Two years ago, Brad Lidge was perfect in every way. He was 48-for-48 in save opportunities, including 7-for-7 in the postseason as the Phillies went on to win the World Series.
In the two years since, Lidge has been far from perfect. Last season, he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and a major league-leading 11 blown saves. This year, Lidge has been much improved with a 1-1 record, 3.90 ERA and 18 saves in 23 chances. It hasn’t always been pretty.
“I’m feeling better and better every day,” Lidge said. “I feel like I have command of my pitches now, especially my slider.”
Other managers might have gotten impatient. Not Charlie Manuel.
“He’s our closer,” Manuel said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him.”
Lidge had off-season surgery on his elbow and knee, and he believes he’s 100 percent healthy. And ready for the stretch run.
“I’m not throwing 95 right now, but I know I can still get people out,” Lidge said. “I know I can still make my pitches. I know my slider is still going to get swings and misses. I’m feeling very good about where I am overall with my stuff.”