Good Signs from Lidge?
Brad Lidge threw perfect innings Friday and Sunday to pick up saves against Atlanta, and with a little more than a month to play before the postseason, the Phillies are hoping they see more of that the rest of the way.
Because the Lidge they have seen for most of 2009 could bring heartache in the playoffs.
Lidge’s struggles have been well documented, but from a historical perspective they are even more jarring. MLB.com researched and found there have been just six relief pitchers in baseball’s modern era who have seen their ERAs jump five or more earned runs in consecutive seasons with 40 or more appearances in each season.
Lidge is trying to avoid becoming the seventh:
- Mike Flanagan (a 5.67 ERA increase): The American League Cy Young winner with Baltimore in 1978 sported a 2.38 ERA in 64 appearances with the Orioles in 1991. He had an 8.05 ERA in 42 appearances in 1992.
- Mike DeJean (5.38): He carried a 3.03 ERA in 59 appearances with the Rockies in 1998, but had an 8.41 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
- Gene Nelson (5.27): Nelson, who won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, had a 1.57 ERA in 51 appearances with the A’s in 1990, but had a 6.84 ERA in 44 appearances in 1991.
- Vic Darensbourg (5.15): He had a 3.68 ERA in 59 appearances with Florida in 1998, but had an 8.83 ERA in 56 appearances in 1999.
- Derrick Turnbow (5.13): He sported a 1.74 ERA in 62 appearances as Milwaukee’s closer in 2005, but had a 6.87 ERA in 49 appearances in 2006, when he made the NL All-Star team.
- Ron Davis (5.11): The 1981 American League All-Star with the Yankees carried a 3.48 ERA in 57 appearances with Minnesota in 1985, but had an 8.59 ERA in 53 appearances in 1986.
Lidge is 0-6 with a 7.03 ERA and has 27 saves in 36 opportunities. His ERA is the highest of any relief pitcher in baseball. His nine blown saves and his 75 percent save completion are the worst in the Majors. Last year he went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season and 0-0 with a 0.96 ERA and seven saves in seven opportunities in the playoffs.
Lidge’s turnaround could be dependent on one thing: the command of his fastball. Those who have seen him this year and those who watched him struggle in Houston say the same thing: he needs to command his fastball.
The Phillies have recalled left-hander Jack Taschner, their first move since rosters expanded.
The Dodgers got Jim Thome before last night’s midnight trade deadline. Thome called Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti before the trade and said, “Uh, you know I can’t play first base anymore, right?” Colletti said that is fine. The Dodgers are looking at Thome as a power bat to come off the bat in the late innings.
I think they’re still having nightmares of Matt Stairs‘ homer in Game 4 of the NLCS.
I kid, but that’s a heck of a weapon to have the rest of the season. And should the Dodgers make the World Series, they have one of the best designated hitters in baseball in their lineup in the AL park.
Carlos Carrasco makes his big-league debut tonight for the Indians.