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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lidge Getting Tipsy Again?

Only Brad Lidge, Joe McEwing, and (presumably) Jim Hickey were privy to the details of how McEwing, and the rest of the National League, were able to pick up exactly what Lidge was about to throw. Of course, this isn't exactly rocket science--Lidge throws exactly two pitches: slider and fastball. (I'd love to see him pick up a changeup, to change speeds a bit more and make hitters have to guess.)

Brad hasn't been throwing his slider for strikes, though, so the guesswork has already been diminished for opposing hitters: sit on the fastball. Ignore anything that's below belt-high--that's the slider, and it sure isn't going to land for a strike. Belt-high or higher? Fastball. Crush it.

But last night, Brad got two pretty quick strikes against Matthew LeCroy, who then had a brief conference with the gNats' third base coach. Given that LeCroy had two strikes against him, you just know that they were not discussing strategy (as in the possibility of a squeeze bunt). It occurs to me that the third base coach is in a prime position to see how Brad's gripping the ball.

LeCroy returns to the batters' box and ignores the sliders (with a long confirmitory look to the third base coach in between each pitch), then walks.

Ward, Soriano, and Clayton all then hit Lidge as though they knew what was coming. Again, that Lidge throws only two pitches--and only ONE for strikes--pretty much eliminates the guesswork. But LeCroy's at-bat really makes me wonder whether Brad's tipping his pitches again, or whether third-base coaches are "stealing" the signs (or Brad's baseball fingering, at any rate), and communicating that info. to the batter.

(BTW, Brad's effectiveness against the Rangers doesn't diminish my theory, with the Rangers being in a different league and all.)


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