So far this season, Brad Lidge has been scored on in 8 of his 15 appearances, including his last 5. Last season it took Lidge until Joe Blanton's first Phillies start on July 22nd, to be scored upon 8 times. In fact, through May 14th last year, Lidge had only been scored on once (his first run allowed was on May 13th). All of Lidge's runs this season are earned. It was August 3rd last season before Lidge let up earned runs for the 8th time.
There have been rare occasions where Lidge struggled this badly. To start his career with Houston in 2002, Lidge was scored on in his first three appearances. In August 2006, Lidge let up runs in three straight appearances for the second time in his career. The following month, Lidge was scored on in 6 out of 8 appearances. Lidge's 2006 season ERA was 5.28. Other than that single rough year, Lidge's highest season ERA came in his first full season in the Majors, 2003, at 3.60. There have been no times in Lidge's career that he was scored upon in more than 3 consecutive outings, before now.
His current ERA, through 15 appearances, is 8.59. In Lidge's difficult 16 game stretch from mid-August 2006 when he was scored on in three straight, to when he was scored on in 6 of 8 in September, his ERA was 5.39. So, the reality of all this is that his start to the 2009 season is the worst stretch of games in Brad Lidge's career.
What exactly is wrong with Lidge? I don't know. The Phillies may not know. Brad Lidge may not even know. A role reversal may be in order. Ryan Madson, known to some as "The Bridge to Lidge", may be the more reliable guy to trust when a game is on the line. Madson has thrown 9 straight scoreless outings, and batters are hitting .211 off of him. We know the streak that Lidge has going, and opponents are batting .317 off of him. Maybe a DL stint is in order. Maybe that will be put off, by the Phils, till JC Romero is closer to returning (his suspension is up, barring rain outs, on June 3rd). Maybe pitching coach Rich Dubee will do his job and fix the problem. Maybe Lidge will get back to being Mr. Perfect. Maybe I am having a bad dream. Pinch me.