Brad Lidge has one of the best sliders in baseball today.
Jim Salisbury takes a look at how Lidge throws it, and why it's so effective:
Lidge's "out pitch" slider breaks so unusually that some folks don't know what it is. Jamie Moyer said it looks like an "accelerated curveball." Former major leaguer Fernando Vina, an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, routinely calls it a splitter. A splitter will break downward, but it does so with more of a tumbling effect. Lidge's slider breaks down with a more intense bite.
A longtime NL scout who didn't want to be named said Lidge has the best slider he's seen this season.
But even the scout wasn't sure it was a slider when he first started seeing it.
"If you walked into a park, you'd say, 'Oh, he's throwing a split,' " the scout said. "For years I thought he was. But it's a slider. And it's a great one. He's throwing it for strikes. Last year, he wasn't. That, along with his fastball coming back, have been the key for him."
This isn't exactly how they planned it, but the Phillies will take yesterday's 10-9 victory over the Braves.
Bob Ford tells us that yesterday was a good time to remember how good Cole Hamels has been this season. He also makes this observation about Jimmy Rollins:
"And the team needs to get Jimmy Rollins' situation settled.
"Rollins blew off reporters again yesterday. ("What a game. That's my quote," he said as he left the locker room.) But that's the least of it. Since being benched for getting to Shea Stadium late on Thursday, Rollins has made a point of showing up just in time to beat the manager's arrival deadline, and he affects a body language that indicates he doesn't much care what anyone thinks of it. If his teammates aren't tired of the act, you can be sure the front office is. It doesn't take much to mess up the mechanism of a baseball team. Rollins could do it all by himself.
"That is a combustion for another day, however. The Phillies are letting it simmer now and hoping the heat dissipates. Good luck."