The day has finally come! After taking a 4-5 loss against the Cubs on October 3rd, 2012, we have finally made it to opening day. Tonight, Bud Norris takes the mound against Matt Harrison at 7pm central.
One of the main questions we had heading into spring training was about the lineup. Who would bat leadoff? Who would be batting 3rd and 4th? Who would start opening day? Well the answers are finally here. Here is tonight’s lineup:
1. Jose Altuve – 2B
2. Brett Wallace – 1B
3. Chris Carter – LF
4. Carlos Pena – DH
5. Justin Maxwell – CF
6. Jason Castro – C
7. Matt Dominguez – 3B
8. Brandon Barnes – RF
9. Ronny Cedeno – SS
Bud Norris – SP
I have to admit, I really do like this lineup. I really hope Wallace has a nice year this year, and really prove to be a solid #2 hitter. Maxwell in the five-spot works out, so they can split up lefties with Pena and Castro. One thing I may have switched is flipping Carter and Pena. Pena has proven to be a much better hitter in his career in the three-hole than in the cleanup spot. Pena’s 1.009 OPS in the three-hole, is a lot better than his (still not bad) .803 OPS in the cleanup spot. I suspect that is something the Astros may flip if Pena struggles a bit in the early going.
Later in the lineup is where things could be flipped around during the season. If Dominguez hits the ball well, we can see him possibly in the two-hole. At RF we will likely see a platoon over the course of the season. It’s a bit of a surprise that Rick Ankiel isn’t starting tonight, but he will get his time soon.
Tonight’s opening day pitcher Bud Norris, has surprisingly never pitched an inning against the Rangers. He will get the ball tonight, throwing out the first official pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Harrison has struggled in his young career against the Astros. In four games (two starts), Harrison holds a 5.14 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 14 innings.
Make sure you tune in early so you can possibly see J.J. Watt throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Tonight’s game is on ESPN so make sure you have your mute buttons ready!