Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Mets wasn’t all bad. There were a few encouraging moments that took place during the game.
Rudy Owens (Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)
Although Rudy Owens was unable to get out of the first inning, just seeing the big lefty back on the mound was a treat. Owens, who missed almost all of last season due to a stress fracture in his foot, only recorded one out. He walked three and gave up three runs, including a homer to Curtis Granderson. Throwing mostly fastballs, Owens looked like he was missing his spots by the smallest of margins.
What I thought was great, though, was seeing pitching coach Brent Strom working with Owens in the dugout during the late stages of the game. Cameras caught Strom demonstrating how a certain pitch was rotating and how a slight change mechanically could make a difference. Owens appeared to be genuinely interested in what Strom was telling him –which is another good sign.
Luis Cruz came up with an outstanding effort out of the bullpen. The 23-year old left-hander who is listed at 5′ 9″ and 170 pounds, pitched like a big man. Cruz tossed two hitless innings, striking out two without allowing a walk.
Some of the other young guys looked good too. Carlos Correa drew a walk. How awesome does this kid look in an Astros Spring Training uniform? Answer: Extremely awesome! Jon Singleton also coaxed a walk.
Chris Carter had some nice swings and a couple of the new guys had hits. But Jonathan Villar was most impressive on the offensive side. Villar showed that he has some power to the opposite field with a long homerun to left-center.
There were also a couple of not-so-great moments in the game. Jesus Guzman looked terrible against breaking pitches and Jonathan Meyer was unable to show the plate discipline exhibited by some of the other youngsters.
Spring Training action continues tomorrow when the Astros play host to the Tigers at 12:05. Lucas Harrell gets his second start of the spring and reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer takes the mound for Detroit.
Marc Krauss (Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)