The Astros won the opening game of the 2015 Astros spring training schedule versus the Phillies, winning 6-3. The Astros were either leading or tied for most of the game. The big inning of the game happened in the ninth inning when Brady Rodgers gave up two runs on three hits. Jason already did a game recap here, I wanted to point out three positives and negatives from Game 1.
Game 1 Positives
- Luis Valbuena – The new Astros third baseman had a great introduction game to Houston fans, he went two for two with a homer and an RBI. In his two at bats so far, Valbuena has shown that he can handle the everyday third base job. He also made a tough play on a bunted ball that he and Max Stassi were unsure on whose ball it was. He picked up the ball and whipped a throw over to first base to get the out.
- The pitching – Collin McHugh pitched two no-hit innings, with three strikeouts. Top Astros prospect Mark Appel pitched two innings, only giving up one run despite allowing the first batter to reach base in both innings. Non-roster invitee Joe Thatcher pitched an inning of shutout ball, despite allowing two hits and facing five batters. Asher Wojciechowski, who is in the mix for the fifth starter, pitched two shutout innings. Jake Buchanan pitched a scoreless frame, despite allowing a hit and a walk.
- Low strikeouts – The hitters showed a good eye on Thursday, only striking out six times. Members of Generation K, George Springer, Chris Carter, Jason Castro, and Jon Singleton combined for only two strikeouts. The president of generation K, Chris Carter failed to strikeout, while playing first base.
- Backups show some pop – The CTH writers predicted that Alex Presley and Marwin Gonzalez would make the opening day roster. Today it was Gonzalez and Robbie Grossman both hitting home runs to prove their value to the Astros. Grossman went two for three with a homer and two RBIs.
Game 1 Negatives
- Brady Rodgers – This prospect has great stuff, but struggled in his 2015 debut with the Astros. Rodgers got only two outs while facing six batters, giving up 2 earned runs on three hits.
- Evan Gattis DNP – Astros fans have waited to see what Gattis would do in an Astros uniform.
- Stolen Bases – The Astros stole only one base, by pinch runner Andrew Aplin. Gregorio Petit got thrown out on the bases. Without Jose Altuve in the lineup, speed will not be an Astros strength.
Interesting game one note was that Chris Carter played first base, with Jon Singleton coming off the bench. Should we read something into that? Singleton did get a double, let’s build some more on that Jon.
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