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.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?