Time for a change in the Phillies bullpen?

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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.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.