Houston Astros: Feliz, Oberholtzer and Baserunning

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Before the start Monday, Astros fans knew that Brett Oberholtzer was going to get the start last night versus the Baltimore Orioles. The unknown aspect of the transaction was who Oberholtzer was replacing on the 25-man roster? I assumed it was Jake Buchanan who would be the odd man out because the Astros just brought up one of their stud pitching prospects Michael Feliz. The Astros wouldn’t bring him up to appear in one game, and start his arbitration clock, and then send him back so soon right?

Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Michael Feliz poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Feliz

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Boy was I wrong about that, yes it makes sense to go with the someone with a little more experience in Buchanan. The conspiracy theorist Astros fans will probably accuse Jeff Luhnow of showcasing Feliz for one inning so that potential trade partners could have some tape on him. Maybe Luhnow wanted to get his feet wet, to see what it’s like to be on the Major League roster. That way when Feliz goes back to the minor leagues, he knows what is waiting for him in Houston. It might also get him extra motivated to succeed at the minor league level.

So how did the rookie Feliz fare in his lone inning in the majors? The first batter he faced was Carlos Sanchez, who hit a ringing double after working a full count. Feliz got Adam Eaton to line out to Villar with a 0-2 count. Melky Cabrera hit an fly ball to center field. Feliz then got the slugger Adam LaRoche to strike out after a 2-2 count.

After the Game, A.J. Hinch mentioned that he didn’t want to lose 6-0, but that was a perfect no-pressure game to bring Feliz in to make his MLB debut. Don’t worry Michael Feliz, you’ll be back.

Brett Oberholtzer

Oberholtzer made his second start of the season after a blister limited his first start to three innings. I was shocked to see that he pitched into the sixth inning with a low pitch count, but he lost control of the game. Hinch then brought in Will Harris and company in the Astros bullpen.

Oberholtzer threw 5.1 innings while throwing 82 pitches, with 59 strikes. Oberholtzer is coming back his second time from blisters, so he has yet to be able to stretch out much this year in terms of pitches. He spread out seven hits, but the hits finally accumulated against Oberholtzer in the sixth inning. He allowed one run to score on a triple by Ryan Flaherty and the other on a Chris Davis double.

He looked good on the mound, comfortable and not constantly checking his hands like his earlier start. They Astros desperately need Oberholtzer to be the left-handed starter in the rotation along with Dallas Keuchel. Josh Hader is on the rise in Double-A, so Oberholtzer needs to anchor himself to the rotation to stage off the kids.

Baserunning

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The Houston Astros have been thrown out many times recently at home plate trying to score and rounding the base too far. While the casual fan would think that the runner should have stayed at third base, like my wife who kept yelling at Villar in Sunday’s game. However, the third base coach is the runners eyes and ears while they are running.

Gary Pettis recently has been super aggressive, challenging the outfielders to make the great play. Like gambling, when you take a risk against the odds, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. I hope Pettis is not buying Lotto tickets right now because his luck is a little off right now. Below is a list of runners who were trying to be aggressive.

  • Marwin Gonzalez – thrown out on a single by Jose Altuve at home plate, the ball was waiting for Gonzalez at the plate.
  • Colby Rasmus – Over ran third base, was easy bait and Valbuena almost got caught overrunning first as well.
  • Preston Tucker – Thrown out a third base after an Evan Gattis single to drive in two runs.

The biggest glaring example of the disappointing reads by Pettis recently was in Sunday’s game where Jonathan Villar tried to get an inside the park homer. The ball rolled up on the hill, and Adam Eaton Climbed Tal’s Hill to get the ball and make a great throw.

When you are winning, the mistakes don’t seem so big. However, when you start losing as the Astros did on Sunday to the White Sox 6-0. Despite the baserunning blunders, the Astros found a way to win last night 5-2 versus the Baltimore Orioles.

Next: Let's Trade for a Starter Recap

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