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.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.