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GM Ruben Amaro told the media today that Roy Halladay will be given all the time he needs to get back on track, which isn’t all that surprising considering the source. Manager Charlie Manuel likened his patience with Halladay to his devotion to closer Brad Lidge back in 2009. Via Todd Zolecki:
“You guys used to get on me about Brad Lidge,” he said, referring to Lidge’s 2009 season when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 11 blown saves. “I used to look down there, and to me Brad Lidge was probably the best I had. If I was going to lose the game it was going to be Brad Lidge. I was committed to Brad Lidge. If I commit to you then I commit to you. And whatever happens is going to happen. That’s kind of how I look at it.”
They say that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Lidge cost the Phillies Game Four of the 2009 World Series, allowing three runs in the ninth inning as the Yankees took a 3-1 series lead. Lidge was awful throughout the regular season as well, finishing with a 7.21 ERA backed by a career-low strikeout rate and a career-high walk rate. Lidge pitched in the ninth or otherwise finished the game in all but two of his 67 outings, blowing saves in 11 of them. The Phillies, at any point, could have handed the closer role to Ryan Madson but never did, instead choosing to watch Lidge fail time after time in high-leverage situation after high-leverage situation.
The 2013 Phillies don’t have anywhere near the wiggle room that the 2009 team enjoyed. There is a time and a place for player loyalty, such as when you are the class of the National League with an eight-game division lead entering September as in 2009. This — arguably fourth-best in the NL East with high injury probability and a relative lack of talent — is not one of those times. Halladay can still work on finding himself without costing his team games.