Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Closing Arguments

Brad Lidge has endured one of the worst seasons in history for a Phillies closer—and that’s saying something considering the years had by the likes of Jose Mesa, Mike Williams, and Jeff Brantley.

Lidge has 10 blown saves and a 7.24 ERA, which puts him on pace to have the worst ERA in baseball history for a pitcher with at least 15 saves in a season, according to Colorado’s Shawn Chacon is the current leader with a 7.11 ERA and 35 saves in 2004.

And, according to’s Jayson Stark, no team has won a World Series with a closer who blew at least 10 saves.

With just 12 games remaining, Lidge should be safe from breaking the major-league record of 14 blown saves in a season, held by four players, most recently Ron Davis in 1984.

Oddly enough, Lidge (31 saves) and Ryan Madson (8 saves) could team up for a bit of Phillies relief pitcher history. A Phillies reliever has recorded 30 saves 12 times. Prior to this season, just twice has one reliever reached at least 30 saves while another had more than four. And no second reliever has ever topped eight saves.

In 1996, Ricky Bottalico (34) and Ken Ryan (8) teamed up on a 67-95 team, while in 1995 Heathcliff Slocumb (32) and Toby Borland (6) combined for a team that went 69-75 in a strike-shortened season.

Not exactly legendary names from the past. Then again, Lidge and Madson aren’t exactly having legendary seasons; they’ve also combined for 16 blown saves.

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