The Dip: Brad “Heartbreak” Lidge

Posted by The Dipsy, Fri, September 11, 2009 02:50 PM | Comments: 35
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This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by leaving your comments.

There have no doubt been meetings. And conferences. Maybe even tarot card readings and exorcisms. But none have shaken Brad Lidge from the jaws of the alien that’s wrecked his season. If you’re a believer that recent past performance is the best indicator of future returns, you can’t feel too confident about Lidge “finding it” with about three weeks to go in the season. And you shouldn’t be. The numbers are mind numbing – 0-7, 7.11, 10 blown saves. Charlie has stuck with him much longer than any manager would ever have been expected too; but even Charlie doesn’t want to be the violin player on the Titanic.

Through it all, the look on Lidge’s face after each implosion has gone from that of unconcerned to confused to glazed, to at-last, shell shocked. The faster he tries to throw his fastball, the more action it loses. The more drop he tries to get on his slider, the sooner it hits the dirt. On the mound, he squeezes the ball so hard it looks like its going to explode in his hand like a egg. Brad Lidge is a burned out husk and his confidence is shot.

The problem now is what do you do with a closer that can’t close anymore? My answer is don’t pitch him at all. Why would you put the guy into any stage of a meaningful game? If he screws up the ninth, he’ll screw up the seventh or eighth as well. And let’s not see any attempts at “nurturing” him with one out saves, please. I realize that there are injuries in the pen now. Given that, one might suggest Brad could pitch some innings in the remaining games where the Phils are safely up or way down, to perhaps build a little confidence (like last night). I think Charlie would be reluctant to do that often as he might perceive it as a slight to Brad.

If Brad’s not already done as the closer – and he may not be for all we know – than surely one more blown safe would seal his fate. He’s gotta turn it around, and I mean yesterday. Short of that, I would suggest that someone else occupy his playoff spot. The playoffs are not a time to “keep working on it” and “battling” while a more capable pitcher sits at home…unless that’s where you want to be too.

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The Dipsy has written 29 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    We might have to go to Myers. I just don’t know what’s up with Lidge, could it be he’s tipping his pitches again?

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    I don’t see him on the playoff roster unless there is an injury. He just doesn’t have it this year as evidenced by his Eatonesque numbers. But, he’s been down and out and came back to be better than ever. I hope he can come back next year and dominate as the Phils closer.

  • Posts: 0 dodger fan

    It doesn’t make a difference. You’re just rearranging chairs on the deck of the titanic.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    If I was a Dodger fan, I’d be worried about why my team isn’t going to make the playoffs this year, more than i’d be worried about the Phillies bullpen

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Ever since many stopped his estrogen treatments, he just hasn’t been the same. And his periods have been irregular.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 dodger fan

    Don’t worry Don. I am more worried about the Dodgers then the Phillies bullpen. And just to be clear, I’m only worried that the Phillies are starting to realize how bad Brad Lidge really is. By the way, why is that no one has ever mentioned the fact that Tyler Walker has 34 career saves to go along with his 2009 sub 2 ERA? Seriously, that guy sells some great snake oil and you should make him your closer. Ask Ed R. That’s one smart guy.

  • Posts: 0 mikeB

    Phillies beat the Dodgers last year in the playoffs and I am sure they would have an encore performance this coming post season if they meet. Dodgers—nothing special. Good pitch and not much hit. They also do not have Derek Lowe this year who the Phils usually struggle with.

  • Posts: 0 mikeB

    Cool Dipsy, cool! In regards to Manny.

  • Posts: 0 B Myers

    MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY, Mr. Dipsy! No pitcher with a 7+ERA an 0-7 record and 10 BS makes a playoff roster. Then again, I’m not Elmer Fudd, so I’ll reserve my comments for the bars, water coolers, and fan websites of the world. Go Phils!!

  • Posts: 0 dodger fan

    Are you trying to make fun of Manny by saying that he’s a woman?

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    Let’s not get so far ahead. If the phils keep playing like they have the last few weeks, they won’t be in playoffs…

  • Posts: 0 Peasant

    no we’re making fun of manny for cheating and using steroids, and then coming back and being much less of a player, and hence making your teams “big offseason acquisition” seem like a pretty bad move for $50 million.

    as for what i’m doing, i’m making fun of you, for losing to us in the playoffs last year, getting rolle din fact, and then coming on our board and talking smack… about what? our closer going down? no worries bro, we have about 100x more pitching depth than the dodgers… hey… didn’t kershaw just get hurt? i heard Wolf has some elbow problems too? lol! good luck MAKING the playoffs…

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    This is my question for everyone: If you finally pull Lidge and make someone else the closer do you HAVE to trade him in the offseason?

    I don’t know what the protocol is for that, but isnt it generally that when a closer loses the closing job on one team then he gets traded the next available chance in the offseason?

    Beacuse if the Phillies go ahead with this they do kind of have to trade him in my opinion. I have been against trading him all year and Ive backed him, but when the organization demotes him from that role then it says a LOT because they were brutalized for sticking by him as long as they did to begin with. Its a shame really, hes a class act.

    The White Sox are reportedly going to trade Bobby Jenks in the offseason. I think itd be too expensive to sign a FA closer. Are you going to give Valverde Lidge or K-Rod money? Rafael Soriano isnt good enough to close on his own, but hed help the pen. Id be ok with that, would you guys?

    I mean, Id RATHER keep Lidge and have him get back to normal. But obviously Myers is gone for big bucks as a starter or someone else’s closer. Soriano, Madson, and Jenks closing isnt bad.

  • Posts: 0 Bill

    Even if Lidge completely loses his job, I do not see the team trading him. He will return as the closer in Spring Training and they will hope that he is healthy both mentally and physically and can return to his form of a year ago.

    On the trade market the Phillies would have to eat too much of his salary for it to be a viable option.

    On the other hand, I am more convinced that the Phillies need to resign Brett Myers then I was a few months ago!


  • Posts: 0 Rick The Marlins Fan

    Keep talking Phillies fans about the playoffs. My Marlins are right behind and ready to move in. Your team is really playing bad. You have no closer, your offense is in the garbage. The defense is falling down. Are you choking. See we swept the Mets. I will tell you that you will split. We will take you 4 of 6 games that we play you. We are hungry. We want it more. You let a team just hang around and we will catch you. Bye Bye World Championship this year. We wont win it but it would be nice swiping the division from you. Then they can say your just like the Mets. LOL GO MARLINS…We will show you how to sweep the Nats.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Does anyone know if the game tonight will be postponed?

  • Posts: 0 dodger fan

    OUCH! Man that hurts. Really.

    I’m not sure the Phils have more pitching depth, if you factor in the bullpens and look at the season as a whole, or even post break. Certainly nothing close to 100x.

  • Posts: 0 mg52

    Good post, Dipsy. I do think that Myers should not be allowed to walk just yet. Lidge never had to recover from this abysmal a season with the Astros, and, while he certainly has a good chance of being effective again, it’s no guarantee at all.

  • Posts: 0 JeffS

    Rick, the problem is there would only be 2,000 fans in your stadium to see it. I never could get over how scrappy the generally underpaid Marlins players are, but how pathetic you fans are about showing up.

    I remember years when it seemed empty at the Vet, but those were losing years. Fla fans don’t even go to games in good years.

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    I think some phillies fans need a major wake up call and regardless of how bad lidge has been this year (and he has been awful) we should recognize what he did for us last year. sure, i know the cliche of last year is last year, but that doesn’t apply when you root for a team that has only won two world series in over 125 years. I will never ever boo brad lidge, I don’t care if he blows game 7 of the world series with a 3 run lead. What he did for me will live amongst my happiest memories for as long as I live. I will forever hold the man in the highest regard, and place him among his rightful spot right alongside Phillies legend Tug McGraw as the only two pitchers ever to be on the mound when the Phillies have won a world championship.

  • Posts: 0 dodger fan

    Very well said Ryan. Wow.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Manny.. with both teams OFF on Monday.. I’m thinking they play it then

    I have tickets for tonight but im not going because even if they DO play.. who the hell wants to sit in cold, wind, rain watching baseball

    Football would be fun.. baseball? not so much

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    - a few days ago i was found a photo of Lidge pitching against the giants or stros. He was at the point in his delivery the moment relaeased the ball so his glove side leg was planted, his pitching side leg had just extended straight behind him as it pushed off the rubber. In the majority of photos that I have seen of pitchers at this stage of their delivery, their torsos are perpendicualr to the mound. Lidge’s torso, at least in this photo, was leaning in the direction of his glove side leg, that is towards first base. I don’t need a degree in pitching mechanics to conclude that this leaning shifts his center of gravity and therfore compromises his arm slot. I am guessing that this doesn’t affect when he releases the ball but where he releases the ball since his arm must follow his torso. I don’t know how exactly how this affects a pitchers performance, but the link between improper mechanics and control is common knowledge. Ultimately though, a one picture sample size isn’t what i call a body evidence. But, day or two after I found this photo, I read a sports page article inwhich Dubee noted the same thing when reviewing Lidge’s videos. So at least there is a pattern of dysfunction here.
    I asked myself this: is the knee still weakened by injury and unable to stabilize the load put upon it or if the knee has healed, is this a manifestation of a neuromuscular pattern his body subconciously made when pitching injuried that has not been corrected.
    Or is Lidge leaning to get more downward trajectory on the ball…I don’t know but I think it best to maintain one’s center of gravity as perpendicular to the ground as possible to maximize the amount of force generated from the push off the rubber. Bottom line, if Lidge has lost his edge then perhaps the uncorrected mechanical failure is fueling the psychological distress..Wouldn’t anyone suffer self-doubt and anger if they were struggled against something unbeknowst to them or faced a problem beyond their capacity to correct? The guy works hard and is hardly arrogant…do you think we wants to go down as the all time Jeckyl and Hyde closer.
    If the problem is mechanical, then it falls upon the coaches and trainers…their job is to fix what is fixable and teach what is teachable, otherwise they are nothing more than overapaid cheerleaders.
    Nonetheless, it’s too late for an experimentation.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I see no reason why Brad can’t be the closer next year. Sometimes guys, in every sport, just have a crappy season. Granted, Brad is beyond crappy this year. Maybe a year off is all it takes. I think Madson has the stuff to close. Of topic, I have a very sneaky feeling that Myers will be on the team next year. Things that might factor into his market price in the offseason could be his wild inconsistency and silly behavior and keep his value down a little in the eyes of other teams. Plus, I really think he wants to stay with the Phils. I think he will sign a one year with the Phils with a team option for the second. No one is going to give Brett 3y24m.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Wow. Ryan. Thats quite a post. Personally, I can appreciate the sentiment. That said, in the event Lidge blows a save in the playoffs or WS, I will boo the living sh#t out of him. Brad’s “legend” is not so ingrained in Phils lore as to make him immune from the wrath that comes with repeated awful play. Remember, most people don’t boo the player, they just boo what the player does at a given moment (insert “smile emoticon” here. I dislike the real ones.)

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    “he was at the point in his the delivery the very moment before he released the ball”
    man i wish this site had spell/grammer check.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Myers back again..i’d like it

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    yeah see – grammer = grammar….

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    dodgers fan, I am not sure if you are mocking me or not.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Thanks, Don… I’m in philly for the weekend and I also have tickets for tonight’s game but the weather forecast looks way too bad. I’m seriously hoping they postpone it so that rain doesn’t shorten or affect Hamels’ outing… With Moyer and Kendrick coming up next, we’re gonna need him to pitch deep into the game to save the pen.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    I rather they play. we already a couple of double headers as it is…but then again with they way we’ve played we need all the advantages we can get and the rain aint one of them, esp. when you hamstring the starter with rain delays. Boy that astro debacle is bitin’ us in the ass had we taken 2 or 3, i would be less worried about losing hamels start to rain. I’ve been working in it for most of the time today and it hasn’t be horrible. With all the retractable dome technology, I would make it mandatory that any team building a new stadium should have one.

  • Posts: 0 bob

    Lidge is gonna play the role of part time closer for the rest of the season. It’s gonna be a 3 headed combo of Lidge, Madson, Myers.

    You can talk about this until you are red in the face it doesn’t change the fact that Charlie will not abandon Lidge. He is going to play a role the rest of the way. It’s not gonna be full time closer but we are going to need him at some point.

  • Posts: 0 karen

    I think the fact that this is a difficult thing for the managers, players and fans just proves that we are not just “throwing lidge under the bus”….this has been a struggle all year now which only highlights our love of our team and the players….it also probably hurt the chances of lidge being able to be a part of the closer team/relief team….Perhaps if it had been caught earlier, he could have went down to AAA like myers last year to work on his stuff. Symbolically, that other night when he was taken out in the 9th, was the end of the brad we used to know. To end, I do love Brad Lidge as a player….he loves the game…he just has something going on there that needs work.

  • Posts: 0 Az Mike

    Dipsy – Great column! I agree with you 100%. There should be no more use of Brad Lidge for the remainder of this season. He has been given more than a fair shot at turning his season around and it ain’t happening. Also I don’t see why Myers or Madson or even Chan Ho, on certain occasions when they have entered the game and pitched a scoreless 8th., shouldn’t
    come out to pitch the 9th. If a guy is warmed up and pitching well why do we always think we need a closer. Hell. the less the term “closer” is used the better off the Phillies will be. Just give me three more outs!

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    I lifted this off a Keith Olbermann’s MLB Blog “Baseball Nerd”. And yes that’s Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. It is a very well written blog that covers all of baseball. In this piece he discussed Lidge’s struggles and offers some insights on other closer options available to Charlie. It someone who has recently put up some of the best numbers in the pen and has closed before. Olbermann writes,
    ” Then there is a name, never mentioned, a current Phillies reliever who not only has two partial seasons as a closer under his belt, but two seasons in which he had to assume the role when others faltered. He stepped in, in 2005, to convert 23 of 28 opportunities for an NL team, and a year later went to an AL team late in a season and prevailed in 10 of 12 tries. This year he has kept opponents to a .213 batting average, and after initially getting racked in his return from the DL last month, he has reeled off seven straight scoreless appearances, giving up exactly one hit and two walks in the span. The problem, of course, is that these cameos have been in low-pressure situations – he doesn’t even have a hold (though he managed 19 of them last year).”
    That’s Tyler Walker he’s talking about. Also Chan Ho has had 5 save opportunuities and only converted 2. Granted it’s a small sample, just throwing it out there.

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