With the Nationals trailing the New York Yankees by a run in the seventh on Friday night, Brad Lidge entered out of the bullpen for his first meaningful appearance since April. Before his first pitch crossed the plate, his evening was off to a bumpy start.
Fleet-footed DeWayne Wise easily stole second on Lidge’s first pitch. Lidge then worked Russell Martin to a full count before walking him on eight pitches.
“I think Russell Martin did a good job tonight, because it didn’t seem like he was swinging at anything,” Lidge said. “So I would say he did a good job and with first base open, I was hoping he’d chase a slider or at least hit the ball in play not well.”
After Jayson Nix bunted to move over Wise and Martin, Lidge intentionally walked Robinson Cano to load the bases and face Derek Jeter. Ian Desmond had difficulty fielding Jeter’s deep-grounder to short and a pair of runs crossed as Desmond misfired on his throw to first base. Jeter would be the last better faced by Lidge, who was ultimately charged for three earned runs in one-third of an inning of a 7-2 loss.
“Just seeing him take the swing and seeing the ball not come well off his bat to that side of the infield,” Lidge said of Jeter’s hit. “Initially I’m thinking okay, whoever gets it throws home and maybe we can double them up.”
Lidge was able to mix in his slider on Friday, and threw it confidently with the bases loaded. The 35-year-old said he thought the pitch was moving at a good angle, but he was unable to get batters to chase. With more outings, Lidge said he will begin to fall into a rhythm and “with any luck the results will be a lot different.”
Friday was Lidge’s third appearance since coming off the disabled list earlier this month. Last Friday, Lidge entered with a four-run lead against Boston before yielding a run. He pitched a clean inning and fanned a batter on Wednesday after he inherited a four-run lead at Toronto. He has now given up four runs on two hits since returning from the disabled list.
“Through three games so far, I feel like it’s all right,” Lidge said. “Not exactly where I want to be, but with any luck the results will be a lot different.”
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