Blogging About Baseball

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Will the real Brad Lidge please stand up?

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One of Blogging About Baseball’s first posts was about Brad Lidge’s consecutive saves streak ending against the San Diego Padres on April 18. Retardedly, I wrote that the botched opportunity came against the Florida Marlins. Talk about a good start (for both Lidge and myself).

After blowing that save, Lidge had three successful outings. He gave up no runs in any of them and he looked like he would recover just fine. It appeared as though his A.P.M.M.H.B.A.N.I.C.P. (Albert Pujols Made Me His Bitch And Now I Can’t Pitch) Syndrome was in remission.

Lidge has been anything but lights out.

Since those three outings, however, Lidge’s 2009 been a different story.

The once-perfect Philadelphia Phillie’s closer has given up runs in six consecutive appearances. During that time frame, he’s converted one save against the Dodgers and also blew one against the lowly Washington Nationals. His ERA stands at a bloated 9.19 while his K/9 rate is down and his BB/9 is up. Through only 15 innings this year, he already has 10 walks and only 17 strikeouts.

Lidge’s best seasons begin when he’s dominating, not when he’s struggling like this. In 2004, he killed National League hitters as the Houston Astro’s setup man and then closer. He carried that momentum into 2005 and became one of the elite. Each year, he blew just four saves.

Scarily enough, the start to Lidge’s 2009 eerily resembles his start to 2006.

  • Both seasons are earmarked by a “catastrophe” of sorts. In 2006, it was the Pujols’s homerun in the 2005 National League Championship Series. In 2009, it was the end of his 47-opportunities-long saves streak.
  • Lidge is also issuing walks this year at a rate not seen since 2006. Through all of April and May 2004, Lidge issued 11 walks. In 2005, just nine. In 2006, generally considered the start of his downturn, he issued 19. The 15 he’s issued already through these first two months promises to be extremely similar.
  • Lidge has already given up more homeruns to start the season than any other April/May in his career. In 2005, Lidge gave up five homeruns all year. In 2008, Lidge gave up two homeruns all year. He’s already up to five this year and is halfway to his season high of ten, set strangely enough in 2006.

As you can probably tell, I’m not looking for Brad Lidge to have a great 2009. No, I haven’t used statistics like BABIP or FIP or any of that crap, but it’s easy to tell from his indicators that he’s not all there. There’s no denying that Lidge is a great pitcher when he’s on, but once something rattles him, he becomes a completely different player. I’m looking for that different guy to come out in 2009.


2 Responses

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  1. Fine article. Lidge blew another vs Dodgers Friday and here he comes in Saturday. Oops. Two blown saves in two days in a series the Phils shoulda swept.

    When will the great Chollie Manuel stop blowing games in the ninth? With an average reliever the Phils would be 4-5 games better so far.

    tony silva

    June 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm

  2. I don’t know, but it looks like my prediction was right: This is not going to be a good year for Brad Lidge.

    Thanks for checking out the site.


    June 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm

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