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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spotlight: Cory Lidle 

At the beginning of the season I wasn’t entirely sure of what to make of Cory Lidle. Talented pitcher, probably, but he had a spotty track record. The Phillies were his sixth team in eight years and he was a career .530 pitcher (61-54), with a 4.48 ERA. Sure he pitched well with the team in the ten games he played since joining the team in August of ’04, but he was coming from the Reds and had pitched poorly in their home-run friendly ball park.

How would he fare with the Phillies?

Pretty well as it turns out.

In the 19 games he’s started for the Phillies, this is how he’s doing*:

Won-Lost – ERA – BB/9 – K/9 – HR/9
2004: 5-2 / 3.90 / 2.45 / 4.76 / 0.43
2005: 4-3 / 3.75 / 1.87 / 5.46 / 0.47
Total: 9-5 / 3.83 / 2.18 / 5.10 / 0.45

That’s pretty darn good. Compare that to his exile in Cincy:

2004 (Reds): 7-10 / 5.32 / 2.66 / 5.62 / 1.44

His last start, a nine-inning complete game masterpiece against the Orioles, was tremendous, but not the best game his pitched this year. That was his 5-2 loss to the Brewers, where he was done in by the bullpen and lousy fielding. He K’d 11 Brewers in the game. Since beginning the year 0-2, Lidle has gone 4-1, his sole loss being the heartbreak against the Brew crew.

Lidle is pitching well, almost as well as Brett Myers, the team’s 4-2 Cy Young candidate. The Phillies have played o.k. defense behind Lidle, especially compared to Myers:

DER:
Lieber: .753
Myers: .748
Lidle: .706
Wolf: .685
Team: .697

The terrific fielding has helped obscure the fact that Lieber isn’t pitching well these days (his 4.01 ERA masks a 5.60 FIP), and it shields Myers 1.88 ERA from the fact that his FIP is a run higher (3.11 FIP). Lidle is actually pitching better than he looks: his FIP is 3.25, a half-run better than his 3.75 ERA. Here is the starting rotation’s FIPs:

FIP:
Myers: 3.11
Lidle: 3.25
Wolf: 5.20
Lieber: 5.60
Padilla: 6.71
Team:

Not too shabby: while Lidle isn’t the K artist Myers is (5.5 per 9 innings to Myers 11.3), he surrenders fewer walks and home runs per nine innings than Myers. This shouldn’t be surprising, in retrospect, given what Lidle did with the Phillies in ’04: 3.69 FIP.

Maybe Lidle isn’t quite pitching as well as Myers (note: Myers is 4-2, but his record could just as easily be 7-1. The Phillies scored just one run in his 2-1 loss to the Cubs and Myers surrendered just one earned run in 21 and two-thirds innings in his three no-decisions), but he’s close and the Phillies need a good No. 2 starter to compliment Myers. Looks like they found one.

* Baffled by the stats? Here is a quick glossary:

FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching: (13*HR+3*BB-2*K / IP) + League Factor Evaluates a pitching by how he would have done with an average defense behind him by keeping track of things that a pitcher can control (walks, strikeouts, home runs allowed) as opposed to things he cannot (hits allowed, runs allowed).
DER – Defense Efficiency Ratio: (Batters Faced – (Hits + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) / (Batters Faced – (Home Runs, Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) How often fielders convert balls put into play into outs.
Hr/9 – Home Runs allowed per nine innings.
K/9 – Strikeouts per nine innings.
BB/9 – Walks per nine innings.

Comments:
Lidle is exactly the type of pitcher that benefits from the advanced stats you've shown because he's pitched better than his record and strikeout numbers would indicate. Nice job.

More than any pitcher on the staff, he sets up pitches with previous pitches. So far in his Phila. stint, Lidle strikes me as a very smart Maddux-esque pitcher, even more than Jon Lieber.
 
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