Braves Beat Up on Lidge; Wife’s Escalade Beats Up Brett Myers

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As Brad Lidge’s ugly season marches on — if last year was “Lights Out,” this year is definitely “Come As You Are” — Phillies fans and writers can’t stop dreaming of alternatives. The Philadelphia Daily News‘ Paul Hagen, for example, nominates CSTB favorite Country Time.

That’d be Billy Wagner — the guy whose loss and blown save in two games against the Astros kept the Phillies from the wild card in 2005. And also the guy who helped the Phillies finish off a four-game sweep of New York back in August of 2007. Is it something about facing former teams? Guess not, since he was brutal in the ’06 NLCS as well.

Wagner also coughed up seven leads during 2008 before requiring surgery; Lidge has now blown eight. It all seems a pointless topic really – should Wagner do well with the Mets these next two weeks, a wild card contending team will waiver-claim him, and/or the Mets will want a real return (at least from Philadelphia). And if he doesn’t, then it’s moot.

Besides, the Phillies already have a former closer poised to come off the DL and play September hero. Because it isn’t just Brad Lidge’s pitching that is lacking — it’s also his personality. I mean, what’s the matter with this guy? He keeps coming out and talking to the press after every blown save or tough outing, including each of the last two nights. Not once has he physically threatened a beat writer, or even blown one off, as reigning World Series MVP Keanu Reeves seems prone to do. They taught him well at Notre Dame I guess.

Whereas Brett Myers, of course, is one of those public figures of whom you you can actually ask, “when did you stop – ok, “allegedly” stop – beating your wife?” and it’s not a “gotcha” question.

Which is why the news he’d miss a scheduled rehab start on Saturday was kind of a big story. It was first reported that he’d injured his left eye while playing catch with his four year-old son Kolt. Scott Boras tried to sign Kolt then and there, but soon the story changed – turns out Myers actually tripped out of the backseat of his wife’s Escalade while they were out for dinner.

More from MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

The Phillies said early Saturday that Myers suffered an eye injury while playing catch with his son, Kolt. But the Phillies later said Myers changed his story.

“I know exactly what people are going to think,” Myers said in a telephone interview Saturday evening with MLB.com.

In other words, they will think Myers was intoxicated….

And that’s why he said he initially told Brian Cammarota, who is the team’s Minor League athletics trainers and rehabilitation coordinator, that he got hit in the eye with a baseball. But Myers said soon after the first call to Cammarota, Kim urged him to call Cammarota back with the true story.

“I’m an idiot,” Myers said. “I’ve never felt so frickin’ embarrassed in my life.

First statement, agreed. Second statement, really? This was worse than the arrest?

Because I know my first thought wasn’t, “oh, Brett must have lied because he got a little drunk.” I also didn’t figure that he had a power-washing accident. No, when someone who was once arrested for domestic violence turns up with a shiner and is less than truthful about how he got it, your first thought’s probably gonna be… domestic violence. Especially when Myers’ wife, having refused to testify against him in 2006, said back then she started it (“I became upset with him and I pushed him away from me”).

The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Andy Martino did acknowledge all this history, and even called the local sheriff’s office to make sure there hadn’t been an incident report (they did not return his call). His colleague Jim Salisbury also interviewed Kim Myers:

“No, I did not hit him with a frying pan,” Kim Myers (above) said, with a laugh, while teasing her husband for being a “klutz.”

Well, okay then. I’ll take the whole thing at face value for the sake of making several other points.

First, if you’re described on a 911 tape as “smacking a girl around…he’s a pretty big guy… and he’s hitting her hard,” but you can also hit a home run off C.C. Sabathia, hey, it’s all good, dude! Granted, Myers received legal vindication, while Michael Vick did not, but now that he’s served his time, methinks the Eagles new QB is one long “Wildcat” TD run away from feeling more accepted in his new hometown.

Second, I guess we are supposed to view Brett Myers as a guy with focus problems, anger issues and a boys-will-be-boys penchant to throw back a few too many until Boston gave him the big wake-up call. That probably pisses off domestic violence advocates, but let’s just stick to baseball here. THAT’s the guy who’s gonna stabilize the Phillies bullpen? I know closers can be crazy, and Myers was a decent – if not perfect – closer in 2007, but I’m not sure I feel any better about him facing Manny or Albert Pujols in a playoff game than I do Lidge. Whether he’s getting arrested, threatening a writer, being sent down to the minors or enjoying a night out in Jacksonville, volatility and drama follow #39 around.

4 Responses to “Braves Beat Up on Lidge; Wife’s Escalade Beats Up Brett Myers”

  1. Chuck Meehan says:

    Lidge was quoted this morning as saying he feels fine and that balls that bounced the right way last year werent bouncing the right way as of late.
    It was suggested that the outcome could have been different if Utley made the play for the first out, but that does not explain him walking a batter and then giving up the game winning hit. It also doesnt explain the 2 very loud outs and a man in scoring position in Fridays nights game, nearly throwing a ball away the last time he had to field a play and throw to first and his near constant allowing of runners to get on base and failure to hold them to the bag. Its getting to the point where Uncle Cholly is going to have to make a decision and stick with it as you really want the roles settled for the September stretch (and post-season, even if it is not a given at this point). Being that the Phils still have a slight cushion at this point, I would give Lidge a few more outings to see whether he can get it together or if he should lose the closer role and give it another try next season. In the meantime, I would like to see UC stop using Lidge in non-save situations just to give him work. As scary as Lidge has been in save situations, he is almost always a disaster in non-save situations (and this was also the case last year) and if he is having some confidence issues, shaky outings in these low leverage situations is only going to make things worse. As goofy and knuckleheaded as Myers is, I will feel far more comfortable with him in the closers slot if Lidge cant get it together and am not too juiced about suggestions that they should experiment with Park or even Martinez as closers in the thick of a playoff race or post-season….oh yeah, Hagens Wagner suggestion is ridiculous for obvious reasons and Hagens credibility never was too high to begin with for all those years of being Ed Wades apologist in the Philly print media.

  2. Brad C says:

    I remember what happened last time we wnated Lidge out- madson had as bad, if not worse, time at clsoing then Lidge did. Until Meyers comes back, if he does come back, we have to deal. And I knowi that loss against the Braves was technically Lidge’s fault, but the Phils had guys on 3rd in 3 seperate innings with 0 or 1 outs and could not bring home any more runs

  3. Jason Cohen says:

    Pedro still seems like a pretty appealing option to me. He’s simply not going to be a starter in the playoffs (assuming all form/health holds), so, then, where does he go? Long relief?

    I actually think the whole thing is overblown. Phils have a better record this year with an awful closer. Does that mean they should be winning 100 games with a good one? Maybe. But if the team/Charlie didn’t have such a tendency to go with tightly defined roles, I’d be fine with no roles. Rays had no closer in WS last year and they didn’t blow any saves against the Phillies (They did lose two games in middle relief/set-up innings and it’s not hard to imagine Durbin or Romero doing that this time around). And these past three weeks the Phillies have shown us how they can lose games not needing the closer and win games not needing the closer. Honestly, if Lidge hadn’t had such a bad run before the DL, if it was just any decent closer, the combo of the all-star break and the fact that he only got to pitch in a save situation once in three weeks would be legitimate reasons to loose sharpness. I understand why Charlie is sticking with him, every time he hits 94 or throws the perfect slider, it looks like he’s about to turn the corner. But, clearly he hasn’t. At the same time, seems like closers are blowing big saves in big games all the time this month. At some point the difference between the guy who blows five saves and the guy who blows 10 saves probably is luck, both the good kind where you get saves despite not pitching well and the vice-versa.

    I’d be willing to give Madson another look as well because you’d have Myers and Lidge to pick up the slack in set-up (hard to say whether there’s any real validity to notion that Lidge pitches poorly because they are meaningless situations, but would he also pitch poorly in the 7th inning of a 3-2 game? He might, inasmuch as he can in the 9th inning of a 3-2 game). And yeah, really, I’d give Myers a shot too. I just don’t like rooting for him.

    But I still give Charlie some credit for his convictions (or if you prefer, hubris) because I still think it’s just as likely, if it’s 4-3 in a Game 6 against the Dodgers, that Myers or Pedro or Madson could get rocked as easily as Lidge. At this point if Lidge is on the mound Charlie looks bad and everybody says I told you so but if it’s someone else would it feel any better?

  4. Chuck Meehan says:

    “…because I still think it’s just as likely, if it’s 4-3 in a Game 6 against the Dodgers, that Myers or Pedro or Madson could get rocked as easily as Lidge”

    I disagree. At this point Lidge is the last person I want to see in a high leverage situation and he is more likely to get rocked or merely leak a run than nearly every member of the bullpen. He has been horrific and there just doesnt seem to be an end to it. Now, the Phils first have to get to this theoretical playoff scenario and at this point, the playoffs are still not a given. Perhaps the Phils starting pitching and bats can minimize the amount of 1-run save situations for the remainder of the regular season, but when push comes to shove, I want a ninth inning pitcher who can perform his task. If Lidge leaks a run or 2 in the 7th, there is still 2-3 more chances for the Phillies to catch up, when run(s) are given up in
    the 9th, the result is a blown save or loss. I just want to see this settled before the final stretch and have it ascertained who may be most capable of closing if/when playoff time comes and at this point Lidge is at the bottom of the list. I have confidence in Charlie Manuel and if Jamie Moyer can be sent to the bullpen for ineffectiveness, I trust that UC will remove Lidge if he continues to fail.

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