. He’s earned that position and can be used pretty much anywhere between the 7th and 8th inning.

So now there is one guy left that I haven’t mentioned; Brett Myers. Yes folks, he is my choice for closer. If there is anyone in that bullpen that is only fueled by adrenaline, it’s Brett Myers. no one will get more energy from the spotlight. He’s done it before, and he’s succeeded. Is his hip good enough? Come October, that won’t matter. It won’t effect him once the spotlight is on. Kind of like the old lady lifting the car.

I love Lidge, and thank him for everything he did for us last year, but its clear to see that he just doesn’t have it this year. It is just like it happened to him in Houston, only this time he didn’t give up a monster home run to Pujols. I still feel he can greatly help this team, just so long as he’s not the last line of defense.

So this is how I feel about the closer role. I’m not sure if this is how it will shake up, but one thing I do know is that Charlie needs to set up for the post season and ditch the “closer by committee” theory. It was great to see Uncle Cholly prove he has balls when he pulled Lidge the other night. Now he needs to go one step further and finalize a bullpen without Lidge as the closer.

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September 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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