After playing in freezing temperatures in the Big Apple, the Houston Astros travel westward to Milwaukee to face their old NL Central foe.
The Brewers began their season hosting the Giants, winning the final game of the series to avoid getting swept. Milwaukee will have familiar faces in their dugout stemming from last season’s mid-year trade. Jonathan Villar, Domingo Santana, and Chris Carter will no doubt look to cause distress to the club that parted ways with them.
Milwaukee is in a rebuilding phase. Last year the Brew Crew went 68-94, good enough for fourth place in their division. Craig Counsell took over as manager early last year and begins this year as a first-time opening day skipper. Along with trading Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to Houston, the 2015 season saw departures of Yovani Gallardo, Jonathan Broxton, Gerardo Parra, and Aramis Ramirez, leaving Milwaukee with only one mainstay of talent in Ryan Braun.
In return, Milwaukee got several young prospects, and a few have been immediately inserted into their starting lineups. In their opening series, 2B Scooter Gennett hit the ball well and showed patience at the plate, batting .400 with three walks. Gennett, Villar, and Carter all hit home runs in the opening series.
Milwaukee’s lineup surrounds the All-Star Braun with a mixture of veterans and prospects, including Santana at the leadoff spot. On paper, this team could definitely struggle to hit for average this year, but have players that can hammer pitcher’s mistakes over the fence. The starting rotation is average at best, but if they can get through five or six innings, the bullpen is respectable. It’s worth noting that SP Matt Garza is currently on the DL and will be out until May.
The Astros won game one against the Yankees in epic fashion, thanks to Dallas Keuchel battling through control issues, and the Houston offense getting some timely hits and taking advantage of defensive miscues. Game two was an utter catastrophe from a pitching standpoint. Carlos Correa did have a multi-home run game, and George Springer delivered a grand slam. In the rubber match, the Astros jumped on Nathan Eovaldi early with second inning home runs from Tyler White and Preston Tucker. Then Mike Fiers gave up five runs, and Ken Giles gave up a three-run blast to Mark Teixeira to seal the series for the Yankees.
The Astros starting pitching minus Keuchel was horrendous, and Ken Giles has given up two home runs in two appearances. It’s only been three games, but hopefully, the Astros starters can calm down and pitch more efficiently in the weekend matchup ahead.
Next: GAME 1 – Scott Feldman vs Chase Anderson