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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Game 140: Manuel proves Lidge's overuse; Phils in first place (80-60)

The Phils seemed to be on their way to a victory when they entered the 8th inning leading by a score of 7-4. However, instead of seeing Ryan Madson in the usual set-up role, Jose Contreras came out to pitch. This is because Brad Lidge has pitched in 5 of the last 7 days, a streak that would not exist if he did not pitch in two entirely unnecessary scenarios in LA (both were four-run games). If Lidge were available, Madson would have pitched the 8th and Lidge the 9th.

Contreras allowed three runs, the third of which was due to a Jayson Werth error (the box score says it's an earned run, but I think that's wrong). The Phils then scored one in the 8th to regain the lead.

Manuel didn't mismanage his bullpen today; in fact, he did very well considering his closer was not available. He correctly pulled Contreras for JC Romero when lefty Logan Morrison came to the plate. Romero walked his only batter for the second straight day. Manuel then brought in Madson for the four-out save, but he blew the save when he threw a wild-pitch to Hanley Ramirez. He struck out Ramirez, then retired 3 of the 4 batters he faced in the 9th to shut down the victory.

This is the type of the game that shows why you can't just throw your closer into every 3, 4, and 5-run game. Use him in high-leverage situations only, and games like tonight never happen.

The Phils are in first place by half a game, and they look to win the series tomorrow night at 7:05 when Cole Hamels faces LHP Andrew Miller.

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