Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Good news: Lidge now tired

Searching for solace as the Phillies' closer struggles.

Good news: Lidge now tired

After Game 1, Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee was talking about closer Brad Lidge and his frightening dance between the raindrops. Which was his second straight Williams-esque, hair-on-fire extravaganza. Which has left the town somewhere between scared and apoplectic, even while acknowledging that Lidge is, you know, perfect in save situations this season, now 42 out of 42.

As all good pitching coaches do, Dubee accentuated the positive. He said, "He's paid to do a job and he's done a tremendous job...That's why we acquired him, to pitch that kind of inning. These are special guys. We've got a special guy in that clubhouse. This guys has done it all year for us. Why hesitate going to him?"

That was the standard boilerplate and it was correct. They are going to keep going to Lidge until he blows one of these things and almost certainly even after he were to blow one. It is why you pay him. It is common sense to stick with him. This really isn't a question, except that everybody needs something to be nervous about (as if Milwaukee starter CC Sabathia wasn't enough).

Anyway, Dubee also said about Lidge, "Generally, his worst days are after time off. It just (takes time) to acquire the feel again."

With nothing better to do on a windy Thursday morning - other than pack, run a couple of errands, go for a quick run, and fnd somebody who will cut my hair before getting to the park at 2:30 - I did a quick lookup on Dubee's theory about Lidge and rest. Best as I can tell, Lidge has now had 15 games this season where he allowed at least two base runners and threw at least 20 pitches. Here is the breakdown on how many days' rest he had leading up to those more-difficult outings:

0 days' rest...five times.

1 day's rest...four times.

2 days' rest...three times.

3 days' rest...two times.

4 days' rest...one time.

Just looking at that distribution, it doesn't look to me as if too much rest has a lot to do with ths conversation. There's another way to look at it, though -- difficult outings on a given day's rest as a percentage of all games with that same rest. So:

0 days' rest...20 percent hard outings.

1 day's rest...19 percent.

2 days' rest...33 percent.

3 days' rest...40 percent.

4 days' rest...14 percent.

It isn't perfect, but you can sort of see where Dubee was coming from with that list of percents. The 4-days'-rest thing is out of whack with the rest of it, but you can see that Lidge this season was twice as likely to have a hard outing on 3 days' rest as he was on 0 days' rest or 1 day's rest.

That's the good news, I guess.

With that, return to worrying.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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