Throw the slider…please

2 11 2009

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While watching game 4 of the World Series last night weren’t you just waiting for Brad Lidge to blow it like he has so many times.  I know I was and he didn’t let me down.  He got so close to getting out of the jam, but came one strike short of a one-two-three ninth inning.  My faith in Lidge was growing with each passing pitch when he got Matsui to pop out to Jimmy Rollins it felt like the Phillies just might tie the series up.  Then, Lidge struck out Mr. Yankee himself Derek Jeter and it was over.  Johnny Damon would have been nothing more than a formality down 0-2, if this were 2008.  Problem was that isn’t 2008 and Johnny Damon fought tooth and nail, worked the count and managed to pick up a single to left field.  Once that happened you could hear a collective gasp from Phillies fans everywhere.

Then Damon stole second base and raced to third and well the rest is history.  Why though do you throw the hottest hitter in the game a fastball on a 0-1 count when everybody knows your best pitch is the slider, well everybody, but you that is.  That fastball to Rodriguez has to be a pitch that he will replay in his mind everyday for the rest of his life.  News flash Brad you don’t throw 98 any more you throw low 90’s and that isn’t good enough to beat A-Rod on the inner half twice in a row throw the slider if he doesn’t chase it you’re in trouble, but that’s your best chance at success.

The commentators were talking about how Lidge wouldn’t be able to throw the slider once Damon got to third because of the potential for a wild pitch or passed ball.  Are you kidding me if the Phillies can’t trust Carlos Ruiz to block the ball in the ninth inning of the World Series, they need to get somebody back there who they can trust.  You have got to be kidding me if that really is the reason that Lidge doesn’t throw a slider.  Either way, what the Phillies did last night was inexcusable in a crucial game of the World Series, if they win that game they are tied 2-2 with the Yankees and are sending Cliff Lee to the mound feeling really good about their chances.  The way things stand right now it’s not a question of if, but when will the Yankees win.

Some will argue that the Phillies didn’t score in the bottom half of the ninth, but you have to think that the bottom half of the ninth inning would’ve played out a little differently had Phil Coke come in instead of the best closer ever.  What a difference a great closer makes in the postseason.  If roles were reversed and Mariano Rivera was wearing a Phillies jersey they win that game last night.  Which begs the question is Mariano Rivera the greatest pitcher ever?  Right now you might be shaking your head, but think about this, if you needed one out and you could have any pitcher from any era in their prime who would you want on the mound?  I take Rivera.

Many people will debate me on whether or not Rivera is the best pitcher ever, but one thing is for sure he was the difference maker in a pivotal World Series game last night, because he knows his best pitch the cutter.  All you ever see from Rivera is the cut fastball, it’s not 98 mph like it used to be, but it’s his best pitch and if you’re going to beat him you’re going to have to hit his pitch.  Brad Lidge should have taken a lesson and thrown his best pitch.  I have some advice if Lidge gets another chance to save a game in this series and that advice is throw the slider…please.

Written by: Jesse Kunz
The halfmanhalfdog team
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