Mr. Perfect is perfect no more. Going into tonight’s game with the San Diego Padres, Brad Lidge hadn’t blown a save since September 23, 2007. The ’09 season has, thus far, been a struggle for the Phillies closer as he has already given up more home runs (3) than he did last season (2).
Going into the ninth to protect a new 5-4 Phillies lead thanks to an eighth-inning Chase Utley solo home run, most Phillies fans felt confident with the ball in Lidge’s hands. However, Jody Gerut led off with a double to right-center field and was promptly moved over with a gritty ground out by the white-haired mighty-mite. Paying homage to the WHMM (not really), Giles drove in Gerut with a gritty ground out to first baseman Ryan Howard.
It was not over. Lidge walked both Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley on four and six pitches, respectively.
Still not over. After falling behind 2-0 to Kevin Kouzmanoff, Lidge threw a high-and-inside 92-MPH fastball that was promptly deposited behind the left-field fence to stake the Fathers to an 8-5 lead. In a scene never before seen, Charlie Manuel went to the mound to take Lidge out of the game after blowing a save.
As announcer Tom McCarthy noted, it’s been quite a while since Lidge could be found in the dugout thinking about how he blew the save opportunity. Nevertheless, he should be commended for his flawless season last year and for being one of the key contributors to the Phillies’ WFC.