Daily Dose: One Night Only – No Lidge

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Brad Lidge blew his MLB-worst ninth save Tuesday night while pitching for the fourth straight day, so after Cole Hamels tossed eight shutout innings Wednesday manager Charlie Manuel turned to Ryan Madson to close out a 1-0 lead. Madson did his best Lidge impression by serving up a game-tying homer to Brandon Moss, but stayed in to pitch a scoreless 10th inning before Ryan Howard’s three-run homer won it.
Manuel has made it very clear that Lidge remains the Phillies’ closer despite a 7.33 ERA that would be the worst of all time for any pitcher with 25-plus saves, so don’t draw any major conclusions from Madson getting the nod Wednesday. He’d be the obvious choice to assume ninth-inning duties if the plug is ever pulled on Lidge, but with a comfortable division lead there’s no pressure on Manuel to make a change.
While the Phillies appear committed to riding Lidge until the wheels fall off, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* Armando Galarraga came out of nowhere last season to win 13 games with a 3.73 ERA as a 26-year-old rookie despite a mediocre 126/61 K/BB ratio in 178.2 innings. He figured to regress this season, but going 6-10 with a 5.05 ERA and 88/59 K/BB ratio in 135.1 innings is an even bigger drop than expected and the Tigers demoted him to the minors Wednesday.
In terms of damage done on specific pitches, Galarraga has the AL’s least-effective fastball and his slider hasn’t been nearly as tough to hit this year. He’ll be back once rosters expand on September 1, but in the meantime Nate Robertson replaces him in the rotation after spending two months on the disabled list with an elbow injury. He had a successful rehab assignment, but Robertson remains an awful pitcher.
* Another day another Mets player on the disabled list, as Oliver Perez is headed for season-ending knee surgery. Perez was a complete disaster in the first season of a three-year, $36 million contract, posting a 6.82 ERA in 14 starts while compiling an awful 62/58 K/BB ratio over 66 innings. He’s expected to be ready for spring training and likely won’t be such a mess with a healthy knee, but he’s a huge question mark.
Note: If you’re into Twitter, check me out @aarongleeman.
AL Quick Hits: Tim Wakefield tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his return from the disabled list Wednesday and David Ortiz delivered a walk-off homer … Dallas Braden may not pitch again this season after being told by a neurologist that a nerve in his foot has been “traumatized” … Travis Hafner took Wednesday off because of fatigue in his surgically repaired shoulder … Adam Jones (back) is hoping to rejoin the lineup Thursday after missing three straight games … Ichiro Suzuki (calf) couldn’t take batting practice Wednesday, so he remained out of the lineup … Jake Peavy (ankle) is unlikely to make his White Sox debut this weekend after skipping a bullpen session Wednesday … There’s speculation that Boston will designate Brad Penny for assignment Thursday to make room on the roster for Billy Wagner … Marlon Byrd was scratched from the lineup Wednesday thanks to kidney stones … Joe Saunders picked up a win Wednesday in his return from the DL.
NL Quick Hits: Justin Upton came off the disabled list Wednesday after missing three weeks with an oblique injury … Nick Johnson (hamstring) landed on the disabled list Wednesday, leaving Ross Gload and Gaby Sanchez to fill in at first base … Alfonso Soriano (knee) was back in the lineup Wednesday despite concerns that he might need surgery … Stephen Drew said Tuesday that he could be away from the team longer than expected because his wife is having pregnancy complications … Livan Hernandez will join the Nationals’ rotation after posting a 5.47 ERA in 23 starts with the Mets … Milwaukee has reportedly placed all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman on waivers … Matt Murton was designated for assignment Wednesday so Colorado could activate Juan Rincon from the DL, which is obviously the low point of anyone’s career … Joel Pineiro picked up his seventh straight win with eight innings of two-run ball Wednesday … Mark Reynolds (flu) missed his third straight game Wednesday.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.