For Lidge, confidence is high

 Posted by at 3:33 pm
Oct 052010
Phillies closer Brad Lidge

Phillies closer Brad Lidge

October 5 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The photograph may be the most iconic in the 127 years since the Phillies first pulled on what now seem like unreasonable facsimiles of baseball gloves.

Brad Lidge on his knees, both arms thrust toward the sky in a classic hallelujah pose, welcoming teammates and an entire city of delirious Phillies fans into his embrace after he struck out Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske to nail down the World Series championship two years ago.

“Oh yeah,” Lidge said when asked whether the photo was prominently displayed in his home.

“For me, that was an incredible moment,” he went on. “But once that moment has come and gone, you really want to be there again, because you know how amazing that feeling was. I want that feeling again. I want to have that moment again with my teammates.”

In that 2008 season, Lidge was Mr. Perfect, going 41 for 41 in regular-season save opportunities and 7 for 7 in the postseason.

Typically, though, world-class athletes don’t conjure the past until they have grandchildren bouncing on their knees, but Lidge doesn’t mind talking about where he was physically and mentally last fall compared with where he said he is today, as the Phillies begin their quest for another iconic photo.

A year ago at this time, Lidge was concerned about his right knee and elbow, and those concerns eroded his confidence. He’d blown 11 saves and lost eight games in the regular season with a 7.21 earned run average. He did have three saves in three opportunities and a win in the postseason. But in his only World Series appearance, he couldn’t hold on to a 4-4 tie in Game 4. The Yankees got to him for three runs in the top of the ninth, and the Phillies couldn’t overcome a three-games-to-one deficit.

Nothing iconic about that.

“Last year at this time, I was scrambling to figure out a way mechanically to stay on the field,” he said. “I was able to lock in for a little bit during the postseason, but I didn’t have a good World Series game. I only got to throw once, really, because of the way the World Series went.”

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