The wait is almost over. Opening Day is finally here after what seems like three months worth of “practice” games. While several other teams have already played their first games of the season, Astros fans have been patiently waiting for tonight’s opener. Wandy Rodriguez will throw the first pitch at some time around 6:05 CDT after all of the pregame hoopla has concluded.
Jeremy Guthrie gets the start for Colorado in the first of a three game series. Guthrie was acquired from Baltimore during the offseason in a trade that sent Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom to the Orioles. Guthrie has faced the Astros only once in his career, going eight innings and allowing only one run and three hits in a no-decision.
Rodriguez, who was claimed off waivers by the Rockies last summer but ended up staying in Houston, has a 4-3 record in eleven career starts against Colorado. In those eleven games Wandy has compiled a 4.43 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. The Astros are 78-74 all-time against Colorado, including an excellent 51-28 record at home.
The Astros placed shortstop Jed Lowrie on the disabled list today and recalled Brian Bixler to take the open roster spot. Lowrie has been nursing a jammed thumb and the Astros were waiting to see how he felt today. Lowrie hasn’t played since injuring the thumb nine days ago. Lowrie said it felt much better yesterday and hit off a tee. Bixler or Marwin Gonzalez will get the start at SS tonight.
A capacity crowd is expected tonight at Minute Maid Park and the atmosphere should be electric. There’s nothing quite like Opening Day. Not much is expected from the Astros this season but a win could help fans forget about all of the negative press they’ve heard over the long offseason- at least for the next 24 hours.