This and almost every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Land Shark Stadium in suburban Miami, where — stop me if you've heard this one before — Phillies' closer Brad Lidge(notes) walks into a save situation and ...
Game of the Day: Marlins 7, Phillies 6
They can't keep meeting like this: Trotted out by Charlie Manuel, again, to protect a one-run lead, Lidge got two outs before allowing a tying single by Jorge Can-do Cantu and a killing single by pinch hitter Brett Carroll(notes).
"It's incredibly frustrating," the recording of Lidge's voice said. "I'm disappointed. They hit the ball tonight. I'm a little bit at a loss. I'm sure there's some things I can do better."
Lidge is right about there being some things he could do better.
A year ago, the Phillies were 79-0 with a lead entering the ninth inning and Lidge went 48-for-48, including the playoffs, in save situations. This season, they're 75-10 with a lead heading to the ninth, again mostly thanks to Lidge, who has 11 blown saves to go with an 0-8 record and 7.48 ERA.
The Phillies can clinch the NL East in just a few days. They have 9/10ths of a team clearly able to repeat as world phreaking champions. But if they keep blowing games they lead in the ninth inning, there ain't gonna be a repeat parade.
"When you get right down to it you're supposed to win those games," Manuel said in Todd Zolecki's Phillies blog. You're supposed to win a majority of those games. I mean, a high percentage of those games. Exactly what percent I don't know, but it's [gosh-darn] high."
Language, Charlie! You'd swear too, if you were painted into a corner like this. He's got nowhere else to turn.
These guys stink, too: Ryan Madson(notes) does well to set up Lidge, but he's 1-3 with a 7.24 ERA and 8-for-14 in save opportunities. So, that dog doesn't hunt, either. Neither does the dog that is Brett Myers(notes), closer before Lidge arrived in Philly. He's not healthy yet and it's (checking watch) the last week of September.
"We're waiting to see how long Brett is going to be," Manuel said. "I mean, right now Brett's not even in the picture."
There's always Al Holland or Ron Reed, but neither would be playoff eligible. As I said before, Ruben Amaro — for all that he's done — really messed this up by not adding another reliever.
Meanwhile, let's pay superficial attention to the winning team. The Fish keep hanging in there, moving within 4 1/2 of the wild card lead because Colorado lost.
"For us to keep crawling back after a rain delay and facing Madson and Lidge ... our guys just dug in the box and ground it out. It's special," Carroll said.
* * *
Feelin' Rundown (all of these relievers are perfect):
Astros 3, Cardinals 0: A pitcher
of named Bud — Bud Norris(notes) — prevents the Cardinals from clinching the NL Central for a day. They could be celebrating at their hotel (how thrilling) if the Cubs lose tonight at San Francisco.
Padres 6, Rockies 3: The Padres keep representin' in the pennant race! Jason Marquis(notes) stays stuck on 15 wins, which you would have taken at the beginning of the season but now, it's like, c'mon Jason, find the sinker.
Nationals 5, Dodgers 4: Yeah, I can't believe it, either.
Twins 8, White Sux 6: The Sox are living vicariously in the pennant race through the Twins.
Braves 5, Mets 2: But who will get thrown out if Bobby Cox isn't there to manage anymore?
Reds 12, Pirates 2: Sometimes, when Homer Bailey(notes) pitches, I reference the fictional character Harry Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life." You know — the war hero who "saved the lives of every man on that transport," according to his big brother George Bailey?
Well, looking at his pitch counts, David Dewitt "Homer" Bailey needs a guardian angel to rescue him from Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker Jr. Homer, who came in averaging 116 pitches in his past six starts, wriggled through six innings in beating the Bucs for the third time since Aug. 23.
Here's Dusty: "You can tell [Bailey] didn't have real good stuff when he was throwing more breaking balls and more changeups tonight than usual," Baker said. "His fastball velocity was a little down, but that's going to happen sometimes. That's part of the learning process; you've got to pitch when you don't have real good stuff, and that's what he did tonight."
Ninety-four losses and counting for the Buccaneers, who have a 3-17 record and have been outscored 126-63 this month. They also lost their last five games in August, if you go back that far — but why would you do that?
* * *
1-2-3 (Let's go, we got a thing at 8):
Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Milton is sorry.
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 3: Leave Canada now.
Red Sox 9, Royals 2: Papi feelin' peppy.
Rays 5, Mariners 4: Bossman Junior strong!
Rangers 9, Athletics 8: Hank still cranks.
UPDATE: Giants 5, D-backs 2: Uribe three ribbies.