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Q&A: Lidge reflects on postseason experience

Former closer pitched in World Series with Astros, Phillies
October 7, 2017

Brad Lidge was selected by the Astros in the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft. He later was part of the only two Houston teams to win a postseason series out of the 10 that have made it (not including this season).Lidge was a member of the Astros in

Brad Lidge was selected by the Astros in the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft. He later was part of the only two Houston teams to win a postseason series out of the 10 that have made it (not including this season).
Lidge was a member of the Astros in 2004 -- when they knocked off the Braves in the National League Division Series before losing to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series -- and in '05 -- when they made it to the World Series before getting swept by the White Sox.
Lidge later pitched for the Phillies -- winning the World Series in 2008 -- and he finished his big league career with a brief stint with the Nationals in '12.
However, Lidge admits he still has special feelings for the Astros, who are looking to win their first World Series title this postseason and have taken a 2-0 lead over the Red Sox in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
Lidge discussed his postseason experience in this week's Q&A. Are you rooting for the Astros this postseason?
Lidge: A part of me is definitely rooting for the Astros. When I was in [Triple-A] Round Rock, I remember talking to Nolan Ryan, who owned the franchise and would come to the games. To see him on television at the Astros' playoff games this year, sitting with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, made me feel good to have been a part of that [World Series] run with the Astros and to know those guys.
So for sure, a part of me wants Houston and that city to win a World Series, especially in 2017 when they had to deal with Hurricane Harvey. I try to be nonpartisan, but I'd certainly love to see the Houston Astros win the World Series. Some ties are for life?
Lidge: Oh, for sure. That's the organization I came up with. I think probably at this point, I have obviously a lot of ties with the Phillies, and I've been working with the Phillies in Spring Training, talking to a lot of the rookies over the winter in a Rookie Development Program. I'm more tied in with the Phillies, but that being said, I still have tons of connections in Houston. When I watch the Astros, there are so many great memories of friends and moments that we had. And really, to think about the guys I played with there, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Hall of Famers, and Andy Pettitte. So coming up in that organization, idolizing those guys and then getting to play with them and watching them win their first ever postseason series, that was a huge deal for the young players like me. When you think back to the postseason with the Astros, what comes to mind?
Lidge: The 2004 postseason, it was the first time [to win a series in Astros history]. When I look back at '04 and '05, I remember the Braves, Cardinals. It seemed like, at that time, it was very much the three of us that just seemed to be locked in. We played the Braves in the Division Series in '04 and '05, and then we played the Cardinals in the NLCS in '04 and '05.
MLB: Are there any particular games that you think of or just the emotion of the city?
Lidge: What is unforgettable is how loud it got when they closed the roof at Minute Maid Park. It was a huge home-field advantage for us. In September in '04 and '05, we just didn't lose at home. And when they closed that roof, as loud as it got, no pitcher in the other team's bullpen wanted to come into those games. It was so loud that [former] Commissioner [Bud] Selig actually forced us to keep the roof open in the World Series when we played the White Sox, which to a man, none of us could understand. We were all pretty upset about it. I'm still a little bit upset that we weren't allowed to close the roof, because I feel like it was such a huge home-field advantage. In that Game 6 loss in the 2004 NLCS, which tied the series at 3, you pitched the ninth, 10th and 11th innings, shutting the Cardinals out. But they finally won in the 12th. That had to be tough?
Lidge: For sure. It was one of those games where all of us felt like we were giving it everything we had. It was a proud moment, too, because I was really happy to be able to do that for my team. And unfortunately, I came out, Dan Miceli came in and Jim Edmonds got him. That set the tone for Game 7 the next day. The next year, the Astros make their first trip to the World Series, but it ends in a four-game sweep by the White Sox.
Lidge: We had a really hard time scoring with guys on base. I had a couple bad games. We all felt like none of us played our best. But even that being said, they were all close games, one- or two-run games. They just outplayed us, and sometimes, you've got to tip your hat. They were better than us in 2005, but we really felt like we had a great team, and I think that it was a little frustrating that we weren't able to do better. But we got to the World Series. We all felt pretty darn good about that. In 2008, you won the World Series with the Phillies.
Lidge: After 2005, I felt very, very fortunate. One thing that drove me a lot in 2008 was feeling. I was really fortunate to be on another good team, and I was going to make sure that second chance went well. Just for me to be able to have that little bit of redemption was huge. It was very emotional for me that whole year, especially when we won the whole thing. In the 2008 playoffs, you made nine appearances spanning 9 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits. That's pretty impressive.
Lidge: I felt as locked in as any time in my career than I ever had. I knew where to throw the pitch according to the hitter, and it would go there. You don't always get in those zones where everything does what it's supposed to do. But in 2008, in September and in that run we had through the playoffs, I felt extremely confident in every pitch I threw. Any particularly at-bats in those postseason games that stand out in your memory?
Lidge: [Former Braves pitcher] John Smoltz got a hit off me in 2004. It was my first postseason series and we were back home in Houston, and I was going really well. Then Smoltz steps up, and the first pitch I throw him, a fastball, and he ropes a single to right field. A few years later, I have him sign a jersey for me. And he writes on the jersey, "Great career," or whatever. Then, he ends up saying, "P.S. Sorry about the knock in the playoffs." I love that, and it just kind of goes to show what a competitor he was.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for