• October 5, 2022

Lidge Out For A Month, Contreras Is Closer And Francisco Wins Starting Job In Right

We all had a sneaky suspension that Brad Lidge wasn’t going to be available when the season started and we were right. Something didn’t smell right. Now we find out he has a partially torn rotator cuff.

Times I wonder whether we should even listen to what Lidge or the Phillies say when a player is injured. Remember when he was saying he was fine during most of the spring training. He couldn’t throw a fast ball in or near the 90’s, but he said he was fine.

All of sudden we found out he had tendinitis in his bicep, then a week or two later he admitted that he was feeling pain in his shoulder all along.

It’s official now the Phils will start the season with Jose Contreras as their closer and Ryan Madson will stay where he is as a setup man. Brad Lidge will be put on the shelf for three to six weeks and who knows what will happen after that.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Contreras will be his guy: “Right now, if I had to pick someone tonight, it’d be [Jose] Contreras.” That means it won’t be Ryan Madson.

*Ben Francisco is the starting right fielder, Manuel said, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a platoon. Manuel said Francisco has never had 450 at-bats in a season before, “and now he’s going to get that chance.”

Now Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells us the whole story. “We knew there was something going on in there, but on the brighter side, at least it’s not something that needs to be surgically repaired,” Amaro said.

“We’re glad it’s not a labrum. That’s on the bright side of things, but it’s still significant.”

I wouldn’t count on seeing Lidge until the middle of the season. Check out how he talks about not throwing for a month and a half then gradually working his way back into things.

“Best case is between three-to-six weeks to not throw at all,” Lidge said. “Then you’ve got to build up just as much on the other side, however long it takes. I’m thinking in my mind I’ve got to be back for the second half and have a real good second half, make sure I’m stronger than before. Not just where I was, but stronger. It’s a partial tear of the rotator cuff. If it was in the labrum, that’s game over, out for the season. The rotator cuff doesn’t have to be. … It’s still a crappy feeling.”

I hope the 39-year old Contreras is on top of his game. I know he pitched well in the closing chances he’s had, but this dude is 39-years old. How long can he continue? We’ve got all these great starters, but the season could be resting on the arm of a 39-year old who quite a few baseball people thought was washed up.

If Contreras can’t get the job done, we are going to have some major problems because that would mean trying Madson there again and who knows how that would turn out.

Francisco has been knocking the cover off the ball, so I can understand how Manuel decided to let him be the guy in right field.


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March 30, 2011 8:27 am

Before you burn the Phillies, you should roast Lidge. Tehy can only go by what he tells them. If he tells them he’s fine, then until they get physical proof to the opposite that’s what they go with. Contreras was good last year–and before you roast him for being 39, consider that Trevor Hoffman was still in his 40s last year still picking up saves; Dennis Eckersley was in his late 30s and still picking up saves when he played and I’m pretty sure you had some more premier relievers picking up saves well into their late 30s early 40s. I’m pretty sure they’re going to bring up Stutes as your long man–or, if his stuff is as electric as they say it is, why not try him as the closer in the 9th?

March 30, 2011 8:28 am

As far as Contreras goes, If they are committed to Lidge and they think then he can come back in 3-6 weeks then this makes sense. Contreras has shown that he can close in the past and also this keeps Mad Dog in the 8th inning where he excels. We have seen the troubles that he had when he tried to close which actually makes me pretty weary if they are counting on him to close as soon as next year.

Francisco is a no brainer. As soon as Brown got hurt, it was his job to lose and maybe even when Brown was healthy. If there was any doubt, hitting .377 in the spring erased that.

March 30, 2011 9:23 am

Paulman reported back in Febuary, to much of the chagrin of the Phillie Faithful, that this Phillie Bullpen is a real ??? and weakness going into this 2011 Season since there were no real additions to the club (and especially when there were a lot of quality Relief pitchers on the Free-agency market this off-season)
Counting on the likes of 39 year old Contreras is pushing their luck,
35 Year old Danny Baes has been very inconsistent his entire career
32 Year Old JC Romero has never been the same since his 50 Game Suspension for having illegal substances in his system
They let C Ho PArk walk last off-season, they let C Durbin walk this off-season and haven’t really replaced them with Proven pitchers
I think they may be better off at this point to use 1-2 of the young pitchers who pitched well in Springs (Stutes) instead of going out and getting re-tread
Another lingering injury for LIdge that no one has talked about is his bum left knee that swells up every season and effects his landing spot on he release thereby effecting his control.. I think Brad Lidge is too banged up tobe an effective Closer any longer…
My suggestion is still the same, convert SP Roy Oswalt into the CLosers role.. COme playoff time, if there is any for the PHils, you only need 3 Starters (Halladay,Lee,Hamels) and could use BLanton as a 4th or long relief,rain delay,etc,etc.. Roy OSwalt would be perfect in a closers role, has great command, 3 Quality pitches and the mental toughness to handle the pressure.. It would extend his career much like John Smoltz did a few years back..

March 30, 2011 10:56 am

I will usually pass on such things, just so you know. But “sneaking suspension?” Aye, yie, yie, G! See Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine! Suspicion!
Enough said. I’ll edit for you, G…for a pittance.

March 30, 2011 11:04 am

I’d like to have a veteran instead of Madson. I have just not seen the closer mentality from Madson. It burdens him. But if you lift that BURDEN from him, he pitches really, really well. Also, I do think that if Contrares does falter, we’ll see Madson a few times, with a few minor leaguers mixed in. I haven’t been able to convince myself that Madson can do it because I’ve seen him get the chance before and he’s turtled.
Hey, if he does get out there and has to do it, I hope he makes mince meat of my words, I really do. But for now, I’d rather have Contreras. And this is all from what I’ve read, and scantly seen in spring training.

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
March 30, 2011 11:27 am

Bullpen Blues have sunk Many teams…..Many.

March 30, 2011 11:34 am

The good thing is, with the work horse aces we have, we won’t need a bullpen.

March 30, 2011 11:52 am

Can’t count on that BOB,
With the light-hitting line-up the Phils will have in 2011, there will be lots of
1 to 2 run games and many times instead of Manuel maybe pinch-hitting in the
7th or 8th, Manuel may end up stayign with a Starter a little too long and by the end of the Season, those extra innings could catch up with them,..(Halladay is an exception of course and is a Horse)
But staying with Starters too long also affects double swtiches that could be made in the 7th/8th to get a better defensive players out on the field for
players like Ibanez, for the last 2 innings of a tight game..
I would take a strong Bullpen over a strong starting Staff any day.. Look at recent WS Winners… Giants, Phils when LIdge was dominant, Red Sox and the Yankees with Riveria.. It’s how Teams finish games come Playoff Time and finishing games are about the Bullpens, as opposed to the Starters
Oswalt,Hamels and Lee are 7 Inning Pitchers, going the Distance is not going to happen too often with them.. Blanton is a 5-6 Inning Pitcher

March 30, 2011 12:29 pm

Paulman…in one post Oswalt should be moved to the pen. Which with all due respect to you…it’s a stupid idea. Baseball people would not even consider it and the mountain air has effected your judgement. And in the next post you state Oswalt is a 7inning guy. Which is spot on and thats what he’ll be this year.

I actually have Oswalt to win the NL Cy this year. I think people are forgetting how kick a$$ thid dude was for years with a crappy Houston team putting up maybe 3 runs a game.He lost one start once he came over i think. Now i know lots are pretty down about this batting order…to that i say…WISE UP.We have All-Stars up and down this lin-up. And we’ll see what pitchers do when our starters are locking there team down by the 3rd and we’re figuring out the other teams pitcher.

Another key factor to think about this season is we’ll have #1 pitchers facing 4,5 guys on other squads.Advantage?

I like the Brave sand what they’ve put together….there pretty shoddy defensivly and some of there starters have been known to tank at some point in the season.Dont forget Chipper is 100 years old…i dont care how good a shape he’s in..let him get too July and see how he’s holding up.

March 30, 2011 12:37 pm

how many pitches have counted this year yet? Just checking.

March 30, 2011 12:50 pm

So you would take a staff with one solid starter and 3 so-so guys and a flat out bum no one wants with a bunch of stud in the pen over 4 studs and Fat Joe and a shakey pen?And how shakey are they? So it would be 6-2 by the time that awesome b.p gets to try and bail us out? Madson is a stud in that role….Contreras(as stated by Bugsyhawk above)is not a bum…he is older but would you want a young guy with no experience? The rest of the crew can be a problem but to me thats a question that will be slowly answered.

March 30, 2011 12:51 pm

Shiller…zero…your attitude is win sir.Go Phills.

March 30, 2011 1:04 pm

To Erock
The reason I pick Oswalt is that he has excellent command and doesn’t walk many hitters, he has the mental tioughness and he has comman of all 3 of his Pitches..He still throws hard but has that nasty Slidet and Curve that could be deadly pitch in a Closer’s role when he’s ahead of the count
and again, the only reason why I even mention this is that GM Amaro failed to improve the Bullpen this offseason which was a weakness in my opinion and there was plenty of good/proven closers availalbe this offseason and the Phils did zippo which now will proabbly come back and bite them..

March 30, 2011 1:09 pm

To Erock,
Also, besides R Howard, & Hallady on this 2011 Team
Who else is an All-Star for the Phils in 2011 ???
If your thinking Rollins,Victorino,Utley, your about 2 years too late…

March 30, 2011 1:20 pm

Continued to Erock

and yes I would take 4-5 Good Relief Pitchers over 4-5 good Starters
and especially with a National League team when Pinch-hitting, Double moves, come into play more than the wussy AL-DH league which I think is bush league, when you leave a Pitcher in a game even when your losing 4-2 since he doesn’t have to Bat..
I look at the Giants,Braves,Reds,all with superior Bullpens than the Phils have and in the AL, I see the Yankees,Red Sox,Rangers,Twins also with very good Bullpens..
This Phils offense is probably the weakest they have had in 4 years so they will be playing in a lot more 5-4, 4-3 and lower scoring 1 run games this year so I think the emphasis this off-season should have been to sure up the back end of the bullpen and going with a line-up of Herndon,Romero,Baes,Madson,COntreras,Lidge is not going to scare anyone.. Madson has the best stuff and should be the closer, but can he mentally handle it, he has shown so far that he can’t in previous years,,I think he can handle it, but the rest of them I think are nothing special and on borrowed time. I am not sure Romero,HErndon,Baes make many other PItching staffs .. Baes only because of his big $$ the Phils are paying him.. Romero been downhill since his suspension.. Herndon a journeyman at best Contreras is reliable but how much can you count on a 39 year old and being from Cuba, he may be really about 43 years old …

Cant Climb
Cant Climb
March 30, 2011 2:07 pm

Would love to Oswalt close. Just got work his arm into it….
Oswalt could be a 5-6 out coser in the playoffs.

March 30, 2011 4:00 pm

Thru one of my best sources, it was implied that the Phils are reaching out to
BIlly Wagner to see if he can give it 1 more shot,.even if it’s for the 2nd half of
Season to prepare for the home stretch….

March 31, 2011 11:31 am

Paulman: have you seen Contreras pitch? for you to say that Madsen has the best stuff shows what you know about this pitching staff, which is little. Contreras has BY FAR the best stuff of anyone in the bullpen and that includes Lidge even when 100% healthy. Contreras has 3 plus pitches, and was flat out dominant last year until he was overworked in the first half of the season. he has the perfect closers mentality and i would prefer he were the closer even if Lidge was healthy.

as far as Oswalt being the closer, first of all it’s not needed. secondly starters are more important than bullpen arms, and that’s not even debatable. for anyone to be worried about this bullpen at this point is foolish. Madsen and Contreras will be excellent as the set up/closer combo. JC Romero has pitched better this spring, and is more healthy than he has been at any point in the past 2 years. Bastardo is just freaking electric with his stuff and needs to grow into a role and get his experience. i will concede that he has high injury risk. Baez is a total question mark, has really good raw stuff but had no command last year.

with how good our starting pitching is, im not really concerned with the bullpen at all. you also have guys like Mathieson and Stutes waiting to be called up mid season that have 7th/8th inning stuff. there’s even an outside possibility that Phillipe Aumont could make it by the end of the year. he was beyond disappointing last year as a starter, but has looked absolutely unhittable this spring as a reliever, and again has phenomenal raw stuff with a hard late moving fastball/sinker and an excellent curve.

March 31, 2011 12:10 pm

To Hot97x,
I liked Contreras alot, I am just not sure how effective he can be as the full time closer, due to his age closing out games 4-5 times per week. If overused he won’t be as effective. I bet is you polled major leagur batters, most of them would prefer to face Contreras then Madson. Madson’ stuff when he is on, with that late breaking movment coming in hard in mid-90’s is very diffcult to handle for batters, His cut, back door breaking ball to lefties is as godo as MAriano Riveria when he has it working ..

March 31, 2011 5:03 pm

Braves 2 – Nationals 0 in Todays Opening game.
Starter D Lowe Pitches 5 1/3 innings and gives up 3 Hits and 0 Runs
The Braves Bullpen uses 4 Pitchers and gives up 0 Hits over the final 3 2/3 Innings.. Bullpens determine Winners and Losers in MLB

March 31, 2011 6:10 pm

The Braves won even before the BP appeared, Paulman. The Starters also are meant to pitch way more innings than the BP. Teams expect starters to go at least 6 innings of a game, and would love for at least 7, if not the whole game. Starters are way more important than relievers. Not even just for that either. Also because relievers are so unpredictable. Teams that have good relief staffs 1 year could have that same relief staff the very next and falter. More than 50% of relievers are inconsistent from year to year. You can’t say the same about starters.

Also, with the Phillies rotation, they are expected to go longer than 5 1/3 innings. That is their ace going 5 1/3 innings. LMAO at them. ALL of our starters should go at least 6 innings almost every start.

March 31, 2011 6:41 pm

Red 7 – Brewers 6 in today’s game
Reds Starter goes 6 innings leaving with a 5-2 Deficit
Reds Bulpen hold the Brewers offense to 1 run over the final 3 innings and mount a comeback win with 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win 7-6
Reds Bullpen (similar to Braves) is a very good one and the reason they won this games.. Bullpens win or lose games in the last 2-3 Innings of a Ballgame..
Braves,Reds,Giants bullpens are far superior to the Phils and thereby, will win more games than the Phils..

March 31, 2011 6:56 pm

You could also say that the Brewers good offense helped them get back into it. You have a 1 track mind.

March 31, 2011 10:43 pm

Padres 5 – Cardinals 3 in 11 Innings

Padres Bullpen gave up 1 Run over the final 5 innings again using 5 different Pitchers to win the game on the road vs the Cardinals.. Anyone seeing a pattern here… The teams with the Top Bullpens will make the deep playoff runs and right now the Phils have quite a few teams with much better Bullpens than them.. . .