Posted tagged ‘Brett Myers’

Phillies Clinch

October 2, 2009
Philadelphia Phillies Clinch the N.L. East

Philadelphia Phillies Clinch the N.L. East

It should feel great that the Phillies clinched another playoff birth.  Though, for some reason, I’m just a little anxious.  I guess the only thing that would make me feel great is if I was confident in the Phillies winning a playoff series.

I have significant questions about the Phillies, specifically, their starting pitching and closer slot.  The Phillies boast a solid roster of starting pitchers, especially on paper.  However, the likes of Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Pedro Martinez aren’t really pumping out the dominating performances we need to get over the playoff hump.  Lee has been mediocre at best since his strong start here in Philadelphia.  Hamels is wildly inconsistent and hasn’t gotten any run support.  Pedro has pitched ok, but he doesn’t have the ability anymore to crush opponents and win games on his own.  Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ both have looked good, but aren’t top of the rotation guys right now.  In fact, Happ is battling a little bit of the injury bug.  Further complicating things is that the old stand-by, usually good for a solid start and long relief, Jamie Moyer is done for the season with some groin and hamstring issues.  They key to this situation is that the starters need to pull it together.  We need the dominating performances out Lee and Hamels.  Pedro and Blanton need to step it up.  There is nothing else that can be done.  We have to rely on our starting pitching.  If these guys want it bad enough and they should, I think that Lee, Hamels and the crew will prove they are capable of providing dominating playoff performances.

Even scarier is the closer situation.  Brad Lidge, Tyler Walker, Ryan Madson and even Brett Myers will be on the post-season roster.  Yet, we’re not sure who will show up as the closer.  As discussed in previous posts, we think Ryan Madson should be handed the role and be able to prepare like the closer.  Keep Lidge off the post-season roster and let Walker and Myers battle it out for the set-up role.  Whatever happens, the Phillies post-season relies on the bullpen, specifically the closer role.

As I look forward to the playoffs and the determination of the match-ups, I sit and wonder – which Phillies pitching staff will show up for the defense of the World Series title?

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Phillies Bullpen Woes

September 25, 2009
Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson

Brad Lidge, the perfect closer from last season, has 11 blown saves.  Yet, Charlie Manuel keeps giving him opportunities to regain his form, because there isn’t anyone else to fulfill the role.  Ryan Madson has thrived as a set-up man last season and currently.  Brett Myers isn’t healthy enough to perform the closer role that he successfully manned a few years back.  Tyler Walker, a former Giants closer, could hold down the fort, but I really haven’t seen him close a game or pitch a tight inning since he has been with the Phillies.  None of the other relievers on the roster have the mentality or the power to close out games.  In fact, there is a rumor flying around that J.A. Happ could be the closer.  I’m sure Happ can close games, but a promising starting pitcher with some nagging injuries doesn’t the mental games that being a closer would bring. The hole at the closer position is going to be a huge problem come playoff time.

Quite frankly, the pressure is now heavily upon the starting pitching to provide at least 7 full innings of work.  Also, the offense will feel the pressure to provide significant run support for the starting pitching knowing that their bullpen is faltering.  Conversely, the opposing teams will do everything they can to get to the much maligned Phillies bullpen.  Having this glaring weakness on this Phillies team could not only be an issue dealt with each game, but could be extremely detrimental to entire psyche and mental state of this Phillies baseball team.

A simple solution, that I am not sure is the right one, would be to install Madson as the closer.  I think he could easily handle this duty if he is afforded the opportunity to prepare like a closer from the physical to mental aspects of the game.  Each game the Phillies go out and play without a designated closer, it supports each member of the bullpen to NOT have the mentality to close a game.  By designating Madson the closer, he’ll know and the rest of the team will know that Madson is their guy and each player can prepare for their roles appropriately.  Will it happen?  I doubt, I think we are stuck with some significant bullpen issues heading into a tough playoff field.

Another Blown Save for Lidge

August 26, 2009
Brad Lidge

Brad Lidge

The Phillies come from behind in the 9th inning to take the lead over the Pirates, only to have their supposed ace closer blow another save and game.  Brad Lidge, the maligned Phillies closer, couldn’t even record an out.  Lidge has issues and it’s now a problem that better be addressed heading into September and most likely the post season. 

In fact, yesterday’s poll on Philly.com/Sports asked a question related to “Is Lidge back on track?”  I voted no, but it surprised me how many people thought that Lidge had turned the corner and his problems were gone.  While I don’t consider myself to be one of those pessimistic Phillies fans, I am a realist.  I realize that Lidge’s problems aren’t going to be solved in one game.  Also, it’s not that Brad Lidge is pitching poorly; it’s that he is pitching poorly with game control issues.  If he could control the game and still pitch poorly, he would record some outs and not get into as many jams as he has been in.  Lidge has to call upon the skill and dedication he showed last year.  He has to take each game one at a time and just focus on controlling the game.

If I was Charlie Manuel, you better bet that I would have a back-up plan in place.  There are a few options.  Ryan Madson, while struggling on his own, could close a few games if necessary.  J.C. Romero is coming back from injury and could provide an inning of shut down work.  Even more intriguing is that Brett Myers, fresh off of hip surgery, is throwing rehabilitation games and could slide back into the closer role he performed a few years back.  Of course, the whole injury thing to Myers could throw that for a loop.  Finally, I think Manuel needs to do whatever it takes to get Lidge back on his game.  

The Phillies starters have given the team strong 6 to 7 innings each outing.  The starters should be able to rely on their bullpen and especially their closer to finish off the games.