Time for a change in the Phillies bullpen?

Leave a comment

He did it again. Brad Lidge blew his
major-league leading 10th save on Saturday night against the Astros,
giving up a walk-off single to Kaz Matsui in a 5-4 defeat.

As Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse pointed out,
his 10 blown saves are the most in the majors since 2006 when Ambiorix
Burgos had 12, Francisco Cordero and Huston Street had 11 and Jason
Isringhausen had 10. As for this season, the closest is J.P. Howell
with eight.

Now 0-7 with a 7.15 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in 57 appearances, it sounds like manager Charlie Manuel is starting to lose patience with his struggling closer:

“What do I think of [Lidge’s blown save]? I think it’s baseball. I think that’s what you call command. I think that’s what
you call being able to throw the ball over the plate and put it where
you want it. I think it’s staying focused on what you’re doing — executing your pitches.”

Sure, the Phillies are waltzing
their way to another division title, but they can’t possibly count on
someone with a 7.15 ERA to lock down important outs in the post-season.
Enter Brett Myers?

Remember, Myers went 21-for-24 in
save opportunities while compiling a 2.87 ERA and 64/18 K/BB ratio out
of the closer role for the Phillies in 2007. Coincidentally, he tossed
a scoreless inning of relief against the Astros on Saturday night, his
first appearance since returning from hip surgery.

Though the scrutiny is sure to increase as the playoffs approach, Myers is saying all the right things:

“I’m just back there to help. I’m not there to take
anyone’s job.”

While that may be true, Lidge isn’t doing much to keep his.

Giants fans will have to pay a surcharge to park at Athletics games

Getty Images

Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.

This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.

Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.