Darin Downs (Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports)
From the weather report to the result on the field, today just wasn’t the Astros’ day as they lost 4-0 to the Atlanta Braves. The rain shortened the game to just five innings, and they were mixed for Houston.
Brett Oberholtzer was slated to start this afternoon, but the impending weather caused a change in plans. Oberholtzer instead got his work in earlier in the day pitching in a B-game and Darin Downs took the start.
Downs, who is competing for the presumed opening for a left-handed reliever in the bullpen, pitched the first two innings for the Astros. At this point, the general inclination is that Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Josh Fields, Anthony Bass, and Kevin Chapman are near locks to make the team. The left-hander, who has had an up and down spring, allowed a solo home run to Dan Uggla along with a walk and a strikeout.
Chapman then did little to distinguish himself in his one inning of work allowing five hits and three runs. His spring ERA now sits at 5.05 as he looks to build on last season’s success. Fields pitched a scoreless fourth inning allowing one hit and Ross Seaton pitched a scoreless fifth inning to close out the day.
Against rookie sleeper Alex Wood, the Astros were not able to get much done with the bat and managed only two hits and one walk while striking out six times. Dexter Fowler and Robbie Grossman each singled for Houston for their lone offense output.