Looking For Relief

June 29th, 2011 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, Phillies.

The Phillies own the best record in baseball. They have already taken the first two games from a team that most people think is World Series bound in the Boston Red Sox. They are a staggering 21 games over .500 at the halfway point of the season. The most amazing part is who they are doing it with. Not so much the beginnings as the end of the games though. The Phillies have definitely been a snake bitten team in 2011, and the area in which has seen the most damage has been the bullpen.

Bastardo must be Spanish for "Absolutely Filthy"

In 2010, Brad Lidge was pencilled in to close out games. Ryan Madson was the lights out set up man. J.C. Romero and Jose Contreras were your lefty-right combination for the 6th and 7th innings if needed. Half way thru the 2011 season, Lidge, Madson, and Contreras are all on the disabled list and J.C. Romero was DFA’d. Enter Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes.

Both are having break out years and are currently anchoring the Phillies bullpen. Bastardo had been up and down the last two seasons, but is finally breaking out and putting it all together. Stutes was a prime candidate to make the big league roster out of Spring Training, but ultimately was sent to AAA Lehigh Valley to start the season. Despite the great job they are doing, the Phillies will enter the trade deadline market in search of a reliever or two.

One reliever they are keeping their eye on has had success before in a Phillies uniform. He’s been automatic in the playoffs. He’s motivated to prove he’s got “what it takes” as he is potentially a free agent at year’s end, and most importantly, it won’t cost the Phillies a dime. Yes, I am talking about Brad Lidge my friends. Lidge threw a bullpen session Wednesday before the Phillies game and will be likely to throw another one Friday. If all goes well, Lidge could start a rehab assignment shortly after the 4th of July holiday.

Hoping to be activated by the end of July

Now I don’t expect the 2008 version of Brad Lidge to show up. I don’t even expect the second half of 2010 version of Brad Lidge, but if he can come somewhere close to those performances, the Phillies would have acquired one heck of reliever. A healthy Brad Lidge is a successful one. The only problem is what role do you put him in. He’s had great success as a closer for the Phillies, but he’s also shown the ability to implode, especially in “non-save” situations.

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