Monday, August 17, 2009

Biting the Big One

I had a weekend that can only be described as up and down. Friday night, I had planned on visiting my parents when I get in my car and drive down the road hearing the infamous sound of a flat tire. Great.

I pulled into a gas station to check it out and fill it up with some air … and the mystery was solved. A screw in the tire, one that somehow ripped a pretty large hole. Well, instead of wasting all the time and energy putting on the spare and heading to my parents', I did what any other lazy person would do — I drove the 2 minutes back to my house and brought it to Pep Boys in the morning.

That gave me the opportunity to watch Ryan Howard save the day with his game-winning home run in the top of ninth. I also had to watch Brad Lidge give up a single, a stolen base and a walk before squirming out of trouble for the save.

None of us were so lucky on Saturday. Even though Cole Hamels still didn't have his ace stuff that we're all waiting for, he did keep the Phillies in the game giving up just two runs on three hits in six innings. It would be nice to see him not give up a home run for once this season, and that 4 walks to 2 strikeouts nonsense has to go, but still, Cole did his job to keep the Phils tied 2-2. Then Jayson Werth did his job, putting the Phils ahead 3-2 with a solo blast, and Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson all did their jobs, turning the game over to Lidge with a one-run lead in the ninth.

Brad LIdge did not do his job. At all. He gave up a leadoff single (although Chase should have had it), then committed an error on a bunt that allowed Garrett Anderson to tie the game and allowed Matt Diaz to get to third on said bunt attempt. Then he intentionally walked Adam Laroche. Then he unintentionally walked Greg Norton (though he was pitching around him I think to get the force at home). Then he struck out Ryan Church for the first out of the inning. No matter. Omar Infante singled to left to end the game.

Blown save No. 8 for Brad Lidge, who now is officially the worst player in baseball. Last year's unhittable force is now 0-5 with a 7.21 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, .299 batting average against, has given up almost nine more runs than innings pitched, and has served up 10 homers. He is the complete opposite pitcher as the 2008 version of Brad Lidge. He sucks. Horribly. And he's flat-out killing the Phillies.

This team needs to do something about this come September unless Lidge miraculously turns things around by then. Which seems unlikely, given his season so far and his past struggles. This team needs a new closer. Brett Myers. Pedro Martinez. Someone via trade. I don't care, but Brad Lidge has gots to go. Pathetic.

To console ourselves, Toonces, silver fox and another friend of ours went and did perhaps the dumbest thing we've done all year. That's right, we went to Machismo Burrito Bar in Manayunk and attempted to tackle the 5-lb. burrito.

Not us, but yeah, we tried to eat that thing

Not a good idea. First of all, however big you might think a five-pound burrito is, double it. Trust me, it's way bigger than you'd think. Second of all, don't ever even bother. That was one of the most painful experiences of my life.

Upon seeing it, I immediately knew there was no way I was going to finish this thing, especially in the allotted hour to get it for free. But then, for a short while, once I tackled the thing, I thought maybe, just maybe I could do it. I started shoveling burrito down my face at a furious pace, hoping to trick myself into not getting full. And it was working … for a while. About halfway in, I hit a wall, and that wall could not be broken. My stomach was at full capacity, and even at this moment, I can't imagine eating at all. That thing was a beast. And I will never try anything like that again. It was just too painful.

All four of us were defeated, left sweaty, bloated and aching from the monstrous burrito.

Praise Jebus that Ryan Howard was there to distract me from my food baby last night. Man, is that guy getting hot: 3-for-3, two bombs, all four RBIs. The big man is heating up.

That first homer, the solo shot, I have no idea how someone could be that strong. He pulled his hands all the way in, seemingly incapable for a human to generate any power that way, yet hit it out in Atlanta's cavernous park. The second one, of course, was a patented moon shot, a thing of beauty.

It's getting that time where Ryan goes on a tear and carries the offense on his back, and he's right on time again. Up to 30, it wouldn't be shocking to see him reach 45 homers given his track record of total domination in September. With such a question mark at the back of the pen, that can only help the Phillies' chances.

While Brad Lidge is doing everything in his power to hinder this team, Howard's using his power, literally, to fuel the Phillies for another postseason run. If he needs any calories to get him going, let's just say I know of this 5-lb. burrito that may interest him.

BallHype: hype it up!

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