First-Hand Recap of Astros Versus Yankees Game
By Andy Brown
This afternoon I was on hand at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, for the Houston Astros spring training matchup with the New York Yankees. New York trailed 2-0 until the 9th, when they scored 3 off of Will Harris to steal a meaningless (yes, still a little salty) 3-2 exhibition victory.
Nonetheless, it was “essentially a win” for the Houston Astros today, as there were several positives to take away from this game. I’m no pro scout, but here are the things I noticed:
The action started early, as a George Springer triple in the first was followed by a Chris Carter bomb to center. That was pretty much it for the offense, but it was really nice to see a preview of what kind of firepower this offense can bring to the table this season.
In the top of the 4th, Jon Singleton seemed to be demonstrate some more patience at the plate than he did last year, as he laid off a couple good breaking pitches (which he almost inevitably would’ve whiffed at last season), before smacking a fly out to right center. Obviously that wasn’t the outcome he was looking for, but it was encouraging to see some of what he’s been working on fixing.
Mar 16, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcherDallas Keuchel
(60) pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Keuchel. Boy, he sure looked like an Opening Day Starter today. 4.1 innings, 4 hits, no walks, no runs, 3 strikeouts. He spotted his fastball really well throughout his outing, and actually looked like he had better command of it than many of his breaking pitches. I remarked at one point, “I don’t think Jason Castro has moved his glove once on a fastball thus far,” because I’m sure he hadn’t. Great, great showing from Keuchel.
Carlos Correa is incredibly smooth, and makes everything look easy. Everything. He struggled at the plate with two strikeouts and a ground out, but he looked an awful like a certain former Yankees shortstop out there in the field. I cannot wait until that job is his.
Mar 16, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals infielderDenard Span
(left) talks with pitcherMark Appel
during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Now, in the bottom of the 6th, the Houston Astros we have come to know and love showed their…faces. Mark Appel came on in relief of Darin Downs and gave up a walk to Brett Gardner, struck out Chase Headley, and induced a pop out from Carlos Beltran.
Well it should’ve been a pop out. Shifted third baseman (hmm) Jonathan Villar lost it in the sun (I hope), but recovered to force out Gardner at first. Appel then got a grounder to head Singleton’s way. He almost fired to second before realizing, “oh, there are two outs,” and stepping on first. So that was an..interesting first inning for Appel, you could say.
Appel struggled with his control in the 6th, but really settled down in the 7th and 8th, holding the Yankees hitless and scoreless. The quality of hitters that he faced got worse as he progressed, but I would’ve liked to have seen him face the major leaguers he faced in the 6th in the 7th or 8th instead. He almost seemed fortunate to escape the 6th despite the outcomes. But in the 7th and 8th his fastball (no visible radar gun, sorry) had great late bite on it. Really nice to see.
In the “oh, that’s why they’re in the minors” part of the game, offseason acquisition Will Harris, got just two outs in the bottom of the ninth as some Yankees minor leaguers rallied for a walk off win. His last run was unearned, as it came on a sac fly set up by a throwing error from left field on a double that allowed the runner to take third. I didn’t have a great angle on that throw, but to me it almost looked like second baseman Tony Kemp forgot to cover 2nd, and that’s why the ball got away.
¯_(ツ)_/¯, it was disappointing in the moment, but aside from the offensive woes (sans Altuve, Gattis, Rasmus and Lowrie by the way), today was a very solid spring training showing from the Houston Astros. Can’t wait until Opening Day.
Next: Astros Lineup: Evan Gattis Update
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