Want to know the main reason that the Phillies won’t be hoisting the World Championship trophy at the end of October? I’ve got one simple reason and it is this – former ace reliever Brad Lidge, is flat out AWFUL. I’m sometimes accused of dealing in hyperbole – defined as “an exaggeration for emphasis” – but in this case my words are directly on point. Don’t take my word for it, here are the numbers.
Since the All-Star break this season Lidge has appeared in 14 games covering 11.2 IP:
0-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 1.00 K/BB, 5 SVs with 2 blown saves.
Amazed at the profound struggles? How could you be when you consider how awful he was before the All-Star break. In 35 games covering 32 IP, here are the numbers:
0-4, 7.03 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 1.95 K/BB, 18 SVs with 6 blown saves.
That’s right, anyway you cut it Lidge has been atrocious all season long. Let’s compare his numbers this season with his career marks before the start of 2009.
2009: 7.21 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 9.48 K/9, 5.77 BB/9, 1.64 K/BB, .299 BAA
Career: 3.10 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 12.50 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, 3.19 K/BB, .216 BAA
So Lidge has doubled his ERA, has seen his WHIP go up about about 33 percent, has seen his K/9 mark lose three batters per nine while his K/BB rate has dropped by almost 50 percent. So are you still trying to tell me that there isn’t something wrong here? Sure he has been a bit snake bitten, that’s the only way you can figure it when his 17 percent line drive rate is four percentage points below his career mark yet his BABIP is sky-high at .353, but come on now. He has been awful virtually all year. Sure he was 48-for-48 in converting saves, but that was 2008 Charlie Manuel. If you want to avoid destroying the playoffs chances of possibly the most gifted team in the league, you need to immediately remove Lidge from the closers role. Mr. Manuel, the manager of the Phillies for those of you who didn’t know, it’s not good when your closer has five loses and eight blown saves. That’s a (-13) since he doesn’t have a single victory this season.
Here is a little historical perspective.
The worst ERA of all-time for a season of at least 25 saves was the 7.11 mark of Shawn Chacon during the 2004 season when he racked up 35 saves for the Rockies. Of course the Rockies weren’t any good at 68-94. The only other season of 25 saves with an ERA above six is the 2003 season of Mike Williams (28 saves, 6.14 ERA). He pitched for two teams that season, the 75-87 Pirates and the Phillies who went 86-76 (he had only three of those saves with the Phils).
The point is that what Lidge is doing is historically bad, and honestly, that is actually being rather kind.
Who should the Phils go with in the ninth inning? The same man they should have been using to close out games for the past three months – Ryan Madson. Just look at his numbers.
2.95 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.16 K/9, 3.11 K/BB over 58 innings
Madson is also throwing three miles per hour harder than ever before at 95 per mph with his fastball, and that my friends is certainly encouraging.
So Mr. Manuel do yourself, your team, your city a favor – get Lidge out of the ninth inning before he costs your team their season. And for goodness sakes get Ryan Madson in there – I’ve been waiting on you to do the right thing with him all season so I can get me some cheap saves.
By Ray Flowers