If I were to tell you that the Houston Astros would get three-hit by reigning AL Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber on Opening Day–and win–you’d laugh, I’d laugh, we’d all laugh. But that’s just what happened on Monday night in front of a packed house at Minute Maid Park. Two of those hits that Houston managed were back-to-back singles in the bottom of the sixth from Jose Altuve and George Springer. After Altuve’s bloop into center, he stole second on the first pitch to Springer. A couple of pitches later, Springer roped a single to left and Altuve scored.
The Astros added an insurance run in the eighth when Jed Lowrie walked and Colby Rasmus singled, pushing Lowrie to third. He would score on a sac-fly to right off the bat of Jake Marisnick (who is also tied for the team lead in rbi).
The real story of the night for the Houston Astros was Dallas Keuchel, who went seven innings, allowing three hits and three walks over 103 pitches–66 for strikes. Wait, Keuchel only went seven innings? That means the bullpen was used. Yep! Lefty Tony Sipp pitched a perfect eighth and Luke Gregerson worked a quick ninth to seal the victory.
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We’ve all been excited about this team, and Monday night they did not disappoint. Even without a home run from their powerful lineup (they did accumulate seven strikeouts), the team was able to scratch across two runs, proving this team has some grit.
Kluber would end up going 7 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out seven.
What we learned: Dallas Keuchel is ready. Yes, it’s just one start, but if he puts up numbers similar to last year’s, his win total will almost certainly rise with an improved bullpen supporting him and he could be in the Cy Young discussion come season’s end. Again, it’s just one start so we aren’t proclaiming that will be the case just yet.
Takeaways From Monday: This team is ready to compete. You hear it all of the time where one pitcher can start a streak for the entire rotation, because those guys are competitive. Keuchel set the tone on Monday. Let’s see of Scott Feldman can build upon that and pass the torch on Wednesday.
What To Keep An Eye Out For: Jason Castro struck out twice, and was the only Astro to have multiple K’s. Keep an eye on his strikeout total in the early going. Oddly enough, Evan Gattis and Chris Carter did not strike out once, joining Jed Lowrie as the only players that didn’t have a long walk back to the bench.
Boy I hate off days!