MILWAUKEE - The Phillies wagered plenty on
in the off-season.
They acquired him from the Houston Astros in a November trade that allowed them to return Brett Myers to the rotation. It was a two-for-one deal that the Phillies hoped would strengthen their bullpen and rotation at the same time.
So far, Lidge has lived up to his expectations.
Entering last night, in nine appearances for the Phillies, Lidge had a 0.00 ERA and four saves. In nine innings, he had allowed four hits, two unearned runs and six walks, with 10 strikeouts.
"Each time he's been out he's been better," manager Charlie Manuel said before last night's 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Lidge looked his best in Tuesday's 9-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. He struck out two in a perfect ninth inning.
"I definitely felt like it was, if not my best, one of my best this year," said Lidge, who had pitched four of the previous five days. "Right now I feel like I'm starting to get back into pretty consistent form with my control. I think there have been a few games where my fastball has been up in the zone where I was able to get out of the inning without giving up any damage. Now I'm starting to feel like my control is a lot better."
In his last two appearances entering last night, Lidge had struck out four in two innings, yielding one hit and no walks.
"What I've done the last two games is I didn't walk the leadoff guy," Lidge said. "That's crucial for the closer to get that first out. If I can do that consistently, I'll be happy."
The Phillies' bullpen entered last night as the best in the National League with a 2.76 ERA. Only the Tampa Bay Rays (2.61 ERA) had a better bullpen in baseball.
"I think the bullpen has been great so far," Lidge said. "I'm excited to be part of our bullpen, because I think we have a chance to be pretty special."
"I think with him and keeping [Tom] Gordon healthy, [J.C.] Romero and [Ryan] Madson, we have a chance to be a pretty good bullpen from the seventh inning on," Manuel said.
'My fault,' Werth says
took the blame for last night's loss. He got caught stealing third base with no one out in the seventh inning and struck out with the game-tying run on third and one out in the ninth.
"I single-handedly gave the game away there," Werth said. "It's mainly my fault. I was on second there with the top of the order coming up. Not a good play. Instincts got the better of me there. I thought I saw something. Not exactly. Unfortunately, that one probably cost us the game."
Two batters later, Chase Utley singled to right. Werth might have scored.
Burrell ties record
solo homer in the sixth gave him 22 RBIs in April, which ties a franchise record for this month.
had 22 RBIs in April 1989.
who is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle, is scheduled to take batting practice today in Clearwater, Fla. Rollins is eligible to be activated from the DL on May 5, when the Phils will be in Arizona.
Benson is throwing
pitched to hitters yesterday in Clearwater and is scheduled to throw an extended spring-training game on Saturday.
The Milwaukee Brewers honored rightfielder
before the game with a highlight reel on the video board in center field. Jenkins, who received a standing ovation from fans before his first at-bat, played 10 seasons for the Brewers before he signed a two-year, $13 million contract with the Phillies in December.
Taking off in the outfield
The Phillies encountered an unusual sight Tuesday night at Coors Field: a woman running across the field in only jeans and a bra.
Players typically back away from such shenanigans, but Burrell took a step for a closer look as she ran into the arms of security personnel a few feet away. In center, Werth barely budged, covering his face with his glove to hide his laughter, as she took the walk of shame past him.
"It's one of the more unexpected things I've seen," Werth said. "Unusual. Funny. Definitely funny. I think she had a little too much to drink. The babbling as she walked by gave it away."
- Todd Zolecki