Manuel holds on tight, stays committed to Lidge as Phillies closer

David Brown
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Charlie Manuel declared the Philadelphia Phillies are strapped into the Brad Lidge(notes) roller coaster — no matter how bumpy the ninth inning gets with their closer at the controls.

Lidges' teammates gave him a seemingly comfortable three-run heading into the ninth against the Colorado Rockies on Monday afternoon. All Lidge needed to do was get three measly outs and the Phillies would complete a four-game sweep of the Rox and increase their winning streak at Citizens Bank Park to eight games.

Well, Lidge got the outs, and the save, in the Phillies 5-4 victory. He also allowed two runs on a Seth Smith(notes) home run and stranded the bases loaded — for the second straight game. Lidge always seems to pitch into trouble. Just as long as he also pitches out of it.

So, Uncle Cholly, are you still 100 percent committed to Lidge? Or are you just committed, as in, "to an institution"?

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Via the 700 Level:

[Said Manuel:] "When you say 100 percent commitment, I think we definitely have a commitment there. We committed to him three years ago, and, you know, that's kind of who we have down there."

Committed, yes. But you get the sense he's committed because there's not really a better option at this point. This isn't the same Brad Lidge that you committed to in 2008.

How's Manuel's heart after watching that painful ninth inning?

"My heart? Doctors told me two springs ago my heart was outstanding," Manuel said.

How about after today?

"It'll work."

It's a good thing Manuel has a Hall of Fame sense of humor. But, if you look closely at what Manuel said about his own heart, he's hoping for a like performance by his closer.

Lidge set a high standard in 2008 when he performed practically flawlessly. But he was brutal in '09 and, the truth is, Manuel did hedge — at least some — in using Lidge in the ninth.

This season, Manuel's alternatives seem just as narrow as ever. Lidge is 10-of-13 converting saves. His ERA (4.58) and WHIP (1.63) are bad, but those are volatile stats. So, until Lidge costs the Phillies several games, probably in a row, he's the man.

Just remember to hold on tight until the season comes to a complete stop.

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