Mix-and-match relief working for Phillies
Lidge sporting newfound confidence at back end of 'pen
LOS ANGELES -- Rick Pitino once attempted to motivate his struggling Boston Celtics team by reminding them that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish weren't going to be walking into the clubhouse to save the day.
Still proving that they aren't fully confident that Lidge has definitely turned the corner, the Phillies displayed the uncertainty of their bullpen by having both right-hander Joe Blanton and left-hander Scott Eyre warm up in the bullpen before the first pitch of the ninth inning was thrown."Lidge is always ... actually if we pin down one closer, it's always been Lidge," said Manuel after seeing his veteran right-hander lock down the all-important Game 1 victory in this best-of-seven series. Despite the fact that he surrendered four hits and allowed two runs while attempting to protect a four-run lead in the eighth inning, Madson seemingly got the biggest out of the night when he got Manny Ramirez, who represented the go-ahead run, to direct an inning-ending groundout to third baseman Pedro Feliz. "We got outs when we had to, and really I felt like Madson did a great job of getting Manny Ramirez out, but at the same time Madson had to go that far," Manuel said. After Cole Hamels began to falter in the fifth inning and then was chased in the sixth, Manuel once again went into the mix-and-match mode that he's successfully utilized over the past week. Left-hander J.A. Happ, who ranks with Blanton as the top candidates to start Monday's Game 4, was brought in to face Jim Thome in the sixth inning. Thome drew a walk to load the bases with two outs, but Happ then ended the threat with a Rafael Furcal groundout. Having pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot in the top half of the inning, the Phillies called upon rookie southpaw Antonio Bastardo to begin the bottom of the seventh against Andre Ethier's dangerous left-handed bat.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.