Friday, October 31, 2008

By finishing off the Tampa Bay Rays in Wednesday night's rain-delayed World Series finale, Philadelphia Phillies' closer Brad Lidge achieved relief-pitcher perfection on the "Save" statistic.

Combining regular-season (41 games) and post-season (7 games) play, every time Lidge had the opportunity to protect a Phillies' lead at the end, he succeeded. He thus ended up a perfect 48-for-48 on save opportunities.

A few years ago as a member of the Houston Astros, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was so powerful at the end of games that the team's middle/set-up relievers knew that their job was to provide a "Bridge to Lidge." As noted in this article:

With Houston in 2004, [Lidge] averaged 15 strikeouts per nine innings. In the seven-game National League Championship Series loss to St. Louis, he held the Cardinals to one hit in his eight innings...

The Astros and Cardinals met again in the next year's NLCS, and when Houston was one out from the World Series, Lidge gave up a game-deciding homer to Albert Pujols. Houston won the pennant in the next game, but somehow, Lidge seemed to become better known for that Pujols homer than for all his good work.

For now, at least, it looks like the "Heartbreak Lidge" moniker he obtained in Houston will likely be a thing of the past.

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