Working the top of the seventh with the Phillies down by a run to the Padres, Brad Lidge pitched a perfect inning Monday in his season debut.
Lidge, who went down in the spring with a sore shoulder and later dealt with elbow problems as well, threw 11 pitches, nine of them sliders. His first fastball came in at 89 mph. The second was a 90 mph pitch that nearly hit Jesus Guzman in the head.
Other than that, it was all sliders. His first five were mediocre at best, but he got better from there, particularly with the two that proved to be strike two and strike three to Kyle Blanks. His other two outs came on grounders.
All in all, it was a positive debut. Still, the circumstances were very favorable, as the one left-handed hitter he faced, Will Venable, had three homers in 221 at-bats for the season. Hitters no longer have to be afraid of Lidge’s fastball, and good left-handers should be able to wait him out until getting a hanging slider or a walk.
The 2017 MLB award season officially drew to a close on Friday with the Esurance MLB Awards, handed out to the best hitters, pitchers, front office members and moments in the 2017 season. Jose Altuve was crowned the Best Major Leaguer overall, beating out fellow finalists Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, while two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber took home honors as Best Pitcher.
Here’s the full list of winners:
- Best Rookie: Aaron Judge
- Best Defensive Player: Nolan Arenado
- Personality of the Year: Adrian Beltre
- Best Postseason Major Leaguer: Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander
- Best Postseason Moment: Alex Bregman‘s 10th inning walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
- Best TV/Radio Call: Joe Buck and John Smoltz call Jose Altuve’s game-tying three-run blast in Game 5 of the World Series (video)
- Best Play (Offense): Nolan Arenado completes the cycle with a walk-off homer (video)
- Best Play (Defense): Austin Jackson‘s over-the-wall catch in the Red Sox’ bullpen (video)
- Best Single-Game Performance: Anthony Rendon‘s six-hit, three-homer, 10-RBI game (video)
- Best Player-Fan Interaction: Joey Votto gives Walter “Superbubz” Herbert a bat and jersey (video)
- Best Fan Catch: Fan’s brother-in-law grabs Yasiel Puig home run ball and chucks it back on the field (video)
- Best Manager: A.J. Hinch
- Best Executive: Jeff Luhnow
No surprises here — the world champion Astros ran away with seven awards, including those for Best Manger and Executive and a dual award for Best Major Leaguer of the Postseason. Altuve added to an impressive run this offseason after earning a Silver Slugger, two Players Choice Awards, Hank Aaron Award and MVP Award for his outstanding work in 2017, while Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge continued to be a lock for all AL rookie-based awards after locking down the Rookie of the Year title earlier this week.