Tag:Brad Lidge
Posted on: November 4, 2009 10:00 am
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Hot Game 6 question: Who closes for Phillies?

NEW YORK -- Now clinging to their season by Pedro Martinez and a very creaky bullpen, one of the most pressing questions surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies heading into tonight's World Series Game 6 is this:

If the Phillies carry a slim lead into the ninth inning, does manager Charlie Manuel trust Brad Lidge to close it out?

"I don't want to sound like smart or nothing, [but I'm] probably going to use him the way I want to [depending on] when we get there and how I feel," Manuel said late Tuesday. "I'll do a lot of talking in the dugout with [pitching coach Rich] Dubee, and we'll decide on which one we want to put out there."

Lidge is either the Phillies closer or former closer, depending on how you read the tea leaves.

His struggles this season already well documented (he blew a major-league leading 11 save opportunities), the Good Lidge was 1-0 with three saves and no runs allowed in five postseason appearances before the Bad Lidge re-emerged in Game 4 of the World Series.

Looking to protect a 4-4 game in the ninth and give the Phillies a chance to win it Sunday, the Yankees scorched Lidge for three runs and tagged him with the loss.

Tellingly, Manuel summoned Ryan Madson to close Philadelphia's 8-6 Game 5 victory on Monday night, leaving Lidge in the pen.

Afterward, Manuel noted Lidge's high pitch count from the night before -- 30 -- as one reason he didn't use him.

On Tuesday's off day in New York -- the Phillies elected not to work out -- Manuel repeated that his still has confidence in Lidge.

"I sure do," Manuel said. "I think the only thing I'm trying to do with Brad Lidge is get him right. You know what, I'll always have confidence in him. He's got a lot of talent, and he proved that last year when he goes 48 for 48 in save situations. I've seen him work out of some tough jams. I've seen him go bases loaded, nobody out and get right out of it. ...

"I said last night, he is our closer, and basically what we're trying to do is get him as good as he was, or somewhere in between."

If the Phillies lead by a run or two or three heading into the ninth tonight, we'll find out whether Lidge is still the closer. He's had two days to rest after throwing those 30 pitches in a tough Game 4 loss.

He will be fresh.

Posted on: November 1, 2009 5:32 pm
 

Philadelphia: Sports Central, USA


PHILADELPHIA -- If you're a Philadelphia sports fan, this weekend is heaven. If you're a sports fan in Philadelphia, ditto.

And if you love rock and roll -- specifically for now, Pearl Jam -- then you're beside yourself with glee.

The only issue is traffic during what surely is a historic weekend at the city's Sports Complex -- a cluster of stadiums and arenas at the intersection of Broad St. and Pattison Ave., between downtown and the airport off of I-95. Over the four-day period between Friday and Monday, the area is bringing in a few hundred thousand fans.

The Phillies are hosting World Series games Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings in Citizens Bank Park.

The NFL's Eagles hosted the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, located across Pattison Ave. from the baseball park.

The NHL's Flyers host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Wachovia Center, located next to Lincoln Financial Field.

Meantime, Pearl Jam is closing the old Spectrum, which was the home to all of those great Dr. J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones 76ers' teams, with four concerts. The last two were Friday and Saturday nights.

"This is a heck of a place to be right now," Phillies closer Brad Lidge says.

All three World Series games are sold out, of course, as were the Eagles game on Sunday and the Pearl Jam concerts.

The Phillies' Raul Ibanez was among those in attendance at Friday's show. A friend of the Seattle-based band from his days playing for the Mariners, Ibanez received a shout out from the stage as Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder led the crowd in a "Raul!" cheer. (Pearl Jam owns Seattle Mariners season tickets in Safeco Field).

Lidge skipped the Friday night concert (the off night between Game 2 in New York and Game 3 in Philadelphia) but sure hated to.

"I wasn't able to go because I've got family in town," he said. "I wish I was there. They're one of my favorite bands.

"This is a great spot to be right now. Where else would you rather be?"

As for the sporting events, so far the results have been mixed. The Phillies were beaten by the Yankees in Game 3 on Saturday 8-5, blowing a 3-0 lead in the process.

The Eagles, though, crushed the Giants 40-17 on Sunday as a lead-in to Game 4 of the World Series.

Likes: The Daily Beast checking in with baseball's all-time all-star team of wives and girlfriends, playing off of the current Yankees' pairings of Alex Rodriguez and actress Kate Hudson and Derek Jeter and actress Minka Kelly. Check the Beast out here, it's a highly entertaining list. ... A couple of soul-cleansing runs through the streets of Philadelphia the past couple of days, down Ben Franklin Parkway, past the Philadelphia Art Museum and along the river down Kelly Dr. Great fall colors on the trees right now. ... The Philly Cheesesteak (with Whiz) sandwich for lunch today at the Reading Terminal marketplace. Great stuff. ... The Glee cast did a fine national anthem before Game 3. I'm still not much for the television show, but they were good. And they got one of the better receptions from the crowd that you'll see for a national anthem singer. ... Nice work by my Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons in winning their opening high school football playoff game Friday night, a 42-22 romp over Harper Woods. Well, eventually it was a romp, after SMCC allowed a 28-0 lead to become a 28-22 nailbiter by early in the fourth quarter. Next up: A victory Friday over Blissfield. ... Loved the extra hour's sleep Saturday night, hate the early darkness all winter.

Dislikes:
Starbucks should have an express line. Those of us who want a simple cup of coffee are stuck behind 12 people ordering overly dramatic drinks and wait far too long.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now we went walking in the rain
"Talking about the pain from the world we hid
"Now there ain't nobody nowhere nohow
"Gonna ever understand me the way you did
"Maybe you'll be out there on that road somewhere
"In some bus or train, traveling along
"In some motel room, there'll be a radio playing
"And you'll hear me sing this song
"Well if you do you'll know I'm thinking of you
"And all the miles in between
"And I'm just calling one last time
"Not to change your mind
"But just to say I miss you baby
"Good luck, goodbye"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Bobby Jean

Posted on: October 14, 2009 10:58 pm
 

Phillies: Pedro Martinez to start Game 2?

LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies and Crazy Like a Fox Manager Charlie Manuel are at it again.

They named only their Game 1 starter, Cole Hamels, on Wednesday for the NL Championship Series.

Manuel said he'd get back to everybody with further rotation details.

Last round, the Phils named only their first two starters, leaving everybody to guess on their Game 3 starter. J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton were the favorites, which made for a real interesting scenario when Manuel summoned each of them in relief in Game 2.

For the NLCS after Hamels ... based on his starting Monday in Colorado, Cliff Lee probably will pitch Game 3. Happ, who started Sunday in Denver, likely will pitch Game 4.

Which leaves Game 2 a mystery.

Pedro Martinez?

Joe Blanton?

Don't look now, but indications are that it could be Pedro.

Manuel said Wednesday that Blanton and Happ would be available out of the bullpen in the "first few games" of this series. Martinez, meantime, threw a simulated game Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Which means, adding two and two, you get ... Martinez as the Phillies' Game 2 starter?

"I'll say this about Blanton: I definitely look at Blanton as a starter," Manuel said a moment after confirming that Blanton would be available out of the bullpen in Game 1. "I told you before, he is the guy that can really set our bullpen up. In front of [Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson] ... give me some leverage in the back, if that makes sense.

"And I feel like he is that guy, ... with the mentality and the go get 'em and the grit and the desire and whatever you want to say."

Regarding Martinez, who has not pitched in a game since Sept. 30 and has thrown only seven innings since Sept. 13, Manuel said he was impressed with Pedro in Tuesday's simulated game.

"His stuff is there," Manuel said. "That speaks for itself. Tremendous, beautiful pitch. And therefore he gets back his command. In order for him to pitch good and win games, he's got to have good command."

Posted on: February 18, 2009 2:17 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2009 2:28 pm
 

Charlie Manuel and his piece of history

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Remember all the controversy over what happened to the baseball from the final out of Boston's historic World Series win over St. Louis in 2004? When first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz went home with the ball and the Red Sox kicked up a fuss about wanting it back?

No such bickering from the gracious and generous Philadelphia Phillies.

Closer Brad Lidge and catcher Carlos Ruiz combined on the final out, Lidge throwing strike three past Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske.

Then they presented it to manager Charlie Manuel.

"Carlos and I were talking about what we were going to do with the ball," Lidge says. "Carlos was gracious all year, giving me the last-out ball from all of my saves."

This time, he didn't. And the duo's decision was unanimous.

And any regrets from Lidge four months later?

"No, Charlie deserves it," he says.

The baseball, however, still remains in an undisclosed location.

"I've got it. Don't worry about it," Manuel says, chuckling. "I've got it."

Where?

"I don't want to make a big deal out of it like Mientkiewicz."

Why? Is the manager afraid someone might take it from him?

"No," he says, chuckling. "They can't find it."

Likes: I don't blame Tampa Bay one bit for holding pitcher Scott Kazmir out of the World Baseball Classic this spring. Sorry, but if I'm a club exec and I have even one iota of concern about a player, I everything I can to keep him out of the WBC. ... Love a couple of New York tabloid headlines today in the aftermath of the Alex Rodriguez press conference. From the New York Daily News: "Now Try Truth Serum." And from the New York Post: "We're With Stupid."

Dislikes: Are we all sick and tired of watching the 1,000th clip of the Alex Rodriguez press conference? We are? Let's all ignore it from here on out. Yeah, right, like that'll ever happen.

Sunblock Day: Yes, nice warm sun, but it's windy in Florida today, and the wind is carrying a bit of a chill. It's supposed to rain in these parts Thursday and drop the temps down to a high of 60 on Friday. Brrrr.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The lazy way they turned your head
"Into a rest stop for the dead
"And did it all in gold and blue and gray
"The efforts to allay your dread
"In spite of all you knew and said
"Were hard to see and harder still to say"

-- TV On The Radio, Halfway Home

 

Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:18 pm
 

Phillies: Less weight, and Hamels for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- You wouldn't know it by looking at their wallets -- Philadelphia's team payroll has ballooned to $131.5 million for 2009 -- but the world champion Phillies are lighter on their feet this spring.

Almost as soon as the Phillies' pitchers and catchers stepped onto the field here for their first workout, it was noticeable. Starter Brett Myers is significantly lighter from last year. Reliever Scott Eyre has dropped probably 10 pounds. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched at three different levels in the minors last year, has lost weight as he prepares to battle for a spot in 2009.

And hard at work scooping up ground balls on a different field, first baseman Ryan Howard, in early, has dropped 20 pounds, to 250 from 270.

"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we showed up in good shape."

Of course, it's one thing to show up in good shape and another to stay there, figuratively speaking, and the Phillies are about to find that out. No team since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees has repeated as World Series winners. The Phillies return nearly their entire team from '08, and Manuel thinks they have every chance to be even better. He told them as much, too, during his season-opening speech before they took the field.

"It was about winning and winning again," Manuel said. "I told them that's behind us. If you're thinking about yesterday, you're not doing nothing to win again."

Manuel estimated that the speech lasted 10 or 15 minutes.

"I was trying to find an ending," he said. "I finally asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'Do I need to say anything else? And he said, 'No, Chuck, you covered it.'"

It's way too early to make any definitive assumptions, but the fact that several Phillies have reported in good shape certainly bodes well. Myers, for example, is coming off of a tough season in which he was shipped back to the minors for a time before the All-Star break. He finished 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts and helped redeem the year with his postseason work, but he still comes in with much to prove in '09.

To Manuel, Myers losing weight "means he's been thinking about the season and getting ready for it."

"He finished (last) season strong, which was really great for him," Manuel said. "Also, knowing him, he's definitely thinking about how he'll pitch this whole season. And this is the last year on his deal, and I think he's thinking about another good deal ... and staying with the Phillies."

Manuel was in midseason form already after the workout:

-- On how he views himself as a speechmaker: "Sometimes when I speak at banquets I can get on a good roll and be funny. I never have my speeches (prepared). Today's wasn't very prepared. Usually, when I do prepare it, I'll look down and I can't find where I'm at, so I have to start making it up."

-- On whether he's ready to name ace Cole Hamels as his opening day starter: "You might as well go ahead and pencil him in. There's no sense in me bulls----ing."

Oh, and no word whether the manager lost weight over the winter.

"I don't talk about the manager," Dubee said. "I like my job."

Cracked Manuel: "That's smart."

Likes: Good line from new Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just after the Phillies took the field for the first time this spring, while they were stretching in the outfield. No, it wasn't when he said that it was "like Groundhog's Day." It came when someone asked him how the Phillies were looking this spring. "They're really stretching," he quipped. "They're lifting their legs well." ... Another terrific episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The scripts, the acting ... what a great show. Coach Taylor's character is especially strong, from the way he's in charge on the football field to the way he's a little befuddled at home sometimes by his wife and daughter. Hmm, maybe I can relate. ... Gran Torino. Another really enjoyable Clint Eastwood flick. ... The way David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix last week. What a dope Phoenix is. Make sure to check out the YouTube clip if you missed it. ... Daily reports from spring camps. Ah, happy new year.

Dislikes: Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Uhlaender, the former major-league outfielder and longtime coach who most recently was working as a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Uhlaender died of a heart attack on Thursday after battling cancer -- multiple myeloma -- for a couple of years. Uhlaender was a first-class guy who, among other things, was extremely proud of his daughter, Katie, who is an Olympian in the skeleton. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was exceptionally close to Uhlaender from their days together in the Minnesota organization in the 1960s, so much so that Manuel added Uhlaender to his coaching staff when Manuel managed in Cleveland a few years ago. Saturday, Manuel recalled how Uhlaender was in Double-A ball when Manuel signed professionally, and how they stayed in the same barracks in Melbourne, Fla., during spring training. "I was with him a long time," Manuel said. "I used to go fishing with him, go eat dinner with him, and we'd have cocktails together. He was a good friend." The two were so close that Manuel is considering attending Wednesday's memorial service in Colorado, though that's the day of the Phillies' first full-squad workout.

Sunblock day? Nice and warm, but very overcast much of the day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"There's a train leaving nightly called 'when all is said and done'
"Keep me in your heart for awhile "

-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me In Your Heart

 

 

Rants:

Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:30 pm
 

Correct answer in NL Cy Young? Lincecum

The thing about San Francisco's Tim Lincecum winning the National League Cy Young Award is, there is no wrong answer.

I believe Lincecum, who was dominant in going 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, is the right answer.

But Arizona's Brandon Webb, who won 22 games?

The New York Mets' Johan Santana, who led the NL with a 2.53 ERA?

Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who was perfect in converting 41 saves in 41 chances?

Milwaukee's CC Sabathia, a late entrant who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA after joining Milwaukee in early July?

You can make a strong case for each. To me, the only surprise is that Lincecum was a runaway winner, garnering 137 points to Webb's 73. I pegged this one as far closer than it actually turned out.

Whatever the point totals, though, I do think Lincecum is the guy. I did have an NL Cy Young vote this year - the only postseason awards vote I had -- and on my ballot, I listed Lincecum first, Santana second and Webb third.

What separated Lincecum for me was that, in a year in which the award could have gone one of many directions, he was the most dominant. He led the NL with 265 strikeouts, blowing away Santana (206, tied for third) and Webb (183, not in the top 10). He led the NL in opponents batting-average-against (.221). He was tied for second in innings pitched (227; Santana was first at 234 1/3).

Santana was light on the wins total (16), but the combination of the ERA title and the fact that he would have had far more wins had the Mets' bullpen not blown seven save opportunities in games started by Santana leads to a serious legitimacy in Cy consideration.

Webb was the leader for much of the year, and his sinker is the most devastating in the game. But he faded toward year's end: His three-start stretch against the Dodgers (twice) and Padres late in the season in which he was pummeled for 22 hits and 21 runs (19 earned) over only 13 2/3 innings coincided with Arizona surrendering first place in the NL West.

 

Posted on: October 29, 2008 10:05 pm
 

Phillies win!

PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the most unusual World Series game in history Wednesday night brought with it one of the most unusual World Series finishes in history: For only the second time ever, the Philadelphia Phillies won the title.

Following a 46-hour delay, the first World Series game ever suspended resumed on Wednesday night, in the bottom of the sixth inning, with both the Phillies and Tampa Bay playing as if they were racing the clock.

From what it looked like, the 45,940 packing Citizens Bank Park returned en masse. They stood for the entire final 3 1/2 innings. And they rocked like rarely before when the Phillies finished it off 4-3.

The Phillies won it behind RBI singles from Jayson Werth (sixth inning) and Pedro Feliz (seventh).

They won it when J.C. Romero worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, and when closer Brad Lidge slammed the door -- again -- in the ninth inning. It capped a perfect season for Lidge: He converted 41 of 41 save opportunities during the regular season, and seven-of-seven in the postseason.

The ninth inning kept them guessing: After Evan Longoria popped to Chase Utley in shallow center field, Dioner Navarro cracked a broken-bat single to right. Pinch-runner Fernando Perez stole second, but pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist lined to Werth in right field.

Then, in a moment Phillies fans will remember forever, with the potential tying run on second and an 0-1 count on Eric Hinske, the pinch-hitter struck out.

Lidge immediately dropped to his knees and thrust his arms, while catcher Carlos Ruiz rushed out to hug him. The rest of the Phillies flew to the scene, creating an instant jampile that will be replayed on video around here for years.

"It's honestly very hard to control emotions right now," Lidge said.

And that much was clear -- for all of the Phillies.

It was the Phillies' first World Series title since 1980, and only the second in club history. Considering that this was the 104th World Series played, it's been quite a wait for a club from a city that has become accustomed to watching everyone else win championships.

Not since the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 has one of the four major professional sports teams in Philadelphia won a title.

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 29, 2008 10:05 pm
 

Phillies win!

PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the most unusual World Series game in history Wednesday night brought with it one of the most unusual World Series finishes in history: For only the second time ever, the Philadelphia Phillies won the title.

Following a 46-hour delay, the first World Series game ever suspended resumed on Wednesday night, in the bottom of the sixth inning, with both the Phillies and Tampa Bay playing as if they were racing the clock.

From what it looked like, the 45,940 packing Citizens Bank Park returned en masse. They stood for the entire final 3 1/2 innings. And they rocked like rarely before when the Phillies finished it off 4-3.

The Phillies won it behind RBI singles from Jayson Werth (sixth inning) and Pedro Feliz (seventh).

They won it when J.C. Romero worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, and when closer Brad Lidge slammed the door -- again -- in the ninth inning. It capped a perfect season for Lidge: He converted 41 of 41 save opportunities during the regular season, and seven-of-seven in the postseason.

The ninth inning kept them guessing: After Evan Longoria popped to Chase Utley in shallow center field, Dioner Navarro cracked a broken-bat single to right. Pinch-runner Fernando Perez stole second, but pinch-hitter Ben Zobrist lined to Werth in right field.

Then, in a moment Phillies fans will remember forever, with the potential tying run on second and an 0-1 count on Eric Hinske, the pinch-hitter struck out.

Lidge immediately dropped to his knees and thrust his arms, while catcher Carlos Ruiz rushed out to hug him. The rest of the Phillies flew to the scene, creating an instant jampile that will be replayed on video around here for years.

"It's honestly very hard to control emotions right now," Lidge said.

And that much was clear -- for all of the Phillies.

It was the Phillies' first World Series title since 1980, and only the second in club history. Considering that this was the 104th World Series played, it's been quite a wait for a club from a city that has become accustomed to watching everyone else win championships.

Not since the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 has one of the four major professional sports teams in Philadelphia won a title.

 

Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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