Pirates Naughty With Lidge; Get Cole in Their Stocking

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You see what happens when you don’t put Brad Lidge in?!

…is what every Phillies blog would say if it were the reason we won last night.  No sir, or ma’am, it was thanks to the heroics of Ryan Howard, a guy who, let’s face it, is pretty questionable in the clutch.   But the big guy delivered tonight, and it’s all we can really ask of him.

Ryan Madson proved that you can close the door, but a solid pitcher can dead bolt it.

In that vein, tonight we’ll see another one of our hit-erasing starters take the mound, and as the innings go by, we’ll have to wonder who will be on the mound after Happ has given us his all and what they will do to ruin everything.

Does Manuel have the balls to stick Lidge back out there?  If he’s got the balls to claim loyalty to him in public, then yeah, probably.

Did Madson’s ruination of our (Pathetic) one-run lead buy him a chance to try again tonight?

Maybe we’ll get lucky and Happ will decide he can pitch all nine innings.  Maybe all of the starters realize how futile it is to assume the lead they build is safe and start taking matters into their own arms.

It could be the only answer for a problem that is just not being addressed.

We can’t fix the bullpen by having stellar starters and powerful offense (because either one of those could just as easily have an off night).  If we could, this wouldn’t really be an issue.

The sympathy for last night rests with Cole.  The guy pitched  a hell of a game, which was even greater to see because of his recent struggles.  8 IP, 7 K, 0 R?  That’s a solid start, and an inning away from a solid finish.

He definitely had his way with the Pirates lineup, including a particularly satisfying pickoff of Andrew McCutchen to remind the little fella he’s still human.  And a Pirate.

Whose turn will it be tonight?  Who will get the ball as Happ walks off the mound in the 7th or 8th, a few runs ahead, and sweating not only because of the humid Steel City evening?

Whose questionable arm will be holding the baseball as poor J.A. sits in the dugout, accepting congratulatory handshakes and trying to smile?

Durbin?  Park?  Because if the Pirates see Lidge coming in, there will be an immense wave of relief cast over one of the dugouts in PNC Park.

But unlike last year, it won’t be ours.

If this series has taught us (me) anything, its that you can’t count out the Pirates.  Or at least, you can’t count ON Brad Lidge.

…again.

Photo courtesy of http://image.examiner.com/images

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