Former Astros closer Brad Lidge has been designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals. Lidge had an ugly 9.64 ERA and an even uglier 2.464 WHIP for the season after a couple of rough outings this weekend. Lidge allowed multiple earned runs in four of his eleven relief appearances with the Nationals this season and is no longer a part of the N.L. East leader’s future plans.
Lidge picked up a pair of saves earlier in the year but has been plagued by injuries yet again this season. With eleven walks in nine & 1/3 innings pitched the writing was definitely on the wall for the former first round pick of the Astros. Lidge has had one of the most up-and-down MLB careers in recent memory after quickly establishing himself as a dominant force out of the Astros bullpen. He often appeared to be a man among boys, for example: fanning all four Colorado Rockies he faced on the last day of the 2004 season to secure the wild-card spot for the Astros.
Lidge would save 42 games in an All-Star 2005 season and help the Astros to the precipice of a Championship. And then, it happened. Needing one more out to advance to the first World Series in Astros franchise history, Lidge surrendered a tape-measure homerun to Albert Pujols giving the Cardinals a win that would extend the series. Roy Oswalt would pick Lidge up by winning the next game in St. Louis, but the damage to Brad’s psyche was complete.
Lidge was suddenly a mess after that homerun, losing two games in the 2005 World Series and suffering through subpar seasons in ’06 & ’07. The Astros sent Lidge to the Phillies that offseason in a trade that brought Michael Bourn to the Space City. Lidge experienced an improbable return to glory in Philadelphia, converting all 48 of his save opportunities including the clinching game of the 2008 World Series.
But Lidge fell hard to earth again the following season, going 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA. After offseason arm surgery Lidge would suffer through two more injury plagued seasons with the Phillies before signing a Free Agent deal with Washington last winter. His career mark of 11.9 strikeouts per 9 innings is still among the best of all-time. Lidge, 35, no longer has the high-nineties fastball to blow away hitters but his slider could still be good enough to land him a job in someone’s bullpen.