Adam Everett, the spark plug
It feels so weird just to say it, doesn’t it? But that’s what happened tonight. The Astros shortstop, better known for his glove than for his bat, and unfairly ignored in All-Star voting, has left everything behind him and is living a hot June.
Everett has tied his career-best three hits in a game twice this month; the first one on June 17 against Kansas City, and now tonight, going 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, becoming key in his team’s victory over the Minnesota Twins 5-3. The Astros have won now 10 of their last 14 games.
After a mind-boggling game in which the Astros lost thanks to a decisive homer by Justin Morneau in extra innings (and to the miscues from the Houston pitching staff in the game’s second half); Everett and Jason Lane set the record straight with the lumber in a two-run eighth frame, sealing the Astros win.
What Everett is doing this June cannot be overlooked. He has hit safely in eight of his last nine game, and is batting .354. And he is still being ignored. Go figure.
Not just what Everett did tonight caught our attention. Wandy Rodriguez was efficient in 6.2 innings pitched; and you couldn’t ask for a better bullpen performance. Did you see how electric Brad Lidge was? Did you see how the audience at Minute Maid park responded? How did the crowd cheer him? Lidge took care of the ninth inning with three strikeouts. I don’t want to become a dreamer here, but it felt great to see, even if it was for just an occasion, the Lidge of old. That closer who got you looking with a filthy slider and a blazing fastball to boot.
It’s so great that the mood is set with such a game for Roger Clemens coming back, instead of a decaffeinated loss like Tuesday’s. And with Clemens returning, Fernando Nieve goes to the ‘pen. Phil Garner’s decision was based on the fact Nieve has proved he can handle the middle-relieving job quite well in Spring Training. That was also his role for most of the season in the Venezuelan Winter League. We’ll wait and see.