Brad Lidge: Wikis

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Brad Lidge

Lidge during pregame warmups for the Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies — No. 54
Relief pitcher
Born: December 23, 1976 (1976-12-23) (age 33)
Sacramento, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right 
MLB debut
April 26, 2002 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
(through 2009)
Win-Loss     25–28
Earned run average     3.56
Strikeouts     714
Saves     195
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Bradley Thomas Lidge (born December 23, 1976 in Sacramento, California) is a closer for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. Nicknamed "Lights Out",[1] he is the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings (12.98 K/9) among pitchers with at least 200 appearances in their career. Lidge throws a four-seam fastball that consistently reaches 95 or 96 miles per hour, as well as a hard, sharp breaking slider that ranges from 85 to 87 mph. He sealed the Phillies' 2008 World Series Championship with the final out, a strikeout of Eric Hinske in Game 5.

Contents

College career

Lidge attended Notre Dame. He won the Big East player of the year award during his junior season under coach Paul Mainieri, leading the conference with an 8-2 record and 93 strikeouts in 80.1 innings.

Professional career

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Early career

Lidge was a 1st round draft pick by the Houston Astros, taken 17th overall in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft. He missed parts of his first four professional seasons (at Quad Cities, Kissimmee, Round Rock, and New Orleans) with injuries, including a torn rotator cuff and a broken forearm that threatened his career. Lidge would overcome these injuries, making his debut in the major leagues on April 26, 2002 against the Atlanta Braves, serving as a middle relief pitcher in the Astros' bullpen. He started the only game of his career in September of that year against the Milwaukee Brewers. Lidge went 2-for-2 with a double and 2 RBIs at the plate, but was pulled when he strained an intercostal muscle in his ribcage after pitching three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, two walks and a hit batsman.

2003–04

In 2003, Lidge was the winning pitcher in the Astros historic six-pitcher tandem which no-hit[2] the New York Yankees on June 11 (the most recent no-hitter in Astros history).[3] That year, Lidge was voted Astros Rookie of the Year by the Houston Chapter of the BBWAA.[4]

Following the trades of Billy Wagner in the 2003 off-season and Octavio Dotel in the summer of 2004, the Astros moved Lidge from setup man to closer. He set a new National League record for strikeouts by a reliever with 157, passing Goose Gossage's total of 151 set in 1977. The mark is third all-time for relievers, behind Dick Radatz's 181 in 1964, and Mark Eichhorn's 166 in 1986.

2005

In his first All-Star Game appearance in 2005, Lidge pitched the bottom of the seventh, striking out all three batters he faced. He threw 11 pitches (2 balls) to Melvin Mora, Mike Sweeney, and Garret Anderson, who did not make contact with any of Lidge's pitches. Lidge became the first pitcher to strike out the side in his first All-Star appearance since Bill Caudill and Dwight Gooden in 1984.

Later in 2005, Lidge finished the season with a 2.29 ERA and a career-high 42 saves. That year, Lidge ranked third in the National League in saves and became the second Houston Astros pitcher ever to record at least 40 saves in one season alongside Billy Wagner.

During the 2005 NLCS, Lidge gave up a 3-run home run to Albert Pujols in Game 5 in Houston which forced a Game 6 back in St. Louis, which the Astros would win to clinch their first World Series berth in franchise history. In Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, Lidge gave up a walk off home run to Scott Podsednik. It was only Podsednik's second home run the entire year and it put the White Sox up 2-0 in the series; they proceeded to sweep the Astros to win the championship.

2006–07

Lidge pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March of 2006, throwing two scoreless innings. Later that year, Lidge became the third pitcher in Astros history to record 100 saves with the club, after Wagner and Dave Smith, and this led the Astros to sign Lidge to a one-year, $5.35 million contract that would keep him in Houston through the 2007 season. In 2006, Lidge threw the fastest pitch of his career, at 102 mph.[5]

However, Lidge was demoted from the closer's role on April 9, 2007.[6] Lidge would later regain his role in mid-June as the closer after going 10+ scoreless innings and posting a 2.45 era. On July 17, 2007, Lidge pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Washington Nationals, striking out two and walking one, to earn his first save of the 2007 season. Lidge finished the season 5–3 with 19 saves in 27 chances for the Astros. On November 7, 2007, Lidge was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies along with infielder Eric Bruntlett in exchange for outfielder Michael Bourn, pitcher Geoff Geary, and minor leaguer Mike Costanzo.[7]

2008

Phillies fan on October 31, 2008 at World Series championship parade at 16th and Market Streets in Philadelphia

In February 2008, Lidge tore the meniscus in his right knee while pitching off the mound during Spring Training. To exacerbate matters, this was the same knee that he had had surgery on during the off-season. Later in the month, he had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair the torn meniscus. As a result, Brad sat out until April 5 to start the season.

During the early 2008 season, Lidge showed signs that he regained the dominant form he displayed in his earlier career. In the opening two months of the season, he converted 12 save opportunities and allowed just two earned runs. In May, Lidge returned to Minute Maid Park, where he was greeted by a mixed reaction from Astros fans, but he recorded his 12th save of the season against his former team. He opened the month of June, usually the start of the summer's heavy-hitting season, with three saves earned in three straight games versus the Florida Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds.

In July 2008, Lidge signed a 3-year contract extension with the Phillies. This was partially a reward for his performance so far during the season, but also served the purpose of keeping him off the open market in the offseason; it saved the team from having to compete for his services.[8] Lidge also set new Phillies records by converting his first 19 save opportunities and 35 straight saves.

Lidge was named to the roster of the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He was announced before the game as the closer. After warming up six separate times, he ended up the final pitcher available in the game, and pitched in the 15th inning. He allowed a game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning, as the American League won the game, 4–3.

On September 27, 2008, Brad Lidge became the first closer in Philadelphia Phillies history to be perfect in regular season saves, converting 41 in as many opportunities, as he secured the National League East division title for the Phillies. He was awarded the MLB Comeback Player of the Year and DHL Delivery Man of the Year Awards for his efforts. He is the first closer since Éric Gagné in 2003 to have a perfect conversion rate and 30+ saves. Lidge finished the 2008 season with 41 out of 41 save opportunities, a 1.95 ERA, and 92 strikeouts in 62 games. He saved the decisive Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia on October 29th, 2008 with a strikeout, to make him 7 for 7 in postseason saves, thus completing his perfect season. With the World Series win, it put to an end his shaky past and established himself as a complete closer.

Lidge was eighth in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Ryan Braun, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, CC Sabathia, and David Wright, and was the only player other than Pujols or Howard to receive first place votes.[9]

Lidge was voted the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's Outstanding Athlete of the Year award and honored at their annual dinner on January 26, 2009.[10]

2009

Lidge's 2009 season was a complete reversal of fortune from the prior year, in which he was perfect in save opportunities. Through the month of June, Lidge had an ERA of 7.57 in 2723 innings pitched, while he converted only 14 of 20 save opportunities.[11] Lidge missed most of June due to injury, as he was placed on the disabled list due to a sprained right knee.[12]

After returning to the Phillies, Lidge's performance did not improve and he continued to blow leads and save opportunities, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel continued to support Lidge and reiterate that he was the team's closer.[13] By September, though, Lidge had struggled long enough that Manuel began using other relievers to close games. Lidge was used in different situations out of the bullpen, but did not find a role where he pitched consistently well.[14] Lidge finished the season with a win-loss record of 0–8, an ERA of 7.21, and 31 saves in 42 opportunities, and he allowed an average of 1.81 walks plus hits per inning pitched. For closers with at least 20 saves in a season, Lidge's 2009 ERA is the worst in MLB history.[15] Lidge's best month of the season was July, when his ERA was 5.91, and his best save streak stretched only 8 consecutive saves.[11]

In the National League Division Series, Lidge appeared in Games 3 and 4 in save situations, earning the save in both games.[16][17] In Game 1 of the 2009 National League Championship Series, Lidge secured his 3rd save helping the Phillies win 8 to 6. In Game 4 of the series, Lidge pitched in relief of Scott Eyre to retire the last two batters with the Phillies trailing 4–3 in the ninth inning. He eventually got his first win of 2009 after Jimmy Rollins hit a game-winning double to give the Phillies a 5–4 victory. In Game 4 of the 2009 World Series, Lidge gave up three runs in the ninth inning, giving the Yankees a 7–4 win.

Personal life

He currently resides in Englewood, Colorado with his wife, Lindsay, and his two children, daughter, Avery Grace and son, Rowan Thomas.[18] Lidge has an interest in archaeology and religious studies and takes online courses at Regis University.[19]

References

  1. ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: 'Lights Out' Lidge slams door
  2. ^ Big Days in Astros History - June 11, 2003 - Six Astros Pitchers No-Hit Yankees
  3. ^ Sports Baseball Jon Lester Milt Pappas Major League Baseball NL West Division - SI Vault
  4. ^ The Official Site of The Houston Astros: Official Info: Hidalgo, Pettitte, Clemens to be honored at 19th annual Houston Baseball Dinner
  5. ^ ESPN - High-speed pursuit - MLB
  6. ^ http://houston.astros.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=
  7. ^ "Phillies land Lidge in five-player trade with Astros". CBSSports.com. 2007-11-07. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/10458736. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  8. ^ After signing deal, Lidge looking to win | phillies.com: News
  9. ^ Leach, Matthew (2008-11-17). "Crowning achievement: Pujols NL MVP". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081117&content_id=3681885&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  10. ^ Gormley, Chuck (2009-01-27). "Writers honor outstanding athletes". Courier-Post. http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20090127/NEWS01/901270338/1006/news01. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  11. ^ a b "Brad Lidge Stats - 2009 Game Log". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/gamelog?playerId=5102. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  12. ^ AP (9 June 2009). "Phils put struggling Lidge on DL with knee sprain". Fox Sports. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9662650/Phils-put-struggling-Lidge-on-DL-with-knee-sprain. 
  13. ^ "Manuel says Lidge is still Phillies' closer". Sporting News. Associated Press. 2009-09-08. http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/article/2009-09-08/manuel-says-lidge-still-phillies-closer. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  14. ^ "Phillies looking at closer options beyond Lidge". Associated Press. NBC Sports. 2009-09-25. http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/33027073/ns/sports-baseball/. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  15. ^ "For single seasons, From 1871 to 2009, (requiring SV>=20), sorted by greatest ERA". Baseball-Reference.com. http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/g8jSV. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  16. ^ "2009 National League Division Series (NLDS) Game 3". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2009-10-11. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/COL/COL200910110.shtml. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  17. ^ Zolecki, Todd (2009-10-12). "Amazing rally vaults Phillies into NLCS". Phillies.MLB.com. Major League Baseball. http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091012&content_id=7441094&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  18. ^ http://www.delawareonline.com/blogs/2008/12/dec-11-rule-5-results.html
  19. ^ When not pitching, Lidge studies past religiously

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Dmitri Young
NL Comeback Player of the Year
2008
Succeeded by
Chris Carpenter
Preceded by
Jimmy Rollins
Mike Schmidt Most Valuable Player
2008
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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