Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moyer finds niche in 'pen, Howard on fire, Lidge perfect in 9th

Jamie Moyer is thriving in his new role as long reliever and mother nature continues to haunt Pedro Martinez's effort to pitch deep into ballgames.

After an average outing against the Mets, Pedro was looking to rebound and pitch a great game against the division rival Atlanta Braves and rising star Tommy Hanson. Pedro looked excellent at the start of the game, but two rain delays forced Pedro to another early exit. Moyer pitched very well out of the 'pen again; hopefully the team won't mess with it. He really struggled all season as a starter, but has found a role he is exceeding in. With Pedro pitching fairly well and yet to showcase his full ability, and Brett Myers close to returning to the big leagues, leaving Moyer in the bullpen is a good idea and a good fit.

Ryan Howard remains on fire as his two home runs backed Pedro and Moyer, leading the Phils to a 4-2 win.

Every time it feels that yanking Brad Lidge from the closers' role is the right move, he goes out and throws an inning like he did last night; a perfect inning to pickup the save against Atlanta. It was 70's night at the ballpark and Lidge certainly pitched like it was retro night, going all the way back to his 2008 form. Lidge still has the ability, as we've seen over small stretches, but needs to harness his talent and showcase it daily as he did last season. Look at Lidge during his career. When he was bad for Houston, he was really bad. His stuff was gone and he just looked lost on the mound. Well, his stuff is still there. He's just getting behind hitters and not pitching consistent efforts night after night.

The other problem: who else can the Phils use? Ryan Madson is no closer. He's a great setup man, but they've tried using Madson as a closer and it doesn't work. Lidge is saving 74 percent of his opportunities this season, down from his career percentage of 84. Madson, on the other hand, has just four saves in nine opportunities this season, a 44 percent success rate. His career success rate is even worse at just 33 percent. Madson is a good late inning pitcher, but he doesn't have a closer's makeup. Unless the team wanted to groom Myers in his return to MLB as a closer, which is unlikely, Lidge is our guy.

1 comment:

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