This weekend, I actually said the phrase, “I wish there was some way that the pitchers didn’t have to handle the ball.”
While making no sense, it was stated directly after Brad Lidge’s little circus routine on Saturday that cost us the sweep. Bobbling the ball hit right back to him, and then mistaking what was probably a hot dog vendor or small child in the stands for Ryan Howard, we watched our hopes for a blanking of the Braves sail past Howard’s glove.
Lidge calmly loaded the bases and then wiped them clean again with an embarrassing error that, in turn, caused my blood pressure to spike in a way that would have most doctors telling you to start coffin-shopping. This was probably why I began speaking the aforementioned gibberish.
What I meant was, every time a pitcher who isn’t Greg Maddux goes to field the ball, you can feel your chest get tight. It’s always a risky couple of seconds.
But that’s more about the immediate issue. It’s not like Brad was screwing up an otherwise picture-perfect season. Just the opposite, in fact, unless we’re talking about a picture of someone failing.
It’s easy to draw comparisons, so let’s etch together a few of ‘um:
OH! Oh. When I hear the name, I don’t see his face, I just see Joe Carter running around the bases as I prepare to go to Kindergarten in tears the following morning.
Another championship team, another closer suffering from inconsistency. A lot of people assumed the ’93 Phils could get by on their good looks, but in the end, look what happened. Everyone, and I mean everyone: the fans, his teammates, his coaches, his family, Harry Kalas, and the hairs of his own mullet got nervous when Wild Thing wrapped his fingers around a baseball.
In the end…the very end…it cost us everything.
Sound familiar? Want to re-live that delightful little sequence in Philadelphia sports again?
I feel like a rat bit me on the stomach just thinking about it.
2007 DIVISION CHAMPS
People had been saying it all season long. The bullpen was our weak point, amidst a team that was pretty close to where we are now. Brett Myers jumped in the closing spot, and whoa! Next thing you know, we’re a playoff team!
And the next thing you know, we’re at home devouring comfort food, watching the Rockies play in the World Series.
A team with a weak bullpen, or in the current case, with a particularly weak spot that the manager seems to be ignoring, does NOT ADVANCE in the PLAYOFFS.
It’s the Jamie Moyer predicament all over again. “Disheartened,” Moyer claimed he was after the move to the bullpen, but guess what? That screamin’ hot 78 MPH fastball just isn’t cutting it.
And Brad has much larger shoes to fill. That, of course, could be where this slump is coming from, but I’m at the point where you can’t worry about where these problems are coming from.
They’re here, and its time to address that.
No, the fielding error is not why some serious re-thinking needs to be done. It was just the exclamation point on a 9th inning that reeked of Lidge dong what he does now, apparently.
I don’t care if your horse won the Triple Crown. I don’t want a ride if he’s been shot in the leg.