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Phillies Top 10 Stories of 2009: No. 8 -- What the Hell Happened to Brad Lidge?

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From perfection to perdition.  From the best to the all-time worst.  From a season of unending highs to a season of incessant lows.

And yet that doesn't even begin to describe how bad this past season was for Brad Lidge.  The Phillies' vaunted closer, who was literally (not figuratively) perfect in 2008, literally (not figuratively) posted the worst relief season of all time in 2009.

There are way too many ways to demonstrate the horror that was Brad Lidge's season, but here are just a few for your enjoyment:

  • Lidge pitched in the 9th inning in 62 games and gave up 48 runs and 99 base runners.
  • Lidge's OPS against with men on base was 1.025 and with men in scoring position was 1.017.
  • He had a -4.54 win probability added.  Compare that to his +5.37 last year.
  • As is obvious given how poorly he pitched, compared to 2008, he walked more batters, struck out less, gave up more hits, allowed more home runs, had a higher BABIP, and left fewer men on base.
  • Basically, there was nothing good about 2009 for Brad Lidge.  Even his slight resurgence in the playoffs was ruined by his blowing Game 4 of the World Series after the Phillies had tied it up in the 8th and looked to finally have some momentum against the Yankees.

    Unlike 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series in large part because of Brad Lidge, in 2009 the Phillies made it as far as they did despite Brad Lidge.

    And yet we've got him for another 2 years at $11.5M each year with a $12.5M club option (with $1.5M buyout) in 2012.  So the Phillies have to hope Lidge can turn it around and be somewhere closer to 2008 and nowhere near 2009.

    Early projections are favorable.  Bill James projects Lidge to have a drastic turnaround in 2010 to a 3.40 ERA  and 1.32 WHIP.  And ZIPS isn't as favorable, but still sees a rebound to a 4.29 ERA.

    Phillies fans have to believe that there's some truth in the James' and ZIPS' forecasts if for no other reason than that dead cats bounce.  Because another year like 2009 will tear out our hearts and darken our souls.  And we just can't take that again from this silly game of baseball.