Tag Archives: Brad Lidge

Around the Beast

Braves 4-Mets 2

Atlanta starter Tim Hudson pitched masterfully, surrendering just 2 earned runs in 8 innings, striking out 4 and walking none on 100 pitches. Hudson got the win and is now 7-3 on the year. His only mistakes came in the second inning, when he served up home runs to Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

The Mets needed Johan Santana to pitch a gem, but their ace didn’t come through, allowing 3 earned runs on 12 hits in 7 innings on just 90 pitches, walking none and striking out only one. He drops to 5-3 on the season.

The damage came in the 7th, when Beltran misplayed a ball hit by Kelly Johnson, leading to RBIs by Omar Infante (who had been 0-19 against Santana), Chipper Jones, and Mark Teixiera. Willie Randolph didn’t take Santana out of the game, and the inning was only finished by a beautifully executed 1-6-3 double play.

Talk about teams headed in different directions; the hot-hitting Braves have won four in a row and are crusing while the mediocre Mets have lost 7 of 10 and are reeling.

Phillies 7-Astros 5

The Phillies scored early but almost blew it in their first game of the year at Minute Maid Park. Starter Kyle Kendrick did not pitch a great game, giving up 5 earned runs on 8 hits in just 5 innings of work on 91 pitches, walking one and striking out 2. But Astros ace Roy Oswalt was not much better, also giving up 5 earned runs on 11 hits in 6 innings of work, walking 2 and striking out 4 on 95 pitches.

Ryan Howard had a very good night, going 3-5 with a home run (his 14th) and 2 RBIs (and 2 strikeouts, as well). After the Astros had tied the game in the 6th, Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 8th off of rookie Wesley Wright. Also driving in runs for the Phillies were Carlos Ruiz, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, and Chase Utley (his 33rd of the year). Chad Durbin picked up his first win of the year, and Brad Lidge notched his 12th save of the year, this one against his former team.

Driving in runs for the Astros were Berkman, Brad Ausmus, Ty Wigginton, and Geoff Blum. Wright took his second loss on the year.

Marlins 4-Diamondbacks 0

The red-hot Marlins completed their sweep of the Diamondbacks in an outstanding performance by young Andrew Miller, who shut Arizona out in 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, striking out 9 and walking just one batter on 107 pitches. Miller, who picked up his 4th win, was opposed by Dan Haren, who allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 8 and walking none on 94 pitches.

Wes Helms drove in two on a pinch-hit double in the 7th to drive Haren from the game. Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs for the Marlins.

 

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Lights Out Lidge

Brad Lidge is 11/11 in save opportunities this season. In 20 innings pitched, he has let in only 3 runs and only 1 earned run. His K/BB ratio is 23/10, his ERA is 0.45 and his WHIP is 0.95. Will this last? No one knows, but Lidge looks confident and is dominant in almost every appearance. He goes right after batters with his fastball and slider, and he doesn’t let base runners get to his psyche. I’d expect the Phillies to make a play to extend the right-hander in the next couple months.

-Greg Berlin

(Thanks to BigEyedPig21 from ufck.org for the pic)

Postgame: Phillies 1 – Nats 0 [BEAST-OFF]

NL Beast bloggers attended the game tonight, and what a great game it was. It didn’t have a ton of lead changes or great plays in the field; it was just a good old fashion pitchers’ duel.

Jason Bergmann pitched excellently. 7 innings, 5 hits, 5 strikeouts and 3 walks. The Phillies lineup couldn’t get to him and they remained cold after last night’s shutout. Bergmann has gone 7 innings and let up no runs in both of his last two starts. In his last game start ago against the Mets he picked up a win in a 1-0 decision. Tonight, he would not be able to secure the W.

Cole Hamels owned the night. 7 inings, 4 hits, 2 walks, and 11 strikeouts. Few times throughout the night did Hamels look shaky. When he did get in a jam, he calmly pitched his way out. There’s little else to say except that he now has 19 straight scoreless innings. His ERA is down to 2.69 and his WHIP is now at 1.02. He didn’t pick up the win, but he is coming into his own after a somewhat slow start. No longer does he have the one or two tough innings early in the game. Right now for Hamels, it’s lights out from the start. The only question is whether he’ll go 7, 8, or 9 innings.

After Tom Gordon got the job done for Phils in the bottom of the 8th, John Rauch came in for the Nats to try to keep the game scoreless. Pedro Feliz led off with a double, and then was pinch-ran for by Eric Bruntlett. Why, I ask? Is Bruntlett that much faster than Feliz? Feliz certainly is better in the field. Carlos Ruiz laid down a fabulous sacrifice to move Bruntlett to third and Greg Dobbs followed with the lone RBI of the night, a single to center. Dobbs was thrown out on the next play when Shane Victorino flied out to center. From where we were sitting Dobbs looked clearly safe, but it was a good relay and Charlie Manuel, standing right there, did not argue the call.

One run is all the Phillies would need. Despite a good effort by the Nats in the 9th, they could not get past Brad Lidge. A great pitching outing for both teams. Unfortunately both Bergmann and Hamels did not receive a win. They both deserved one.

-Greg Berlin

Postgame: Phillies 5-Braves 4 [BEAST-OFF]

The Phillies fell behind 3-0 to the Braves in the first inning after RBI hits by Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur.  But Kyle Kendrick quickly calmed down after the first inning.  He ended up going the next five innings without allowing a run.  That gave him his third 6 inning, 3 earned run outing in a row.  From a guy fifth in the rotation, the Phillies should be happy that he gives them a chance to win.

Offensively, the Phillies came to play tonight.  Facing Jo-Jo Reyes, the Phillies started their attack in the 4th, when Jason Werth singled to center, driving in Chase Utley and big-man Ryan Howard.  Howard, who was part of the action all night long, notched an RBI of his own in the fifth, knocking in Shane Victorino.  Later in the inning, Werth continued his barrage, hitting in Howard.  And, in the 7th, Werth would grab yet another RBI to give the Phillies their fifth run.  Werth ended the night with 4 RBIs.

In the 9th, things got a little bit shaky as Brad Lidge faced adversity for one of the only times this season.  With one out, Mark Kotsay walked and then advanced to 2nd base after fielder interference.  At this point, Chipper Jones, who already had 3 hits on the night, hit a bomb just short of the fence in left.  Eric Bruntlett, who pinch-ran for Burrell in the 7th, caught the ball right in front of the wall, saving Phillies fans and Brad Lidge a lot of grief.  But the fight wasn’t over from the Braves.  Brian McCann came up next and doubled, driving in Kotsay and making it a 1 run game.  It should be noted that Jason Werth misplayed the ball, first breaking in and then running backwards as the ball flew well over his head.  He probably should have made the play.

Lidge was having trouble finding the plate at this point and walked Greg Norton, bringing up Francoeur, who was 0-4 lifetime against Lidge.  Falling behind quickly in the count, Francoeur finally lifted a ball between Werth and right fielder Shane Victorino.  Victorino called Werth off at the last second and caught the ball to end the game.  Not a moment too soon for Lidge, who let up his first earned run of the year in 18 innings of work.

The Phillies started their homestand with a thorough game all around, while the Braves continue to struggle on the road.  They are now 5-15 away from Turner Field.  Also, the Phillies have to be outright elated that Ryan Howard finally looks to be coming out of his slump.  He was 2-4 with a long double to center field and now has an RBI in each of his last three games, as well as in 4 out of his last 5 games.  He’s upped his average to .181 for the season.

-Greg Berlin

Burrell and Lidge contract talks on the way?

Pat Gillick doesn’t prefer talking to players about contract extensions in-season. But saying this is his last year, he is willing to consider organization wishes before his own. Todd Zolecki elaborates:

So, will Gillick remain steadfast in his preference not to talk in-season, even though he won’t be back next year? It is believed the Phillies will remain inside the organization and replace Gillick with one of their assistant general managers, Ruben Amaro Jr. or Mike Arbuckle. What if everyone else thinks they should move forward and lock up Lidge or Burrell before they hit the open market?

“If I’m not going to be back and the organization thinks that they would like to move ahead, then it would be something that we would have to consider,” Gillick said before yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Lidge and Burrell could fit that description.

“I’d say at this point they’re both having above-average seasons,” Gillick said. “They probably would be somebody we would have to consider retaining.”

The Phillies have not had talks with them yet, but Burrell already has said he would like to return. Lidge so far is happy in Philadelphia.

The resigning of Lidge and Burrell poses many questions to the organization. Firstly, is Brad Lidge having a legitimate season? How do we know he’s not just performing well in a contract year? Lidge has been masterful so far, but his past says this won’t last forever.

It also plays into the Brett Myers situation. Myers gave the Phils a solid closer last season, capable of going multiple innings and throwing with high velocity. This year, Myers is struggling immensely from the mound as a starter. Every sign points to Myers moving back to the closer role eventually, either for the Phillies or another team. He says he likes it, he did well there last season, and he’s not performing well as a starter. Obviously, the Phils aren’t going to keep Lidge and Myers in the pen together. If the Phillies sign Lidge, it means that they are sticking with Myers as a starter. That may not be the best move.

As for Burrell, the questions really start to mount. Burrell is 31, he had a career second-half last year and had a career April this year. So far in May he has struggled. Regardless, say he keeps up solid numbers throughout the season, are the Phillies really going to sign a 31 year-old historically under-performing left fielder? The same questions about performance in a contract year comes up with Burrell. I tend to believe that Burrell has legitimately figured things out. Even so, are you going to keep his average glove in left?

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Postgame: Phillies 5 – Diamondbacks 4

Eric Bruntlett doubled and Chase Utley singled in the top of the 8th for two consecutive RBI hits. Utley’s put the Phils up 5-4. Tom Gordon gave up a leadoff double to Chris Snyder in the bottom half of the inning, but got out of the inning cleanly with three consecutive outs. In the 9th, Brad Lidge went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts and a groundout to first. Ryan Howard finished off the game by diving to touch the bag after electing to finish the play himself.

Before Bruntlett hit the game tying double a scary play happened at first. Shane Victorino struck out swinging, but the ball got passed catcher Chris Snyder and Victorino took off running down the line. As Victorino approached the bag, Dbacks first baseman Conor Jackson reachd in front of Victorino in an effort to catch the ball. A scary collision occurred in which Jackson ended up face down in the dirt and Victorino was clearly shaken up. After a short delay, Victorino stayed in the game and scored from 1st on the very next pitch. Jackson was not so lucky. Clearly shaken up, he walked off the field under his own power.

There was no intentional wrongdoing by Jackson, but I don’t know how responsible it was of him to lean across the basepath in that situation. He was being competitive and trying to make a play. But suppose he caught the ball – Victorino likely would have been called safe because of interference. Luckily, it looks ike both players will get away from this one largely unscaved. In my opinion Jackson should be more careful in that situation. He almost got himself and another player seriously injured.

Kyle Kendrick only let up 3 ER, despite allowing 10 hits and giving up one walk. He threw 60 out of 92 pitches for strikes and punched out two batters in 6 innings of work. It wasn’t pretty – nothing has been for the Phillies this year – but it was a healthy number 5 outing.

The Phillies only managed 7 hits off the Dbacks, and only 4 off of Micah Owings in is 7 innings. Owings recorded 7 strikeouts, allowing 3 ER and 1 HR to Pedro Feliz in the 7th.

This was a gritty, all-around win for the Phils. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy, but they got the job done. The lineup is too potent to ever count them out, and the bullpen is keeping them in every game that isn’t a blow out.

Promising stuff tonight.

-Greg Berlin

How about them standings

Great week for the division. The NL East is hot; only the Marlins came in at under .500 for the past 10 games. The last-place Nationals are just 4 games out, and are 8-2 in their last 10. The Phillies may still lead the division, but the Mets and Marlins are just a half a game out.

Some of the league’s finest talent plays in the division, and this cream of the crop is setting the pace in 2008. Chipper Jones leads the league in Batting Average with a whopping .421 so far. Chase Utley leads in home runs, with 13; Pat Burrell is tied for second with 9. Burrell is also second for RBIs, with 28. Utley and Jones lead the league in OPS, with 1.193 and 1.189 respectively. Marlins starter Mark Hendrickson is second in the league for wins, with 5 so far. Of the pitchers with WHIPs in the top 10, 4 are in the NL East: Johan Santana, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurjjens, and Cole HamelsBilly Wagner leads the league in Batting Average Against (.070). And Wagner, Brad Lidge, and Jon Rauch are tied for fifth in the league for saves, notching 7 to this point.

As expected, the division is shaping up to be extremely competative down the stretch. Look for the Marlins to cool off as their young pitching exhausts itself, and for the Braves to heat up as key players such as John Smoltz and Mike Hampton return. The Mets have nowhere to go but up, the Phillies continue to be led by career years by both Chase Utley and Pat Burrell, and even the Nationals are playing good baseball at present.

Here are the standings through Monday May 5:

Philadelphia: 18-14

New York: 16-13, 0.5 GB

Florida: 17-14, 0.5 GB

Atlanta: 15-15, 2 GB

Washington: 14-18, 4 GB

-Jonathan Kraft