The win column is now a party of one after the Astros took one from the Tigers, but blew a ninth inning lead against the Bombers in the day’s other game.
Against the Tigers, the Astros mustered up some run support, and even put up a crooked four in the top of the eighth frame. The Astros as a team went 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position which is the type of situational hitting that was missing for a majority of last year. With only 9 hits on the day, more than half of them (mind boggling math, I know) came with ducks in striking position. Keep in mind, on Monday, the Stros managed only three runs on 14 hits.
Twenty Six year old third baseman Oswaldo Navarro belted a three run shot in the eighth to do most of the damage. This was after he was subbed into the game for Chris Johnson who has struggled out of the gate so far in the beginnings of this spring. In Brandon Croce’s article on Chris Johnson , we see how pivotal his role as a third baseman will be for this team due to the limbo the team has experienced since the departure of 2005’s Morgan Ensberg.
Hunter Pence kept his modest hit streak of 3 alive today, adding a second triple to the spring which is just one less than the amount he had all 2010. With Pence continuing to be an extra base hitter, the hopes of this team are getting better and better as we head in April. Though Hunter finished tenth in the National League last season with 173 hits, power is truly what the Astros need from him and Lee. Carlos was given the day off today.
J.A. Happ pitched two great innings of work, only allowing one hit and striking out another. Just like Myers, keep an eye on the walks allowed by Happ since most of the troublesome innings Happ found himself in last year were a direct result of walking batters. Wilton Lopez added a perfect inning of work, matched with a strikeout, to show that he picked up were he left off last year. With Lyon’s inconsistency, there is a fair chance that Lopez will be tapped to take over the closer role in times if turbulence.
After maintaining a lead against the Yankees for most of the afternoon, Douglas Arguello (I am thinking the same thing you are … Doug who?) blew a four run cushion and the game to prevent the Astros from getting back to even for the spring. The pitching of Norris started off a little bit shaky after allowing a double to A-Rod who would later go on to score, but otherwise did a fine job for his first start.
With the lumber, the Astros got an infield single from Bourn who is looking to do that more this season. Michael would put up an argument for the Major’s best center fielder if he is able to get that average up this season as stated in the article by Croce .
On a positive note, Bill Hall had a couple of singles and Towles was able to cross the plate twice for the Stros. Brian Bogusevic knocked in a couple of RBI’s on a two out double to make his 1 for 5 day worth while. As a team, Houston finished a more than serviceable 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position, perhaps spurred on by the other split squad. This left the Astros going 9 for 24 with runners in scoring position, and .375 is a number I will take every day of the week from this ball club in the RISP category. Wallace, on the other hand, seemed stumped and grounded into two separate double plays and left four on base while managing to avoid the the DP scenario with a strike out in his other at bat. Barmes also struck out twice on the day.