On the Deployments of Lidge and Sabathia
This is not a second-guess, as Boz can attest -- he was sitting next to me yesterday at Citizens Bank Park and heard me question out loud why Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel took starter Cole Hamels out of the game after eight brilliant innings (and a mere 101 pitches) in favor of closer Brad Lidge.
My arguments against the move:
*Hamels was still dominating the Brewers (he had retired eight straight Milwaukee batters),
*His pitch count was getting up there, but not beyond his capabilities (Hamels has gone 110 pitches or more 11 times this season),
*And by avoiding Lidge yesterday, Manuel could have gotten two innings out of him tonight, in the (admittedly unlikely) event Brett Myers matches Brewers ace CC Sabathia frame-for-frame and brings the bullpens into play late in the game.
This was not among my arguments -- the notion Lidge would very nearly implode and cost the Phillies the game. But that is what happened. The Phillies were lucky to escape with a win.
Did you like the Hamels/Lidge move? Tell me why I'm wrong.
Also, it's not to late to make your LDS predictions.
And while you're at it, feel free to weigh in on Boz's column on the Sabathia situation. Sabathia's performance -- and his plight -- fascinate me to no end. In discussing the story with Boz yesterday, I kept coming back to two questions:
1) Would the Brewers be pitching Sabathia on three days' rest all these times in a row if they had $125 million or more invested in him, as opposed to the present realization he will almost certainly leave after this season?
2) Does Sabathia really and truly have a choice here? When the Brewers asked him if he could pitch on short rest, his options were to say no and risk being branded a selfish mercenary (which would forever diminish his legacy in Milwaukee and perhaps his free agent value as well), or say yes and gamble that it won't do any physical damage that might jeopardize his lucrative future. I realize he may be a special creature, both in the physical sense and in his competitive nature, but there is a reason he had never been asked to do this before in his career -- because it is widely considered to be a risk to the pitcher's health. (Otherwise, every team would be sending their best pitchers out there on short rest every time.)
Am I being too cynical? Or does anyone else out there, like me, feel a little sorry for Sabathia in this situation?
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