Potent quotables: Lidge wants the ball

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“Keep giving me the ball. It doesn’t matter, the situation.
I need to get myself ready to pitch this postseason. It doesn’t matter to me if
it’s a one-run game or we’re down by seven. Work like that tonight is very
productive for me.”




– Brad Lidge wants to be the Phillies’ closer in the postseason, even as they consider alternatives.
Lidge allowed one run on two hits in an inning of mop-up duty against
the Brewers on Friday night. He has a 7.51 ERA and a major-league
leading 11 blown saves this season.




“There’s not
many positives we can take away from this year as a whole…It’s not a
learning process dealing with failure. I’m ready after that last out to
turn the page and get ready for next year, because this hasn’t been fun
for anybody. In fact, it’s been very disappointing.”




– David Wright expresses his disappointment in the Mets season.
They sit at 66-88 entering play on Saturday. Wright is batting just
.221 since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 1 and has already
established a career-high with 135 strikeouts.




“Just dartboard,
man. They just crush me. The intensity on the field shut down, but the
intensity picked up in the bullpen, man, with the verbal abuse I’m
taking.”




– J.P. Howell is taking a beating from his teammates
after being shut down for the rest of the season by manager Joe Maddon
on Friday. Howell has appeared in 123 games over the last two seasons.
All the work seemed to take a toll on his arm, as Howell posted a 6.75
ERA over his final 17 appearances.




“Oh, this is fun. More than you can imagine. It’s the best
time you ever have in your career, the September run to the playoffs
and the World Series … it’s incredibly fun. It gets the hair raising
on your arms.”




– The bloom hasn’t come off the rose for Bobby Cox as the Braves are still alive and kicking in the Wild Card race, just 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies with nine to play.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.