Monday, June 1, 2009

How Lidge Got His Groove Back

Last week, I argued that Brad Lidge should not be closing in his current state of disarray after he ruined my inaugural visit to New Yankee Stadium. Since then, Lidge has had 4 saves in 4 chances and given up exactly 0 runs.

That, my friends, is why Charlie Manuel is the manager, and I am not. Nothing like a visit from the Nationals to restore a guy's confidence.

In all seriousness though, this past week was huge for Brad Lidge. First, he picked up a save in the second game against the Marlins. Then, he saved all three games this weekend against the Nationals … and more importantly, looked good doing it.

On Friday night, he set down the Nats 1-2-3 with two strikeouts. On Saturday, he did give up a hit, but he also forced a double play (great play by Chase) and notched a strikeout, and yesterday, he went 1-2-3 again with another K. He looked as though he reigned in his fastball a bit, and his slider was as filthy as ever.

While going 3-for-3 in save opportunities in a sweep of the Nationals might not seem like a big deal — after all, Washington has the worst record in all of baseball — it is. First off, Washington, despite being truly and utterly horrible in the W-L columns, actually is a really good offensive team. The Nats are 3rd in the National League in runs scored, trailing just the Dodgers and Phillies. Only the Dodgers and Mets have more hits in the NL than Washington's 463; the Nats are 3rd in the NL in home runs with 57, trailing just the Phils and Brewers, have a .266 team batting average (4th in NL), .351 OBP (3rd in NL), .426 slugging percentage (2nd in NL behind the Phils) and .777 OPS (3rd in NL behind Phils and Dodgers).

What I'm saying is, the Nats are no pushovers at the plate. And Lidge still got the job done, and got it done in impressive fashion, dropping his ERA, as absurd as this sounds, to under 8.00. Hopefully this is the turning point in Lidge's season.

The whole Lidge going perfect and whatnot was a great story this weekend and all, but it was Ryan Howard who stole the show:

I was planted in front of the television at my cousin's graduation party when Howard came up with the bases loaded with about a dozen other guys in the room watching. When he hit that thing, the whole room was in awe. I don't care if Ryan Howard strikes out 200 times every single year as long as he keeps hitting some of the most mind-boggling bombs in the history of baseball. Wow.

It was funny to hear Wheels later in the game, going over a recap, show the 3rd-decker, then go back and show his earlier solo home run, describing it as "only a second-decker." Hilarious.

As the man, the myth, the legend, meech would say, Ryan Howard is cot damned beast!

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. See all you people down there were ready to take Lidge out back and shoot his ass like the horse that had no more use. Every closer in the game has a time where he slumps a bit. Even the BEST of all time Mariano Rivera has had his share of slip ups, and we weren't calling for his head. Step back and take a breather and give the guy a chance to come back and get out of the funk before you look to burn his house down.

  2. His ERA is still over 7. He was just slumping, he was sucking way worse than any pitcher who was even remotely sucking.