Jarred Cosart (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
Well that was easy. Jarred Cosart simply picked up right where he left off Sunday afternoon in his Spring debut.
Cosart pitched two scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves as he got his sophomore season started by building on his success from last season. The right-hander did not face a full Atlanta lineup, but he did have to deal with their starting outfield (B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, and Jason Heyward) and new starting catcher Evan Gattis.
The lone blemish for Cosart was a walk to Justin Upton as it took him 27 pitches to get through his two hitless innings. Cosart also struck out one batter before he gave way to the surprise of last year’s rotation; Brett Oberholtzer.
Even though Cosart statistically did very well last season, after all his job is to allow the least runs possible and he had a 1.95 ERA, he still strove to find improvement this winter. So far new pitching coach Brent Strom and new bullpen coach Craig Bjornson both seem to be making their presence felt.
"“I moved my hands down around my waist level now, whereas they were by my ears last year,” Cosart said. “It just gives me something more clean to get it out of my glove and get the ball down. I had a lot more angle on my fastball today and I think the feedback with some of the hitters swings (was positive)."
Is it still important to note that this is early in Spring Training, but the results were there for Cosart.
"Cosart’s fastball on Sunday ranged between 93 and 96 mph. He did not throw any changeups, focusing on his fastball and curveball at this early stage of spring."
It was also a good day for Oberholtzer as he pitched two innings allowing one run on two hits; a B.J. Upton double followed a Heyward single. But again, it was more about the process than the actual result with the left-hander who also struck out two batters.
"Astros rotation hopeful Brett Oberholtzer made his spring debut with one run allowed in two innings following Jarred Cosart, and pitching coach Brent Strom felt the lefty Oberholtzer’s curveball — an offseason and spring project — had improved."
New addition Jerome Williams added two perfect innings while striking out two batters. He was followed by Chad Qualls who had a rough debut allowing two runs on two hits. David Martinez allowed a run in the eighth inning and Anthony Bass closed things out for the save with a perfect ninth inning while striking out two batters.
The Astros strung together their runs as they won 7-4 scoring in five of their eight innings.
Ronald Torreyes and Carlos Corporan each drove in two runs with Robbie Grossman and L.J. Hoes also driving in runs. Marc Krauss continued his success going 1-2 with a run scored and he is now hitting .600 on the spring.