Brad Lidge's time as a closer must be numbered. After last year, Lidge has been given a free pass, but it's time to rip it up. With nine blown saves, a 7.33 earned run average, and 1.80 walks and hits per innings pitched, he can't continue to be the Phillies closer. The Phillies have other options.
When Lidge was on the disabled list earlier this year, Ryan Madson took over as closer. However, he was also victimized. Madson has of record of 4-4 and is 4/8 in save opportunities. He has a 2.95 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He strikes out 9.1 batters per nine. Overall, they are decent numbers, but most of his struggles have come as closer. While trying to adjust to his new role, perhaps he tried too hard. Giving him another chance is worth a shot.
Brett Myers went down with a hip injury, but is recovering faster than expected. There is a chance Myers will be back as a reliever. He has closing experience, in 2007, when he went 5-5 with a 2.87 ERA. He saved 21 games in 24 opportunities and opponents batted just .229 against him. As a closer, he was a whole different animal, striking out 64 in 53.1 innings.
With this being his contract year, Myers would like to make an impact any way he can. He has experience, and was successful at it. He loved it, and was upset with the Phillies converted him back to a starter the following year. Myers should not immediately jump into the closers role, but depending on his outings, he could find himself in the ninth inning.
Chan Ho Park, Chad Durbin, and others could close, but they aren't the best options. They have been successful in the roles they are currently in, especially Park. When J.C Romero returns, he would give the Phillies another option, but with the number of base runners he allows via walks, he probably won't fare well.
Charlie Manuel wants to "stick to his guy," but how many more blown saves will it take? After being the National Leagues' best closer in 2008, Lidge has been the worst closer in baseball this season, sporting the most blown saves and highest ERA of any reliever. As long as Lidge is pitching the way he currently is, he can not close. The best option is Madson or Myers, once he returns.
This post was edited by Pat Gallen. To see his point of view on Lidge, visit Phillies Nation.