Monday, February 25, 2008
Brad Lidge, the Phillies new closer, injured himself over the weekend and is scheduled to have surgery on his surgically repaired knee, a procedure which is expected to keep Lidge out of the Phillies bullpen for six weeks, making it likely that Lidge will miss the Phillies season opener against the Washington Nationals on March 31st, as well as a few games in the first week or two of the season. While this doesn't bode well for the Phillies season, it isn't the end of the world.
Wisely, the Phillies haven’t panicked by routing Brett Myers back to the bullpen as they did last season. Instead, the Phillies have announced that Tom Gordon will take over the closer duties until Lidge returns from surgery.
Gordon, who lost the closer’s job last season to Myers after he blew three of his first seven save opportunities in April, spent much of the 2007 season on the injury list. When Gordon returned late in the season he mostly was the set-up guy for Myers. In September in particular Gordon pitched well: he appeared in 18 games, threw sixteen innings and struck out thirteen, allowing just three walks and a single home run. His ERA for the month was 3.94. It was the exceptional play of Gordon, Myers, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson, the Phillies much-maligned bullpen, that was one of the major reasons why the Phillies were able to catch up to the Mets and capture the N.L. East last season.
This season will be the 40-year old pitcher’s 19th MLB season in a career that stretches back to Kansas City (the team he began with in 1988), the Houston Astros, the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees and Red Sox. Gordon may not be the flashiest or most overpowering pitcher on the mound, but he’s good about getting hitters to hit the ball on he ground – 1.34 groundball/flyball ratio in 2007 and 1.41 in 2006 – and he always strikes out many more guys than he walks – 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2007, and 3.09 in 2006.
Take a deep breath Phillies fans. They’ll be fine.
im glad the one other comment is from a troll lookin for a plug!