The Philadelphia Phillies might get to see their new closer clean up for their old one.
Brad Lidge could make his debut and last year’s closer, Brett Myers, hopes his second turn back in the rotation goes better than the first as the Phillies continue their series with the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Lidge opened the season on the disabled list after undergoing knee surgery in late February, but he was activated on Saturday after making one appearance for Class A Clearwater. He was acquired in a trade with Houston on Nov. 7 after saving 122 games over the past four seasons for the Astros.
“It’s great to be pitching for a new team, but at the same time I had a lot of good memories from Houston,” Lidge told the Phillies’ official Web site. “Coming to a team that is going to play as well as we think is huge for me. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere.”
He takes over the closing duties after Philadelphia returned Myers (0-0, 5.40) to the rotation even though he saved 21 of his 24 opportunities last year after an early switch to closer. His first outing of this season indicated Myers might need some time to get re-acclimated to a starting role.
Myers got the opening day start and threw four scoreless innings on Monday against Washington before allowing four runs - three earned - in the fifth of an 11-6 defeat.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” said Myers, who allowed five hits, walked two and hit two batters in five innings. “Hopefully I do better next time.”
Philadelphia (2-3) has lost each of Myers’ last six starts, and he’s 0-3 in that span since defeating the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 20, 2006. He is 2-0 with a 3.74 ERA in seven career appearances versus Cincinnati (3-2).
Tom Gordon was filling in as the Phillies closer and struggled in his first two outings before striking out the only batter he faced Saturday to preserve an eighth-inning tie. However, Chad Durbin came on in the ninth and gave up an RBI single to Paul Bako that gave the Reds a 4-3 victory.
Cincinnati won for the third time in four games, with each victory coming by one run.
“That’s one of the things I stressed to the team,” first-year Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You’ve got to win one-run games, especially at home. If you want to win a championship, you’ve got to win one-run games.”
Leadoff hitter Corey Patterson homered for the second time in three games, also recording his first steal and walk in a Cincinnati uniform.
“I like to think I’m a line drive hitter with occasional home runs,” said Patterson, who is 0-for-13 against Myers. “The home runs aren’t always going to be there, so you have to try to get on any way you can.”
Philadelphia’s top home run hitter got his first of the season Saturday as Ryan Howard hit a 479-foot shot. Chase Utley added an RBI double and a single, a day after homering twice, and he’s batting .412 (7-for-17) with six RBIs.
Howard and Utley now face Edinson Volquez, who makes his Reds debut after spending his first three major league seasons with Texas. The 24-year-old right-hander, who went 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts last year, was acquired on Dec. 21 in the deal that sent outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Rangers.
Though Volquez is just 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA in 20 career appearances, an outstanding spring got him a spot in the Reds’ rotation. He went 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA while walking four and striking out 26 in 20 innings.