The Phillies made a 2-for-1 trade in November when they acquired Brad Lidge from the Houston Astros.
It made Lidge their closer.
It returned Brett Myers to the rotation.
Lidge has a 0.00 ERA and seven saves in seven opportunities. In 15 innings, he has allowed just two unearned runs, seven hits, and six walks. He has struck out 13. Opponents have hit just .135 against him. He has helped make the Phillies' bullpen one of the best in baseball. The Phils' relievers entered last night with a 2.79 ERA, which ranked second in the National League.
Thank his slider.
"First of all, he throws 95 to 97 m.p.h.," Geoff Jenkins said. "So when he spots that fastball, it sets up his slider. But when he's going good, he has the ability to throw his slider for a strike and not throw it for a strike. So a hitter, when he throws a 90-m.p.h. slider, it's hard to differentiate ball and strike. It's got real tight movement to it. On a 90-m.p.h. fastball, you have about three-tenths of a second to decide when to hit and which spot it's in. So a slider, it's even tougher. The fact that he can elevate with his fastball and go down with his slider makes him tough."
"There's no discernible spin to it," Chris Coste said. "A lot of sliders, even the really good ones, you can see the spin and it gives you a chance. But his comes in and it looks like a fastball and then it breaks late. So a lot of times, curveballs or sliders, right out of the hand, they're already doing something. It's like his gets halfway there and decides to do its thing. It's weird. It acts almost like a slider and a change-up all at once. I think that's why it's so tough to hit, because you don't pick it up until it's halfway there, and by that time it's usually too late."
It sounds like Jimmy Rollins won't join the team until Friday in San Francisco at the earliest.
In the Phillies Notebook, the decision to bench Ryan Howard and more.