Regardless of what happens in tonight’s game—and Brad Lidge could be the closer if a need for one arises, but he also might not, according to Charlie Manuel today—one thing is clear: the situation has shifted from where it has been all season.
Manuel said “Brad Lidge is a closer,” but unlike at every other point this year, he did not say “Lidge is my closer.”
It had already changed last night, when Ryan Madson began warming in the ninth at the first signs of trouble for Lidge. “We wanted him ready,” Dubee said. “If we had to use him, I didn’t want him to wait until the last second. I just wanted him ready in case the situation came up."
Manuel said that, while he remained committed to getting Lidge right, he felt a different kind of hunch last night: the need to get Lidge out of the game. “We just go with how I feel,’ Manuel said. “Definitely I want to be loyal to him and things like that, but at the same time, like I told him last night, winning the game is the first priority.
"But the more that I sat there and the way the game went, I felt like basically I had to go take him out. Basically, if we were going to win the game, I didn’t like how I felt about it.”
“I’m getting kind of tired of it, if you want to know the truth. I am, and the reason is because I figure I can put him in the game when I want to. I’ve been very loyal to him, and I’ve stuck with him. I did everything I think possible to get him going. There is no way I would ever lie to him, because I don’t do that, and I don’t have a history of doing that.
“But at the same time, we’ve got to win the games. The best way we’ve got to win the games now, if that includes Brad is not out there to close, then I guess that’s going to be my decision."