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.