Where Will Philadelphia Phillies Relief Pitcher Brad Lidge Fit in the Bullpen When He Returns?
Brad Lidge was brought over to Philadelphia before the 2008 season to be the dominant closer he once was as a member of the Houston Astros.
Lidge succeeded, converting all 41 regular-season save opportunities and all seven in the postseason to bring a World Series trophy to the city of Philadelphia. He followed that up with the worst season any closer has had in the history of the game, before an underrated 2010 campaign that left Philly fans feeling optimistic about 2011.
Then the injuries struck, and Lidge missed the entire first half of the season. He is currently rehabbing right now, and expected to be back shortly after the All-Star break. When he does return, Lidge likely won’t serve as the team’s closer.
Ryan Madson has been doing a phenomenal job as the closer, and although he is on the 15-day DL with a right hand contusion, he will be available again after the All-Star break, and he will undoubtedly resume his role. Antonio Bastardo has been filling in for Madson as the closer, and he has shown loads of potential. Bastardo will likely team with Michael Stutes to form an unhittable eighth-inning setup man combination.
That means Brad Lidge will likely be used as a seventh-inning guy. The Phillies haven’t really had a steady seventh-inning guy this season. Jose Contreras is on the DL until August, and when he returns, he and Lidge may share the role. For now, it has mostly been filled by undeserving guys like Danys Baez and David Herndon.
Lidge may take awhile to get his feet wet, and throwing him out there in the ninth inning of a one-run game isn’t the wisest choice. What will be nice however is having a veteran player like Lidge pitching in the seventh inning, a pair of lights out setup men in Bastardo and Stutes available for the eighth inning, and a future All-Star closer in Madson to pitch the ninth.