The Houston Astros dropped another one today, this time a 14-9 loss to the Washington Nationals. Even though there was some good that came out of this game it could not outweigh the bad to get the team a win. The Astros played well enough to get a win until the pitching staff imploded in the eighth inning and gave up nine runs, blowing an 8-5 to lead.
One positive has to be that the offense showed up for this game, scoring nine runs. This is the most runs scored in one game to this point. Chris Johnson continued to have a strong spring going two for three and hitting a home run and knocking in three runs. He can be a real bright spot for the Astros this season if he is able to keep up this success.
Another good thing to see was that Brett Wallace was able to work the count and get two walks in four plate appearances. He will need to continue to show this type of patience once the season starts which will help keep pitchers accountable and make them throw strikes to Wallace. Expected starters Carlos Lee and Bill Hall had the day off today as well as both Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles.
The biggest disappointment at the plate today has to go to top prospect JD Martinez, who batted DH today. Martinez did not get a hit in four at bats and had three strikeouts. He also left six players on base, which won’t help him get a spot at the major league level.
The other big disappointment today is the pitching staff who struggled for most of the day and it didn’t catch up with them until the eighth inning. The two pitchers that mattered the most was J.A. Happ and Bud Norris who accounted for five runs in four innings of work today. J.A. Happ gave up three runs, zero earned, in two innings of work with only one strikeout.
Bud Norris gave up two runs in two innings of work but struck out four batters for six of his outs. Norris made only one mistake today giving up a home run to Ryan Zimmerman. The majority of the runs were given up by Pat Urckfitz and Jorge De Leon and neither pitcher is expected to make the major league roster and the majority of the regulars played well. However, moral victories can only take a young team so far and hopefully they can start winning some games to build some confidence.