Results tagged ‘ Brad Lidge ’

… Two Aces to Go

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Have to wonder what the Braves are thinking after losing tonight to the Phillies, 3-1.

In the past, they might have said, “Well, we’ve got Cole Hamels out of the way. Now we can get after (insert names here) tomorrow and Wednesday.” Except this time (insert names here) are Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. That cannot be a comforting feeling knowing the Phillies hold a four-game lead in the NL East with just 11 games to play.

“You never want to feel comfortable in this game or relaxed, but I think at the same time, if there’s ever a time when you feel confident with where you’re at, that’s got to be right now considering what we’ve done the last two months to catch the Braves and go ahead a little bit,” Brad Lidge said. “Yes, if they do their thing and we all take care of our business then I like our chances a lot.”

A few things about tonight:

  • Hamels is 6-3 with a 1.74 ERA in 14 starts since July 10, which is the second-best ERA in baseball in that span. (Only Seattle’s Felix Hernandez has been better with a 1.59 ERA). Hamels also is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA in his last five starts. The guy is pitching with tons of confidence right now. He worked out of a serious jam in the second inning. He is confident throwing any of his four pitches for strikes. He is looking tough.
  • Lidge looked nasty in the ninth inning. He is 0-0 with a 0.91 ERA and 14 saves in 15 chances since July 31. It is such a huge boost to the bullpen to have Lidge throwing well. If Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt can give the Phillies seven or eight innings, Charlie Manuel has to feel pretty good going with Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras and Chad Durbin in the late innings.
  • The magic number is eight.
  • Not sure how I feel about Red Man running onto the field. On one hand, I hate these people because they are idiots. Idiots. On the other hand, I loved seeing Matt Diaz trip up the guy as he avoided ballpark security (Get those security guys cleats!) and seeing Diaz smile as Phillies fans in left field cheered him. Red Man, you are no Green Man!

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Hamels Sharp, Lidge Sharp

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Leaving Sun Life Stadium in a few minutes, but I thought I’d pass along a few Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge notes:

  • Hamels is 5-3 with a 1.79 ERA in his last 13 starts, and has allowed just one run in his last 31 2/3 innings. “It seems like he’s the Cole of ’06, ’07, ’08,” Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla said. “He’s been lights out this year.”
  • Hamels threw a career-high 127 pitches, so he said an extra day of rest before Monday’s start against Atlanta will be beneficial.
  • Hamels snapped his streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings when he allowed a run in the first inning.
  • His 13 strikeouts were the most for a Phillies pitcher since he struck out 13 Marlins on June 11, 2008.
  • He has 201 strikeouts this season, which is tied with Roy Halladay for second in the National League.
  • Lidge had not pitched since Sept. 6, but threw a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 22nd save. Lidge had missed a couple days because of a hyperextended right elbow. He said he felt fine.
  • Lidge is 0-0 with a 0.52 ERA and 12 saves in 13 opportunities in 18 appearances since July 31. In 17 1/3 innings, he has allowed just seven hits, two runs, one earned run and three walks. He has struck out 18 and opponents have hit just .119 against him.

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J.C. Ramirez, one of the three guys in the Cliff Lee trade, had surgery on his right hip last week. I’ll have more on this tomorrow, and how the early returns are not good with Phillippe Aumont‘s demotion to Class A Clearwater and Tyson Gillies‘ hamstring injuries and arrest for a felony cocaine possession.

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Call me crazy, but this photo of Hamels reminded me of the fight scenes in the Batman TV show, where they shot everything on an angle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here and go to the 2:35 mark.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lidge Has Sore Elbow, Hopes to Be Back Friday


Thumbnail image for lidge 0808 2010.jpgBrad Lidge
said last night he is unconcerned about his ailing right elbow and should be ready to pitch Friday.

But the fact the elbow is hurting should cause some concern.

It is the same elbow that required surgery following the 2009 season and two cortisone shots earlier this year. Lidge said he hyperextended the elbow Saturday during a save against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. He pitched through the pain Monday in a save against the Florida Marlins, but said three consecutive days off should be enough to get him healthy.

“There’s a little bit of pain there,” he said. “We wanted to rest it today, tomorrow and an off day (Thursday). I’ll definitely be back for sure on Friday. It’s different from what I’ve had before and it’s really not bad at all. Instead of trying to throw through it in pain and maybe making it worse, they wanted to give me two days.”

Lidge is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 21 saves in 41 appearances this season. He has a 0.55 ERA and 11 saves in 12 opportunities since July 31. In 16 1/3 innings, he has allowed seven hits, two runs, one earned run and three walks and has struck out 18. Opponents have hit just .125 against him in that stretch.

Lidge said a team doctor examined him last night, confirmed the diagnosis and said “hopefully a couple days and you’ll be right back.”

He said a MRI is not scheduled.

“It really is minor,” he said. “If we had blown them out tonight and maybe tomorrow night it’s one of those things where I could have sneaked through the cracks.”

But with the Phillies holding a three-run lead in the eighth inning, Charlie Manuel started the inning with Jose Contreras, who allowed three hits and one home run. J.C. Romero followed. He walked one batter and balked the tying run to third base. Ryan Madson took over, but his wild pitch allowed the tying run to score.

Madson remained in the game and pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the win. Had Lidge been healthy, Madson would have started the eighth and Lidge would have pitched the ninth.

“I’ll play catch tomorrow and hopefully it will be better,” Lidge said. “Day off on Thursday and ready to roll on Friday.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Turning Things Around?

lidge 0808 2010.jpgBrad Lidge‘s last five appearances have been big for him.

He has allowed just two hits, no walks and has struck out four in 4 1/3 innings. Most important, he is 4-for-4 in save opportunities.

In 13 appearances from June 19 to July 31, Lidge went 1-1 with an 8.49 ERA and six saves in 10 opportunities. He allowed 13 hits and 11 walks and struck out 14 in 11 2/3 innings in that stretch. That did not inspire much confidence in Phillies fans, who watched Lidge suffer terribly last season.

“I feel great,” Lidge said after picking up the save today against the Mets. “I feel like I have my best control. Really, since the All-Star break I’ve felt pretty good. I had an off game in Washington (on July 31, when he allowed three runs in 1/3 inning). But I’ve been able to put the ball on both sides of the plate. I think that’s the key.”

Lidge also said consistent work is key, and he has gotten that recently.

But we’ll have to see more from Lidge to know if this is an upward trend or just a flash. (He had similar flashes last season, but eventually reverted to his struggles.) Lidge isn’t throwing as hard as he has in the past, but if he can command his pitches maybe he can enjoy the success of a younger Lidge, who threw in the upper 90s.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Shades of 2009

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Brad Lidge‘s blown save tonight in a 7-5 loss to the Nationals stirred more memories of his nightmarish 2009, when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities (73.8 percent). But Charlie Manuel wasted no time in his post game news conference telling folks Lidge is his guy.

“He’s our closer,” he said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him. He has his moments.”

Lidge, who is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities (71.4 percent) this season, allowed a leadoff single to Michael Morse and walked Adam Kennedy with one out when he threw a 92 mph fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who crushed the ball to center field for a three-run home run to win the game. Lidge said he shook off catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw the 2-1 pitch inside because he had success with that pitch against Zimmerman in the past.

Manuel said the Phillies have to keep working with Lidge. Why?

“Because that’s what we’ve got,” Manuel said.

The Phillies picked up Astros ace Roy Oswalt before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, but did not address a bullpen that entered the night ranked 10th in the National League with a 4.11 ERA. The Minnesota Twins got Nationals closer Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26 saves) before the deadline, although it required their top prospect. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Octavio Dotel (2-2, 4.28 ERA, 21 saves) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players. (Had the Phillies not traded Cliff Lee, perhaps they could have swung a prospect or two to get somebody like Capps or Dotel, right?)

Internal options? Ryan Madson has struggled as a closer, converting 18 of 24 save opportunities in his career. The Phillies said Danys Baez could be an option when they signed him to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, but he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA and has not pitched recently in many close situations. Jose Contreras might be the best option. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and three saves in three opportunities this year as closer.

“I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years,” said Manuel, when asked about Madson. “I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: ‘Guys don’t know their roles.’ I can go on all night now. Let’s just drop it right there.”

Lidge’s fastball this season has averaged just 92.5 mph, according to fangraphs.com. That is the lowest average of his career. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph in 2009, 94.3 mph in 2008 and 95.2 mph or better from 2004-07 with the Houston Astros. As his fastball has lost velocity, so has the separation in mph between his fastball and slider. He had 7.8 mph of separation between his fastball and slider this season, 8.2 mph in 2009 and 9.2 mph in 2008.

“I’m a guy that in the past has thrown 95, 96,” Lidge said. “This year I’m learning to pitch with a little bit less on my fastball. You don’t want to pay too much attention to it because you want to execute your pitches … it’s something I’ve got to learn to pitch with.”

Lidge, who had offseason elbow and knee surgeries, said he is not sure why his velocity is down, but said he is healthy.

“I don’t feel hurt or anything,” he said. “To me it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal of. It’s something I need to be able to pitch with. My rehab outings all the way through, it’s kind of stayed the same. If it’s not going to get back to the 94, 95 as it has in the past, then I’ve got to pitch with what I’ve got.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Area Man Helps Local Nine Win Big, Closer Struggles

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Needed that one.

Brian Schneider hits a game-winning solo homer to right field in the 12th inning last night to beat the Reds, 4-3. The Phillies hope they can finish the weekend strong, lick their wounds over the All-Star break and come back ready for their annual second-half push.

But red lights are flashing again in the ninth inning. Brad Lidge blew another save. He is 1-0 with an 11.57 ERA and one save in four opportunities in his last five appearances. The Phillies got to the World Series last season with Lidge struggling. It is hard to imagine they go back with him struggling like that again. The odds are just against it.

The Phillies are looking for pitching help, more than infield help because they except their big boppers to start hitting and because they expect Placido Polanco to be back soon. Say the Phillies can only improve one area. Do they go for the rotation or bullpen? I might go bullpen. Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels have been solid atop the rotation. Jamie Moyer, except for a few starts, has been solid. I’ve got to think Joe Blanton will turn things around. J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick can be a fifth starter. (Plus, Pedro Martinez is still out there.) But the Phillies don’t want to go through the same dance as last season, not knowing if they can rely on Lidge in the ninth inning. It would be nice to have a backup plan. Ryan Madson hasn’t handled that role well. Danys Baez was supposed to be an option, but Charlie Manuel has made him a mop up man lately.

Thoughts?

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I will be signing copies of my book Saturday from 4-4:45 p.m. during Pigapalooza at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lidge Back on DL

Brad Lidge is back on the DL.

He has had inflammation in his right elbow since he pitched Sunday against Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park. A MRI on Thursday in Philadelphia revealed no loose bodies or damaged ligaments, which the Phillies and Lidge considered good news. But the MRI still showed inflammation in the elbow joint.

They hoped rest would make it go away. It never did, so the Phillies announced after today’s 10-6 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park that they had placed him on the 15-day DL. They recalled Antonio Bastardo from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place.

“This isn’t something we didn’t anticipate,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “Based on the way he threw today we decided this is the action to take.”

Lidge, who still felt stiffness in his arm playing catch before the game, can be activated as early as May 25.

“It is disappointing, but also the doctors said it’s definitely a possibility because we didn’t treat it at all,” Lidge said. “We just gave it a couple days rest. There are treatments we can give for it, hopefully, exactly what we need. It’s frustrating didn’t go away on its own.”

Two options for Lidge are a second cortisone injection – he received his first in March – and a joint lubricant injection.

He said they will make that decision Monday in Philadelphia.

“We didn’t want to do it yet,” Lidge said of any injections. “We wanted to see if it would recover on its own in a couple days. We didn’t get there. … We had a cortisone shot in March and that worked really good. Hopefully, that’ll be what it needs to get over the hump.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lidge Gets MRI, No Structural Damage, Day-to-Day

Brad Lidge is not headed to the DL, at least for now.

Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti examined him today at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Lidge, who has experienced stiffness in his right elbow since he pitched Sunday, had a gadolinium MRI. The Phillies said it revealed no loose bodies and no structural damage. They also said his flexor pronator surgery, which he had in November, is healing properly.

The MRI revealed inflammation in the lining of his elbow joint.

They said he is day-to-day.

Lidge, 33, is 0-0, 2.70 ERA with one save in four relief appearances this season.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Lidge Has Stiffness in Right Elbow


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lidge 0923.jpgCharlie Manuel
said before last night’s game that he was ready to turn Brad Lidge loose.

But after the 9-5 victory over Colorado he said he wanted to stay away from him in the ninth inning.

“Lidge can pitch,” Manuel said. “More than likely he’ll be ready tomorrow. He’s OK.”

So what changed in a matter of hours? Lidge said he felt stiffness in his right elbow after picking up a save Sunday against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Lidge said the stiffness carried into Monday, when he played catch before the game. So when the time came for the Phillies to pitch somebody in the ninth — they had a one-run lead until Ross Gload‘s pinch-hit three-run homer — they chose Jose Contreras.

“Today it didn’t feel great,” Lidge said. “I’m not worried. It’s some of the things hopefully we won’t have to deal with for very long. Out of surgery, here and there, there might be something like that. I guess it’s pretty normal. That’s what they told me. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Lidge had surgery on his right elbow in November following the World Series. He received a cortisone injection in the elbow in March and spent most of April rehabbing. He is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA and one save in four appearances.

The Phillies just got Lidge back, and cannot afford to lose him again — especially with Ryan Madson missing at least a couple months with a broken toe. 

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

You See Something New Every Day at the Old Ball Yard


manuel 0503 2010.jpgCharlie Manuel
sounded very certain yesterday afternoon that Brad Lidge needed to pitch a few more times in non-save situations before he resumed closing duties.

It sounded last night like he had a sudden change of heart.

Lidge allowed one hit and struck out two during last night’s 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. Lidge looked sharp, sharp enough that Lidge could be closing as early as tonight.

“Yeah, he looked ready,” Manuel said.

Maybe he just feels he needs to line up his bullpen ASAP. With runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh inning, the Phillies had Nelson Figueroa replace Joe Blanton. Figueroa allowed Blanton’s runners to score, plus two more, to turn a 2-1 game into a 6-1 game.

If everything had worked the way Manuel had hoped it would work before the season started, the Phillies would have asked Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin or J.C. Romero to pitch the seventh. But with Ryan Madson hurt, Durbin unavailable after pitching two innings Sunday, Baez struggling and only having pitched once previously in consecutive games this season and Manuel trying to ease Lidge and Romero back following offseason elbow surgeries, he felt he had no other options.

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Thumbnail image for taser.jpgJust before the game a few beat writers were discussing the baseball cliche that you see something new during every baseball game.

Well, it turns out we really did this time. A Philadelphia police officer Tased a fan who ran onto the field before the eighth inning. The kid seemed to be running around and waving a towel, but police took no chances. In fact, neither did Jayson Werth. He readied himself for a possible altercation when the fan jumped onto the field near right field, but the fan quickly darted past him before being takent down in left.

The Phillies said in a statement: “This is the first time that a Taser gun has been used by Philadelphia police to apprehend a field jumper. The Police Department is investigating this matter and the Phillies are discussing with them whether in future situations this is an appropriate use of force under these circumstances. That decision will be made public.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the fan has been charged as a juvenile with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and defiant trespass. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay defended the officer’s decision to Taser the juvenile.

“It was inappropriate for him to be out there on the field,” Ramsay told KYW Radio (1060-AM). “Unless I read something to the contrary, that officer acted appropriately. I support him 100 percent.”

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Chase Utley‘s solo homer off Trever Miller in the ninth was his fifth homer this season against a lefty, which leads the Nationa League. … Ryan Howard‘s 30-game on-base streak against the Cardinals was snapped. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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