09/24/09 8:18 PM ET
Manuel stands behind Lidge, Madson
Manager also vows to do whatever it takes to win
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
But in his next breath he also said he is prepared to do whatever it takes to win.
"We'll do what we have to do," Manuel said before Thursday's series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. "We'll see. Whatever we think, whatever we want to do, I'll do it. I'm open to what I'm going to do, yeah."
The never-ending ninth-inning saga for the Phillies continued after Lidge blew his Major League-leading 11th save of the season Wednesday in a 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins at Land Shark Stadium. Lidge is 0-8 with a 7.48 ERA with 31 saves in 42 opportunities. Opponents have hit .305 against him this season.
In four appearances since Manuel returned Lidge to the closer's role, he is 0-1 with a 14.73 ERA and three saves in four opportunities. Opponents have hit .421 against him.
It has been a nightmarish season for Lidge. He is on track to become one of just five pitchers in baseball history to finish a season with no wins, eight or more losses and a 7.00 ERA or higher:
Ed O'Neil went 0-8 with a 9.26 ERA in eight games in 1890 with Toledo and Philadelphia of the American Association.
Charlie Stecher went 0-10 with a 10.32 ERA in 10 games in 1890 with Philadelphia of the American Association.
Edgar Gonzalez went 0-9 with a 9.32 ERA in 10 games in 2004 with Arizona.
Russ Ortiz went 0-8 with an 8.14 ERA in 26 games in 2006 with Arizona and Baltimore.
But despite Lidge's struggles and Madson's struggles in save situations (1-3 with a 7.24 ERA, eight saves and six blown saves in 14 opportunities), Manuel said he plans to stick with them because he has no clear alternatives.
Brett Myers would make a ton of sense, but he is hurt. He will throw bullpen sessions next Tuesday and Thursday, which would leave him no more than three games to show Manuel he could handle the job in the postseason.
Fans have wondered about Pedro Martinez or J.A. Happ, but they seem unlikely.
Tyler Walker? He is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 27 appearances. He has closed before.
"He's done a good job for us in the role he's in," Manuel said of Walker. "We'll do whatever it takes that we think will win a game. I might give you guys something really good to write about.
"If you look and see what our pitching situation is right now, who we have there ... both of those guys [Lidge and Madson], they are our talented guys. As far as stuff-wise and experience-wise and things like that. It kind of made it tough. But at the same time we've got to try to do something to win games, too."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.