Astros News

Daily Astros Blast: April Fools’ Recap

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Mar 12, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Tyler White (84) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Tyler White (84) connects for a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports /
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The anticipation for the regular season is building among Astros fans!

Thanks in part to a victorious 4-2 April Fools Day at Minute Maid Park against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Astros have succeeded in driving up interest for the upcoming season. Mike Fiers played a major role in that goal as he pitched 5.1 effective innings while surrendering just two earned runs. He also fanned seven batters and issued no walks. Carlos Gomez provided half of the Astros’ four runs as he finished the game going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI, a walk, and two strikeouts. Tyler White also contributed with a solo home run, and the bullpen combined for three scoreless innings while striking out seven to close the game out.

And now fresh off that two-game set with the Brewers, which has managed to wet our palette for meaningful Astros baseball, the team will now look to start the season strong against the New York Yankees this coming Monday. Our own Mike Hackemack provides an in-depth look at the opening series against the Yankees.  The question becomes can the Astros match their excellent start from last year. And don’t forget that after the Yankees series the team travels to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers once more that following weekend before coming home to face the Kansas City Royals in an ALDS rematch from last fall.

But the biggest development out of Minute Maid was the final cuts made to the roster in preparation for the 2016 regular season.

The most surprising addition to 25-man roster was young right-hander Michael Feliz earning a spot in the bullpen over the likes of Wandy Rodriguez and James Hoyt. And this means that the Astros are carrying only 12 pitchers on the active roster, which means 13 position players made the team. The recently acquired Erik Kratz makes the club as the team’s backup catcher behind incumbent starter Jason Castro, and Preston Tucker is the fifth outfielder. However, Matt Duffy was easily the most unexpected addition to the Opening Day roster from a position player perspective. His flexibility in the infield gives the Astros options in case of injuries and if Gonzalez is needed at first base more often than not.

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While the active roster has been decided, the lineup on the other hand is a different story. It remains to be seen who the Astros give the starting nod to at first base and designated hitter. Will White find himself getting the start at first in Yankee Stadium, which may also be his major league debut? Or will “super” utility man Marwin Gonzalez? Editor Eric Huysman examines the numbers and sifts through the rumors to determine what may be the most likely plan of action for first base on Opening Day in the Bronx.  This in turn may also give insight about which way the Astros are leaning at designated hitter until Evan Gattis returns from his hernia surgery rehab.

Next: The Houston Astros Are A Legitimate World Series Contender

In a bit of unexpected news yesterday, the team also announced that they are retiring a number of a certain catcher that die hard fans will surely remember: Mitch Meluskey! That’s right, the good ol’ number 21 is finally being hung next to some of the most notable numbers in Astros history. Maybe this is an April Fools Day joke, but who would do such a despicable thing, right? Anyway, Elijah Admire has the scoop on that “story”.  If only there was a Mitch Meluskey bobblehead giveaway to commemorate this glorious occasion!

**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com**

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