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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20


Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20


Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-20
Brad Lidge almost forgot what it was like to blow a save.

After all, it had been so long -- since Sept. 23, 2007, when he still was pitching for the Houston Astros -- that Lidge didn't remember the feeling in the pit of his stomach when he saw the lead evaporate.

But as San Diego's Jody Gerut crossed the plate after Brian Giles' game-tying groundout in the ninth inning Saturday night, ending Lidge's streak of 47 consecutive regular-season saves (54, including playoffs), the Phillies closer stepped off the mound and took a moment to reflect.

"Now that it's over, I'm proud of what I did," said Lidge, whose streak was the third-longest all-time behind Eric Gagne (84) and Tom Gordon (54). "But this is a new season, and I need to pitch better now. I need to get myself on track and get a new streak."

After going 48-for-48 in save opportunities last season, including the postseason, Lidge hasn't been sharp in 2009. He hasn't been able to consistently command his fastball, making his signature slider less effective. After allowing the tying run Saturday night, he walked two batters and allowed a game-winning three-run homer by Kevin Kouzmanoff on a badly located fastball.

Lidge said he is a better pitcher now than when the streak began. After missing most of spring training last season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, he realized he would need to have better command early in the season because his high-90s fastball wouldn't have its full velocity. Lidge said he has become a cerebral pitcher, instead of trying to simply blow away hitters.

"I feel real proud of it," Lidge said. "Before last year, I was trying to throw everything as hard as I possibly could. But I learned how to pitch and take a little off from time to time. I learned a lot about pitching and what I need to do to become successful."

The streak impressed Lidge's teammates.

"Anybody that can have 47 straight saves converted, it's amazing," said one-time closer Brett Myers, who returned to the rotation after the Phillies traded for Lidge in November 2007. "But he'll be fine. He'll start a new streak."

PHILLIES 5, PADRES 4: Raul Ibanez belted a walk-off, two-run homer to snap the Phillies' three-game losing streak. Ibanez leads the Phillies with five homers and 10 RBIs through 11 games. Jimmy Rollins, getting a rare day off because he's mired in a slump, hit a pinch home run in the eighth inning to draw the Phillies within 4-3. Making his second start, RHP Chan Ho Park allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings before LHP J.A. Happ tossed three scoreless innings in relief.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 20, 2009

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