After going a perfect 48-for-48 in saves opportunities in 2008 (postseason included), Brad Lidge struggled completing saves this season. He led the major leagues with 11 blown saves.
Ryan Madson, Lidge's teammate, occasionally caught the disease, blowing six saves. By sharing the same clubhouse, Madson's struggles further proved how the disease spreads.
Major League Baseball is investigating whether some of the Phillies opponents' blown saves were a form of cheating. Witnesses claim that the spread of blown saves was intentional on Lidge's part. MLB's suspicious began when the Pirates' Matt Capps allowed a three-run home run to Ryan Howard. Jonathan Broxton, who blew a save against the Phillies in May, claimed that he spoke to Lidge and shook his hand during batting practice. Broxton's case was overshadowed due to the fact that the Dodgers came back to win.
While Lidge has not had any contact with the following players, they all suffered from major symptoms of Lidge Disease.
Joe Nathan first developed signs of Lidge by getting into a jam during the one game playoff. Luckily, he escaped without further damage, giving reasons to believe it was a glitch. Then, the disease kicked in at its highest levels. Nathan blew a save against the New York Yankees. Alex Rodriguez's home run tied the game and the Yankees eventually won. The home run was not quite Albert Pujols level, but it was close to it.
Ryan Franklin isn't fully to blame for his blown save against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Matt Holliday, a left fielder, suffered from a closely related disease to Lidge. Experts call it choking, but tests have not confirmed the illness. Regardless, Holliday missed a catch that would have ended the game. It resulted in a loss for the Cardinals, and eventually being swept by the Dodgers.
The latest diagnoses of Lidge Disease was detected in Boston. Jonathan Papelbon had a two-run lead with two outs. The Los Angeles Angels rallied for three runs, and swept the Red Sox. Papelbon had not allowed a run in his postseason career until Sunday. The only clear explanation is the contagious spread of Lidge.
Brad Lidge hopes that he does not suffer a breakout from the disease during this postseason. However, other closers, such as Huston Street (Street had Lidge Disease against Matt Stairs in April) will have to be aware.
*This story is not completely true, although based on some struggles around the league*