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.