The Astros won 7-6 playing against a Yankees team that only had half of their players. Some may call it a split-squad Yankees team, but I am going to go ahead and call it their B team. The Yankees sent most of their good players to play against the Blue Jays, and left their scraps to go battle the Astros.
The Astros were the first team to get on the board with a 5th inning solo shot courtesy of Rick Ankiel. Ankiel went dead center for his solo shot, and added another hit to go 2-2 on the day. In the top of the 6th, both Ross Seaton and Sam Demel got knocked around for 3 hits and 5 runs (2 ER). However, Brandon Laird pushed the Astros back in the lead with a Grand Slam that cleared the 410 sign in right-center field. From there, Brett Oberholtzer and Sergio Escalona closed the door giving up just 1 run in the final 3 innings.
Besides Ankiel’s and Laird’s home runs, the Astros got RBI’s from Marc Krauss and Jake Goebbert. The Astros struggled a bit on the base paths, racking up just 1 steal in 3 attempts. Porter did mention his players have a lot of freedom on the base paths, but the players will have to improve on their recognition of the situation.
On the pitching side, Lucas Harrell looked in mid-season form. Harrell worked quickly and went 3 innings, giving up just 3 hits with 1 strikeout. Brad Peacock also saw action and pitched well in 2 innings just giving up 1 hit.
During the game I had the chance to ask Brian Smith, the Astros beat writer, a few Astros related questions on twitter. I asked him if the Astros are likely to make any more trades or FA moves before the season starts. Smith replied saying, “Yes. Could easily see couple deals and FA signings once wire warms up.” He seemed to believe that the Astros would look at relief pitchers mostly. I then also asked him if he expects all of Carter/Wallace/Pena/Freiman to make the team. He replied with an interesting response saying, “Hard one. No. Screams trade. Pena’s sticking. So’s Carter. Wallace looks strong and it’s his spot. Hard decision. Month to go.” It will be interesting to see what moves (if any) the Astros make as spring training goes on.
Tomorrow the Astros will play St. Louis at 12:05 Central time.