CHICAGO (AP) -One week into the season, the Houston Astros have a new closer.
Brad Lidge was demoted Monday in favor of Dan Wheeler, a move made one day after Lidge gave up five runs in two-third of an inning against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Lidge has saved 29 or more games in each of the last three seasons for Houston but had a 16.20 ERA and a blown save entering Monday's game against the Chicago Cubs. The Astros started the season with five losses in six games.
``I wrestled with this all of yesterday,'' manager Phil Garner said. ``I feel that I have to make this move for the benefit of the team. In the situation that we are in right now, we can't afford to lose any more ballgames late.''
Lidge was 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA and 32 saves in 38 chances last year.
``It was surprising, but not totally unjustified,'' he said. ``I understand that it's about results. Right now, my first two outings haven't been there.''
Lidge will be used in middle relief, and Garner left open the possibility Lidge could regain his job as closer.
``I don't know how much time this will take,'' Garner said. ``It may be that he throws three or four times and gets thrust back into the closing role.''
Wheeler is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three games.

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Braves vs. Dodgers Prediction Will the Dodgers snap a two-game losing skid versus the Braves when the two teams meet tonight at 9:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Nationals vs. D-Backs Prediction Will the Nationals rebound from last night's loss and beat the Diamondbacks tonight at 8:10PM ET?
Thumbnail Red Sox vs. Angels Prediction Will David Price and the Red Sox quiet the Angels' bats tonight at 9:07PM ET when the two teams meet again in Anaheim?
Thumbnail Yankees vs. Mariners Pick Can the New York Yankees pick up another win over the Seattle Mariners out west when the two meet up...
Thumbnail Pirates vs. Rockies Prediction Will the Pirates beat the Rockies and pick up their seventh consecutive win when the two teams meet at 8:10PM ET?

MLB Team Pages