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What’s Wrong With Brad Lidge?

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, May 25, 2009 11:00 AM | Comments: 21
Analysis, Posts

The word “struggling” is an understatement for closer Brad Lidge. He has blown four saves in twelve opportunities, including two in a row. He is 0-2 and his earned run average soared over nine.

He has allowed 2.08 walks and hits per innings pitched and opponents are batting .337 against the right hander. Runners have already stole five bases off him. Last year they stole a total of eight.

His fastball velocity reaches 94-95 mph. He says he is healthy. He is not tipping his pitches. So, what is wrong with Brad Lidge?

His location hasn’t been off by much, but he isn’t throwing as many pitches for strikes,  indicated in his walk totals. Batters are taking pitches.  When he is behind in the count and throws a slider, a chase pitch, batters  lay off since he isn’t throwing it for strikes.

Or, is it a confidence factor? After blowing one save, “perfection” is gone. Maybe all he needs is one 1-2-3 save to get back to a confident mindset.

Despite his hard-to-watch struggles, after last season, he deserves fan support.

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Amanda Orr has written 713 articles on Phillies Nation.

Amanda has been writing for Phillies Nation since 2009.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    It’s his knee. The key to a back-end reliever his having his head and body on the same page and being able to channel that agressiveness into his pitches, Lidge isn’t on the same page, we know he has knee trouble and unlike last year he hasn’t had the chance to rest and rehabilitate adequately so he’s not on the same page. His velocity might be there but his pitches are up and don’t have the bite, he needed to have gone to the DL and had the chance to take a step back and get on the right page.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tavian

    Will Jamie Moyer showcase a knuckleball today? He should.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    I agree with NJ and the article. He deserves out support, and I think he is injured.

    Mental or injury, and while I think some of it is mental, I just can’t 100% agree that it is fully mental. As some of you watched the Krukers comparison on Lidge, yes he is not getting the placement he has last year, HOWEVER, he is also not getting the velocity either. I watched the comparison, and it seems obvious to me, that he is hurt. Geoff had a great point of Mental about his knee, where as, maybe the knee isnt hurt anymore, but it seems he is favoring it. When looking at the tapes of last year, especially the WS, he seemed to have stretched out his left leg on the pitch with a full follow through. This year, he seems VERY different. It seems like he is not straightning out his left leg, and laying out and following through as much, as if his knee is hurting, or as Geoff said “mental about his knee” and he is favoring it. Obviously none of us really know if he truely is hurt or not, but everyone knows he is not the same, and to me at least, his mechanics look different. Most of the change of mechanics looks like hes favoring his knee. But maybe thats just me. Look at the Homer against A-Roid in the loss. true, A-Roid has some power (obviously, thats what Steroids does for a player) but it was to Right field, and only in the 2nd or 3rd row. In almost every other ball park in the league, that would have been caught and been an out. Most Yankees fans have told me that was a BS win and a BS homer. The single yesterday was a ground ball up the middle. Most games with our infield, that doesnt get past, and the hit that Utley stopped, but couldnt throw the guy out also usually doesnt happen. So yea, I think part mental, and part injury, but sometimes part circumstance really. One of the blown saves, I think against the Dodgers would have been a save had the throw home been on target. I dont believe he is 100%, and am much more scared this year when he goes in then ever before, but I think we need to support him, and back him. Also think Manuel shouldnt be putting him in, in NON save ops.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    I totally agree with you Tim that Lidge should have our support. After all, we owe Lidge (among others) our World Championship. The word “slump” can be apply to pitchers as well as hitters. Is it not better for a player to have his slump early in the season rather then later? Lidge was not able to have the necessary and arduous preparation during spring in getting ready for season’s start because of the knee injury. The delay obviously affected his approach and the added concern that the injury would not reoccur. Patience is the key word for all fans and in particular to those who are so quick to judge a player when struggling.

    I reminded “fans” in another thread that Lidge, after making some good pitches and giving up two “seeing eye” ground ball hits that included a stolen base (ingredients for smallball rally) that he got the last out (ground ball) to give the team another chance to win the game in extra innings yesterday.

    It is as you said Tim, Lidge is trying to adjust for better command and location of his pitches, particularly his fastball. Quoting you, “location hasn’t been off by much..” and that is evident in yesterday’s game. I think Lidge is close to resolving it, be it mechanics or focus.

    One thing is certain, the Phillies need Lidge if they are to have the same success as last season. So again, patience is the key word here especially in light of the Phillies’ outstanding road trip that is good for a 24-18 record and 1st place by 1.5 games.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tony

    He just needs two things, to get that sharp angle bite back on his slider and to throw that slider for strikes at least half the time. As long his slider is continuously thrown for a ball, hitters will just take and wait for a flat pitch or fastball down the middle.

     
  • Posts: 0 Michael N.

    I think its a confidence thing if he can get 2 or 3 good saves then will see him go bak to usual.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    Since a poster, Tavian, mentioned Moyer who will start in tonight’s game, I’ll pass along an explanation by him regarding his recent struggles.

    Moyer revealed what may be the root of his recent struggles on the mound. Moyer says that he left spring training feeling good, but has not been comfortable with his arm slot. Moyer believes he may have corrected the problem when he held the Cincinnati Reds to three runs over six innings Wednesday night.

    That should give fans hope that Moyer is on track and what better team than the Florida Marlins tonight for which he has continued success against.

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg V.

    Nothing will ever take away from what Lidge did last year. He is more aware of his struggles than any of us. He’ll do what it takes to get back in the game. I’m not sure shelving him or pitching him in the 8th inning is the best way to snap it. He just has to get his mechanics in order. After last year, I’ll always support the man. We know how good he can be. No use kicking the guy when he’s down.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Didn’t he get a couple of quick saves this season after blowing his first one or two? …and then he came back to blow up 2 more.

     
  • Posts: 0 4daysrest.com

    Lidge is a $12 million pitcher this year. You can’t just sit him down on the bench and not use him in the closer’s role because he’s struggling. There are two options here:

    You put him on the 15-day DL to just clear his head a bit and let him work on the mechanics that he says are “just a bit off.” Let him work on the command of his fastball during his stint. In the interim, you use Madson as the closer and Durbin as your 8th inning guy. Not as good as the MadBrad tandem, but will have to work for 15 days. I’m in favor of this rather than trotting him out there every other day to “see” if he’s sharp enough to get a convincing save yet.

    The other option is to just let him pitch through it. Risk losing close games because your closer swears he’s fine and everything is good. I don’t like this idea. I do think he will come out of it and be effective again, but how long can the team keep throwing him to the sharks if he’s going to cost you games when you have a lead in the 9th?

     
  • Posts: 0 george

    Lidge needs to be givin AT LEAST this Marlins series off and maybe even the next series…I’m not ready to give up on him either,but it’s hard not to want to.

     
  • Posts: 0 willy

    I don’t see how you can “let him pitch through it.” we should of easily swept the yankees, instead we barely got 2 out of 3. Why? Lidge. I’d send him down to the minors to get his confidence back, or DL him and then add a stint in the minors. With Chop in the pen we can do without him for a couple weeks.

     
  • Posts: 0 ryan

    Lidge is fine. I don’t think his knee is the problem. His stuff looks great. 96 MPH fastball and biting slider same as always. He just isn’t hitting his spots and seems a bit snakebit. He needs to make an adjustment because hitters have adjusted to him and are no longer flailing at his slider down and away in the dirt like they did last year. but that doesn’t necessarily spell doom for Brad, he just needs to adjust. Baseball is a game of adjustments , especially when it comes to pitchers.

    I am absolutely for letting him pitch through it. Houston’s biggest mistake with him is not letting him pitch through struggles. They almost ruined his career for it and it required a change of scenery to get back to his normal self. He will be fine. I guarantee it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Alex

    It seems to me that Lidge’s biggest problem this season has been locating his fastball. He’s always been a little erratic with it, but he really hasn’t been able to locate it low in the strike zone this season.

    When he can’t locate the fastball low, hitters don’t swing at his slider, and when hitters don’t swing at his slider, they either hit high fastballs or get walked. His slider hasn’t seemed as good as it did during the postseason, either, but it’s still good enough to be deceptive. When he’s struggled this season, he’s been throwing his slider too low (for balls) and his fastball too high (for easy hits).

    I think Lidge’ll be back to normal if he can start throwing his fastball lower in the zone and his slider a bit higher. And since it seems like a control issue, I think he’ll be able to pull out of it, especially if it has just been his knee acting up again.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    Ryan and Alex, nice perceptive posts on Lidge. Your thoughts are more precise than mine on Lidge’s problems. Once he has better command of his fastball and can locate it accurately, his slider (the “out” pitch) becomes more effective. The key obviously is getting ahead in the count
    with 1st pitch strikes.

     
  • Posts: 0 4daysrest.com

    The “send him to the minors” argument is much more complicated than most fans know. There are all sorts of permissions requests between the player, the agent that negotiated the deal, and the individual veteran player’s contract. Lidge insists that he is fine, and may not even personally accept an option to the minors. That’s not a realistic solution.

     
  • Posts: 0 mg52

    Madson or perhaps even Condrey should be considered for at least a temporary stint in the ninth-inning role. They may not sound like closers, but they have been getting hitters out for the most part in the later innings, which is what a closer does. When J.C. Romero returns, he also might be a candidate.
    Lidge does look insecure and injured. His fastball, which he used to blow by hitters, is only a strike these days when it is right down the middle – and then, in many cases, in the seats. A contending team cannot keep sending out a reliever who gives up runs every time he goes out there. Having faith in players is important, but preserving victories eventually must take precedence.
    The thing is, Brad Lidge is a dignified, determined athlete whom I admire tremendously. I see that he is trying hard and maintains a good attitude about his recent issues. And it is for that reason that he should be removed – at least for a little while – from the stressful situations. For him to step away from the pressure, to rest his knee, to reevaluate his mechanics and to watch some video would be helpful. I have felt sorry not just for the team when he has blown saves, but for Lidge himself. He needs some relief – no pun intended – from all the stress because a hardworking, sincere athlete who has been both in a slump and out of luck is a heartbreaking thing to see.
    It is worth noting that, while he did regain his form after struggling as an Astro, it did take some time away from the closer’s role for him to pick up the pieces.
    I respect everyone else’s opinion that he should be allowed to sort things out. Therefore, he could be given one or two more save opportunities in the next few days – but, if that does not work, he should get a break from the madness and turn it over to the recently successful relievers. The idea is not to wait too long for players to regain their form, but to call on the players who are currently doing their job efficiently and reliably.

     
  • Posts: 0 M.P. AKA Phillies Phan SC

    Amen to this.

     
  • Posts: 0 tflynn

    something just aint right with lidge, i thinks most of it is mentally..especially after the perfect streak was diminished. when jc comes back this phillies bullpen will do nothing to improve, but def give madson the closer spot for the time being, maybe even let lidge be the 8th inning guy. this is just sounding like its gonna end up like eric gagne

     
  • Posts: 0 phxphilly

    Just like position players Lidge will need to pitch out of it. Madson has blown a save this year also, so there is no guarantee he will be ‘perfect’.
    I cannot believe people think Condrey should pitch the ninth. He is pitching well, use him while he’s hot, but the closer role is too much pressure.
    Manuel has tried to get Lidge back by even sending him into non-save games (where he still has given up runs).
    With Romero back Phillies could withstand Lidge on DL to ‘rest’. But now, the only bullpen guy who hitters fear is Madson. Eyre and Romero have closed in the past so maybe Eyre/Durbin take the 8th?

    For those saying the ‘league’ has caught up with Lidge? He’s pitched in NL for 6 years with the same two pitches. If it were possible to learn to lay off the slider, it would’ve been done long ago.

     
  • Posts: 0 Michael Bourne

    Guess who’s hitting around .290 and leading the league in swipes?

     
 
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