I’ll admit from the very top not to be overly concerned with Jordan Lyles’ struggles this spring but I am a little disappointed. Lyles would struggle once again as the Yankees beat the Stros 11-9 in a rain shortened ballgame on Saturday. While Lyles was busy giving up eight runs in less than five innings, Chris Johnson continued his torrid spring. Johnson has been pretty incredible during spring training and has made sure the 3rd base job was his. Brian Bogusevic and Travis Buck continued to lock up their spots in RF with two hits apiece. Bogusevic seems to have bounced back from a horrible start to spring and has rewarded Brad Mills for having some serious patience with him. Astros prospect, Ruben Alaniz, would impress the staff with five strikeouts in two innings, he should be in Lancaster this season. Spring Training is honestly beginning to drag and the players along with fans, I’m sure, are ready to get the real stuff going.
Chris Johnson came into spring as almost an afterthought but certainly made sure people won’t see him that way when opening day rolls along . Chris has an OPS of over 1.000 and has shown impressive power which will be badly needed. With a ton of young players, the Astros still don’t know what to expect from a lot of their regulars over the course of a full season. If Chris can stabilize the lineup and the 3rd base position then the ‘Stros should feel a lot better about an offense that didn’t figure to be all that good. Another encouraging sign for the offense is the sudden emergence of Brian Bogusevic over the second half of the spring. It certainly seems like he has started to reassure the men in charge that they made the right choice in giving him the leg up in the right field job. It was a ballsy move because Bogey had been struggling but it sure appeared he was their guy from the very beginning.
While Johnson has been a pleasant surprise, Lyles has been the opposite. Even though most expected Jordan to start in Oklahoma City, we all expected a better spring than this. Lyles’ ERA is now over 8.00 and he has left the door wide open for Lucas Harrell to take the final rotation spot. As I mentioned above, I won’t worry too much about his struggles just yet, given his age and potential, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little disappointed. Spring training is close to wrapping up and with the loss it leaves the squad with a meaningless record of 14-15. The Astros will wrap up the Florida part of spring training today against the Tigers and are one day closer to Friday’s opener in Houston.