Amaro, Manuel have faith in Lidge
Phils have limited options if closer's struggles continue
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thinks closer Brad Lidge needs just one clean inning to turn around his season.
Lidge remains a hot topic of conversation as the Phillies opened a three-game series Tuesday night against the D-backs at Citizens Bank Park. He is 0-5 with a 7.21 ERA, which is the highest ERA of any reliever in baseball. His eight blown saves lead the Majors.
"We believe in him," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I know Charlie believes in him."
That said, the Phils need more certainty from Lidge in the ninth inning.
"Hey, if our closer can't close, we're going to have a tough time winning," Amaro said. "It's pretty simple. I don't think any team can move forward without having a guy to close down the game. It's tough. It can be done, I guess, but it makes it a lot tougher. We expect that Brad will be OK."
There have been endless questions directed to Manuel and Amaro about what happens if it's late September or early October and Lidge is still struggling and blowing saves. Can they take that type of performance into the postseason with so much on the line? The Phillies are trying to become the first National League team to win consecutive World Series since the Reds in 1975-76.
"I'm trying to find out where those options are," Manuel said. "I get a lot of help and suggestions, but ..."
Manuel's options appear limited. Ryan Madson struggled as the closer while Lidge spent time on the disabled list earlier this season. Nobody else in the bullpen jumps out. Pedro Martinez? He has never closed before and the Phillies view him as a starter.
Brett Myers? He closed in 2007. He has been on the disabled list since May because of an injured right hip, but the Phillies expect him back and he will be pitching out of the bullpen.
"Myers hasn't even gotten on a mound yet," Amaro said. "How could anybody possibly think that he could be a guy who could help us in that role if he hasn't pitched yet?"
Myers had been scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday with Class A Clearwater, but had to be scratched after he injured his left eye during a bizarre incident early Saturday morning in Jacksonville, Fla.
Myers threw a bullpen session Tuesday and was scheduled to take a concussion impact test to see if he had any lingering effects after he said he fell out of his wife's Cadillac Escalade to injure his eye.
Myers was cleared and will make a rehab start Thursday.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.