I had that sinking feeling with each stinking sinking Brad Lidge pitch that caught the corner of the umpire's fancy and was called strike. That pitch got Furcal for strike one, and for strike three as well. Both called, and Furcal didn't like it. The crowd didn't like it. I didn't like it. I guess they really were strikes, but I didn't want them to be. It wasn't fair. Dammit it wasn't. Not as unfair as Broxton's pitches, but that's different. Broxton is a good-guy. Lidge is Darth Vader. I'm not much for perspective or even-handedness in the bottom of the ninth down one. Not with just two outs left.
The nasty pitch on the corner was his slider, I think. Some of them might have been change ups. A nasty pitch, whatever. He gave some of those slider things to Hudson, who grounded pathetically out. I remember Lidge checking his throw to first for a moment, after fielding the little rolling comebacker, as if he couldn't believe how weakly that ball had been hit. It was as weak as the Dodger attack against Moyer. Again, a Philly pitcher who had no business shutting them down shuts them down. First Park back in Philadelphia, and then Moyer, but we can forget about Moyer doing it, because of how it ended. It never happened, you know? I don't have to hand out unfair loss shares to the hitters most responsible for not lighting up the creaky 46 year old starter, and therefore it never happened.
Back to Lidge. After perhaps contemplating how easy his save was going as he held Hudson's weak grounder, he lightly tossed it to first for the out. That's the second out, and the third out had to be right behind. This is where Data or Spock or young emotional Uhura-dating Spock would announce the terrible odds the Dodgers were facing, if this was Star Trek. Terrible odds! Point zero zero zero four eight percent, captain. We better all beam up and punch the warp drive and slingshot around the Sun so fast that we go back in time before this ever happened, that's how bad it is. Blake comes up against Lidge wearing a red starfleet uniform. Blake is a stormtrooper. The force is not with us. It's okay to mix Star Wars and Star Trek when things look this grim. I'd mix in some Last Starfighter tropes too if I knew any lines from that movie.
So Blake comes up, and he goes behind 1-2, and I know that pain is coming, and I'm thinking about picking up the remote so that I can switch off the TV as fast as possible after he strikes out, but that just feels too defeatist, you know? I'm supposed to have more faith in this team than that. Never give up on them, have faith Luke, turn off your targeting computer, blah, blah blah. Whatever. But I don't pick up the remote. And then Blake gets another evil slider, I think, but it's not quite perfect, and he hits it, and hard, and true, and into left field, where it is not caught, and that's a single. Wow. Huh. So now I can dream of an impossible Loney home run, and then after he goes out feel just a little more deflated than I already would have if it had just been a 1-2-3 surrender. Whoopee.
And Loney goes down in the count 1-2, but I'm not so sure of defeat this time. It seems like something has changed. Lidge can't hit that corner with the slider anymore. He goes to 2-2, then throws a fastball for a strike, but Loney fouls it off. Then two more balls follow, including ball four that is very close, and a very good job by Loney to lay off, and that's first and second and two out and now I guess the game is there to be tied. I start imagining a Martin single to left field, and then I imagine Blake being thrown out at the plate, I can't help it. Apparently Torre was imagining the same thing, because he hollers out at Blake to see if he should take him out, and Blake makes a great show of being ready to run, flexing his legs and all, but I'm not fooled. Dude's slow.
Now Martin swings at one of those sliders on strike one, only this one is about a foot off the corner. Aaaaauuuugggghhh. No no no. You don't waste a precious strike against Lidge like that Martin, that's like wasting water among the Fremen on Akkaris. ( I suppose Dune analogies are a little too far out in the outfield here --- we're talking the old Polo Grounds deep center field here. ) At least Martin lays off that same pitch the next time. But then he takes a nice hittable pitch for a strike. It's 1-2 again. Not again! And then Martin hits the next pitch, fairly well, but not great, and it's a hard grounder to third base. But Pedro Feliz boots it. Ex-Giant, Pedro Feliz, I always think of him. Always. He'll always be a stinking Giant to me. And this stinking Giant made a crucial error to keep the Dodgers alive. Ha ha ha! Can you spell Schadenfreude? ( Can you? It's not an easy word to spell. ) Bases loaded, baby. This is either going to be a wrenching loss or a hammering win.
Then Ethier comes up, and Brad Lidge throws a fastball right down the middle and Ethier connects and the game is over. Just like that. Crappy pitch right over the plate and Ethier gets to be the hero. Oh sure, Furcal and Hudson and Blake and Loney and Martin are thinking, we have to see all these nasty corner sliders and we barely escape with our baserunning lives ( some of us ) and then Ethier comes up and gets that easy pitch? Sheesh, some guys get all the breaks. No wonder they sent out Kemp to give the shaving cream towel pie in the face.
Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )
Ethier -- 2
Loney -- 1
Unfair Loss Shares ( Phillies )
Lidge -- 2
Feliz -- 1