PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had a tremendous amount of confidence in Brad Lidge after they acquired him in a trade before the 2008 season, and they let him know it right away. "'You're our closer,'" Lidge recalls being told by manager Charlie Manuel, general manager Pat Gillick and assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "'You're going to get out there, and we're going to give you the ball, and if it doesn't go good on the first game of the season, you're still going to get the ball the next game, because you're our closer.'" None of the parties involved has had to worry, however, about the "if it doesn't go good" part. As the Phillies' closer in 2008, Lidge has been better than good.
He's been perfect. The most reliable closer in Phillies history has been recognized with Major League Baseball's Delivery Man of the Year Award, presented by DHL. The Phillies won 92 games during the regular season to win their second consecutive National League East title and now stand one win away from their first World Series title since 1980, thanks in large part to Lidge's consistency in the ninth inning. Lidge saved 41 games in 41 chances during the regular season, setting a team record for consecutive saves. He finished the regular season with a 2-0 record and 1.95 ERA in 69 1/3 innings pitched. "He's just that type of guy," fellow reliever Chad Durbin said. "He wants to be out there, and we'll give him the ball, let him go do his thing." That string of success has continued in the postseason, as Lidge has saved six games to bring his streak to 47. The Phillies are an astounding 85-0 when leading after eight innings in 2008. But don't expect Lidge to revel in the accolades just yet. His team has a few more items on its agenda. "I try, honestly, not to pay attention to the amount of saves or where the streak it at," Lidge said. "We're in the postseason, and you [have to] go out there every single time and get it done."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.