Lights Out for Lidge?

And now HouStoned is pleased to introduce a new sports columnist: John Royal is a local lawyer who was part of the Houston Astros video crew in a previous life. You can check out his personal bloggity blog blog at The ClownVision Chronicles. In his first post for HouStoned, he declares lights out for Brad Lidge.

Okay, maybe it's just me, but I'm beginning to sense that something's just not right with Mr. Brad Lidge.

It was just last week that Sports Illustrated was telling me that Brad Lidge had his act together. How he had found the answers to his problems. How he was going to stop listening to everybody but himself. About how it would be 2005 all over again (well, excepting a game-winning home run off of the bat of one Albert Pujols.) Why, according to SI, Lidge went to God and Nolan Ryan for help this season (I'm having some trouble here: he says that he's going to stop listening to everybody, then he goes and listens to Clemens and Ryan — not that there's anything wrong from getting advice from those two. Speaking of which, if he's getting advice from Clemens, then what in the hell was Clemens doing last season when he was supposedly on the staff?)

SI even quotes Brad saying: "I know that last year there wasn't a whole lot to root for, but I feel very confident this year that I'll be back to where I was in the past. I think I learned a lot from last year."

There's even talk that other teams are still interested in trading for Lidge, especially the Boston Red Sox.

But Lidge is still getting beat up. His stats just don't look good. Now Lidge claims part of the reason is that he's been working on some other pitches during the games. However, shouldn't Lidge be working on his key out pitch during game action? Shouldn't he be making sure that his slider is really sliding instead of working on various fastballs?

Well, okay, he is working on the slider. In a special batting practice situation on a back field. It was the slider with which he struggled last season. So shouldn't he be working on that in live game situations? Or is that really the problem?

Maybe Lidge has just lost his slider. Like the way some guys lose speed on their fastballs, or find their curves flattening out.

It just might be me. But I think Brad Lidge has lost it. I think Albert Pujols might have destroyed this guy. And maybe it's time that the Astros just give up on Lidge.

I've got nothing against Brad Lidge. He's a nice guy. But it appears that he's become Mitch Williams after the Joe Carter home run. Mark Wohlers after the Jim Leyritz home run. Byung-Hyun Kim after the Yankees beat on him in 2001. Ralph Branca after the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

Brad Lidge might have a long career ahead of him. I just don't think that it's in Houston. If the Red Sox really want him, let's see what the team can get for him. But I have a cunning plan: let's see if the Tampa Bay Devil Rays want him, and I don't think the Astros should ask for much. Just maybe the 'Stros should see if the team can get Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. What can it hurt -- maybe Gerry Hunsicker will do the Astros a favor because of his fondness for Drayton.

Okay, I only said that it was a cunning plan, not that it was practical. -- John Royal

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