Astros News

Astros: Inconsistent closers since Pujols home run

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 26: Relief pitcher Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning of Game Four of the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 26, 2005 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - OCTOBER 26: Relief pitcher Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning of Game Four of the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 26, 2005 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON – OCTOBER 17: Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of National League Championship Series during the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs on October 17, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Astros defeated the Cardinals 6-5 to tie the series at 2-2. (Photo By Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
HOUSTON – OCTOBER 17: Brad Lidge #54 of the Houston Astros pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of National League Championship Series during the 2004 Major League Baseball Playoffs on October 17, 2004 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Astros defeated the Cardinals 6-5 to tie the series at 2-2. (Photo By Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Brad Lidge

Lidge enjoyed a pair of dominant seasons in 2004 and 2005, picking up where Billy Wagner left off. He put up a 1.90 ERA in 2004, striking out a ridiculous 157 batters in 94.2 innings of relief. He notched 42 saves with a 2.29 ERA in 2005, giving the Astros plenty of confidence in him leading up to that fateful homer.

After it, though, that confidence waned. Lidge struggled through the 2006 season, posting a 1-5 record and 5.28 ERA. He still made 78 appearances and saved 32 games, and he still struck out more than 100 batters, but he just wasn’t the same pitcher.

Lidge’s rates of hits, walks and home runs allowed spiked in 2006. His strikeout-to-walk ratio plummeted, and he set a career high in wild pitches thrown. In fact, he gave up twice as many homers in 2006 as he did the year prior.

His 2007 season was a little better, as his ERA improved to 3.36 over 66 appearances. He only saved 19 games, and his peripheral numbers weren’t that much better than his 2006 numbers. Ultimately it would prove to be his final season in a Houston uniform.

The Astros traded Lidge to the Phillies after the 2007 season along with Eric Bruntlett and received Michael Bourn, Michael Costanzo and Geoff Geary in return. Lidge would bounce back to put up an incredible 2008 season, notching 41 saves with a 1.95 ERA and recording the final out of the World Series.

He had an awful 2009 season before posting good numbers in limited appearances in 2010 and 2011. He made his last major league appearance in 2012 with the Nationals. The Astros also made another trade after the 2007 season which gave them the closer they were looking for.

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