Lidge's current statistics are worrisome, to say the least. They are horrible, to put it more accurately. Through 49 games this year, Lidge has saved 23 games, blown 8 games, has a 0-5 record, a 7.21 ERA and a .299 batting average against. Lidge has allowed runs in 45% of his games pitched this year. Comparatively, 2008 Brad Lidge, saved 41 games, blew 0 games, had a 2-0 record, a 1.95 ERA and a .198 batting avg. against. 2008 Brad Lidge was only scored (earned runs) upon in 18% of his games.
Looking back at recent history, the closer among the previous 20 World Series winners with the worst ERA is Robb Nen (1997 Marlins), at 3.89. For those with a World Series repeat on the brain, doubling the worst ERA among the last 20 World Series winning closers would result in an ERA just 0.57 worse than 2009 Brad Lidge. Once again, so this sinks in, 2009 Brad Lidge's ERA is only a half run better than DOUBLE the worst ERA of the 20 previous World Series winning closers!
The highest non-Marlin ERA among the last 20 World Series winning closers is 2006 Cardinal Jason Isringhausen with 3.55. Isringhausen blew 10 saves that season, but was only scored on in 25% of his appearances. That's 20% better than 2009 Brad Lidge, who is on pace to match Izzy's 10 blown saves.
None of the last 20 World Series winning closers have gone the entire season without a win. In fact the lowest win total of the past 20 WS winning closers was 2007's Jonathan Papelbon, for the Red Sox, who had 1. All others had multiple wins.
Of those past 20 World Series winning closers, aside from Isringhausen, Nen and 2003 Marlin Braden Looper, every single one of them had an ERA under 3.00. 14 of the 20 had ERA's under 2.40 (1/3 of Lidge's current ERA). 10 of the 20 had ERA's under 2.10.
No Phillies phan should feel confident with 2009 Brad Lidge, and his 7.21 ERA, closing games down the stretch and potentially into the postseason. As you've noticed, I've begun using the terms "2009 Brad Lidge" and "2008 Brad Lidge" to identify two men who are clearly different beings. These men wear the same jersey number, have the same birth mark on their faces and enter the playing field to the same song, but there is no mistaking that "09-BL" and "08-BL" are not the same person. How could they be...? One man was perfect and led his team through the World Series, the other man is feeble and craps the proverbial bed too often.
I'd trust a situational committee more than I'd trust "09-BL". Ryan Madson shuts down the Pirates- use him against Pittsburgh. Scott Eyre owns the D-Backs- use him against Arizona. Jamie Moyer has luck versus the Marlins- there you go. Chad Durbin is solid against the Mets- hello, New York! And when JC Romero and/or Brett Myers make it back, get those guys some turns.
This season has reached the latter portion of August. There are less than 7 weeks left before the playoffs begin. The Phillies can't keep waiting for 2008 Brad Lidge to return. It's time to bump the imposter aside and win as many games as possible.
A list of the last 20 World Series winning closers, and their statistics, can be found in the comment section of this post.