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"Meltdown Time," StrosDux called it. They call it a Blown Save down at STATS, Inc.

I'll call it a blow up:

I don't enjoy being right here, but you could see this coming a mile away.

You ignore the signs at your own risk. Lidge is like the alcoholic who never got the intervention from his family that he needed, and now he's gone and committed the drunken vehicular homicide.

It didn't have to happen this way; the tragedy did not have to go down. Garner, Hickey, all of us, damnit, were the enablers. We ignored the warning signs, the pleas for help from a pitcher cast loose from his moorings.

The timing was exquisite in its painfulness, but doesn't it always work like that? Maybe if Hickey had pulled Brad back after the Iguchi slam, maybe if the seemingly harmless Blanco homer had rung some bells. . .

Instead we're left with this, and there's a team clinging to life in ICU, but the prognosis is not good, not good at all.

***

Hah! That was fun. But there is another culprit here. Listen to Lance, and the Chronicle said he was pissed:

We didn't play good defense. We hadn't executed the fundamentals of the game great. We're a team that has to play good defense and has to take advantage of every out that we can get. When we don't do that and give a team another chance to come back in a ballgame and they come back, it hurts.
I haven't seen the Lamb error, but beyond any blown saves, the alternate lesson here (as Lance tells us) is that the Houston Astros are not good enough to win ballgames when they give runs away through miscues.

The shattering nature of yesterday's loss kind of got me away from the points on Garner I'd wanted to make, but I think the errors may be an indication of a greater problem. I know Bidge had the huge three run homer Saturday, but his error Friday was inexcusable, because it came from being nonchalant, from not making the extra effort.

Or take Adam Everett. The man saves us runs left and right with his defense, but if you've forgotten the excruciating unforced error where he threw it into right field for no apparent reason against the Tigers, you're less haunted than I. There's no excuse for mental miscues, and no excuse for laziness. I made a case for Garner yesterday, but if there's a case to be made against him, it starts right there: with effort, and playing the game smart. I don't blame him if his pinch-hitter strikes out with the bases loaded, but I will blame him if the same pinch-hitter turns the clutch double into a single, 'cause he wasn't hustling.