By Robert H. Kelly
(Houston, TX-April 8, 2007) Houston Astros manager Phil Garner has stated pitcher Brad Lidge is his relief pitcher. Some have questioned that statement but I for one, think it is not in the best interest of reporting to second guess a manager. He knows more about the team than someone sitting in front of a computer screen.
Writers have the luxury of being able to sit back and analyse a manager's decisions. A writer can only guess the intensity of the pressure that any baseball manager feels when he makes player decisions.
With that being said, I didn't write anything about Lidge sub-par performance on opening day. After today's disaster in 2/3 of the ninth inning, I feel it is my job as a writer to look at the facts and make some observations.
Today, Lidge was tagged for five runs, two of those earned, on a three-run double by Scott Rolen and a two-run double by Yadier Molina. He also walked two batters and raised his ERA to 16.20.
Combine that with his performance on opening day, where he pitched one inning, giving up two hits, one run (earned), a homerun and a walk, while striking out only a single batter and it seems to me this guy is not earning his paycheck.
He is making $5,350,000 this season. One would think that he would out a bit more effort into a performance. I realize he is playing to his ability, but to receive that kind if money and to play as he has in his past two outings is nothing short of criminal.
If he doesn't get his act together, he needs to load his gear on the train and get Junction Jack to haul his "sub-par" butt to Round Rock, Corpus Christi, or some other minor league team.
I don't think he is trade material, because what Major League team would want him? He has a one year contract with the Astros and that may be one year too much.
He needs to "shape up or ship out." Garner and the fans will not wait much longer for him to find his groove and start earning that 5.35 million dollar paycheck.