The Astros got back in the win column today with a 4-2 win over the Nationals, ending a three-game losing streak. Philip Humber got the start and pitched four strong innings. Humber allowed only one hit and one walk in what proved to be his second straight excellent outing. At this point, Humber appears to be in line for the #3 spot in the Astros rotation.
Dallas Keuchel, who is also auditioning for a rotation spot, didn’t fare as well as Humber. Keuchel got through his first two innings without incident. Keuchel then allowed a double to start the eighth inning and was pulled from the game after the next batter reached on an error. Keuchel was charged with two runs (one earned) when Josh Zeid was unable to strand the runners. Keuchel now has an ERA of 7.20 in five innings this spring.
Paul Clemens pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out three and earning the save. Jason Castro was the star on offense, driving in a pair of runs with an eighth inning single to put the Astros on top for good.
Bo Porter said he intends on going with a five-man rotation to start the season, despite a few scheduled days off in April. At least a couple of rotation spots are still up for grabs. One pitcher who I thought would be in the rotation is quickly falling behind. Lefty Erik Bedard has been sidelined by a “gluteal sprain.” In layman’s terms, Bedard is day-to-day with a sore butt.