Lidge got his eleventh rescue this season, once again with the possible tying run in circulation, and thanks to a great catch by Eric Bruntlett, the Astros insured a victory over the Cardinals 4-3, sweeping the redbirds in the two-game miniseries at Minute Maid Park.
Despite the fact it was another nerve-wracking ending for those who watched, listened or attended the game, there were several interesting things to notice:
– Andy Pettitte gave up a two-RBI double by So Taguchi in the second inning. However, he got back on track and only allowed three runs in 6.2 innings. (The third run was driven in by Jim Edmonds with a single).
– The Astros replied: Lance Berkman jacked a two-run homer in the fifth, off Chris Carpenter This was the eleventh dinger in 2006 for the first baseman, who is among the leaders in that department; combining power with consistency: he is currently hitting .347 with 37 RBI. (Singles by Willy Taveras in the fifth and Jason Lane in the sixth would bring home a run each).
– Dan Wheeler set the stage for Lidge in a remarkable way, with a shutout inning; at least the concerns are not coming from middle relief at this point.
– Phil Garner knows this very well: The only way in which a closer can deal with his crisis is by getting a chance each and every time a save is required. There’s nothing better to destroy a closer’s psyche than not using him in key situations. So that’s being avoided with Lidge.
– Albert Pujols went 0-for-4.
– This is the fourth consecutive defeat for the Cardinals, their longest negative streak since 2004.
After this very brief series, the Astros take the plane to Denver for one of the hardest tests the set
of rookie starters (Taylor Buchholz, Wandy Rodriguez and Fernando Nieve) will face this season: the red-hot Colorado Rockies in those special features that make Coors Field so unique, and so hostile to pitchers of all ages.