SAN FRANCISCO -- A day later, Phillies closer Brad Lidge still wasn't surprised that he was left sitting in the bullpen with Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on the line Wednesday.
A fresh Lidge was left out while Roy Oswalt, only three days removed from an eight-inning start in Game 2 and only a few hours removed from a between-starts bullpen session, worked the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied at 5. Oswalt was manager Charlie Manuel's choice over right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who has not pitched since Oct. 1 and wasn't even on the Phils' Division Series roster, left-hander J.C. Romero, who might have been a poor fit against that right-handed portion of the Giants' lineup, and Lidge, who was being stashed for a save situation that never came. San Franciso rallied for two singles and a sacrifice fly off Oswalt and won, 6-5.
But Lidge still thought it was the right call.
"It's pretty much a standard closer recipe," Lidge said.
That recipe goes like this: At home, you can use your closer in the ninth inning of a tie game because you can win without facing a save situation. On the road, you wait.
"That's kind of the way we've always handled it," Lidge said. "Charlie is not one to panic and change things. He keeps things going the way they've gone right for us, and that's what we did [Wednesday] night. And it just didn't work out last night, but it wasn't a bad idea. I mean, it was great to see Roy go in that game."
Sticking to that long-held baseball convention may have especially fit for Lidge, who, unlike Giants closer Brian Wilson, is a one-inning pitcher. Lidge has not worked more than one inning since 2007, when he was with the Astros.
So even if Lidge had worked a scoreless ninth and the Phillies pushed ahead in the 10th, he might have been finished. That would have left Manuel to choose Romero, Kendrick or perhaps Oswalt for a save situation.
-- Adam McCalvy