Brad Lidge is the prime example for regressing back to the mean last year. For everything that went well last year, something has gone equally as bad so far this season.
Lidge converted on all 47 save opportunities last season, but was definitely aided by an 80%+ strand rate and an absurd 3.9% FB/HR ratio, which was well below his career average.
This year has been a little different, to say the least. It’s tough to say what is wrong with Brad Lidge, but it seems to be part his fault and part plain on bad luck.
His K’s are down, almost 3 per 9 below his career average and his walks are up, almost 2 per 9 over his career average. So it is definitely clear that he is not pitching as well, but that is only half of the story.
This year has been the complete opposite of his luck from last season. Opponents are batting .391 on BABiP, He’s only stranded 66% of his runners and 1 out of every 5 flyballs against Lidge is leaving the park, which is only made worse by .65 GB/FB ration compared to a career average 1.04.
As poorly as he has pitched so far this season, it would be hard to find a pitcher who has been as unlucky in these ,etrics as Lidge. It’s no surprise then, that his FIP is almost 2 points lower than his ERA, although still terrible.
The question many in Philly are asking is would Madson be a better option than Brad Lidge. So far, that answer is definitely yes.
Madson is striking out over 10 batters per nine innings and has a 23-6 K/BB ratio. That is quite impressive, as is the fact that Madson has added about 2-mph of velocity to his fastball and slider from last year, so it could be that Madson is pitching above his career numbers, because he is in fact a better pitcher.
Lidge on the other hand, has lost about a mph on his fastball from last year, and gained a mph on his change-up. That is not a good combination, which could explain why is K’s are down and his walks are up.
I don’t know if its because his arm is tired from throwing a lot of innings last year, or he is still banged up, but Lidge has not been in the same form he was last season.
It certainly makes the debate interesting. If Lidge is still hurt or not feeling 100% and his velocity stays down, then Madson should probably be closing. Of course, its only been two months and Lidge has thrown around 20 innings so you don’t want to make a decision on a small sample size.
For the sake of settling this argument, I’ll say give Lidge a break, he was the Phillies best pitcher last season and let him close for awhile. If the velocity stays down, though, it could be cause for concern.
Thank you Fangraphs.