The Houston Astros find themselves with a 2-2 record in the first four Spring games.
The two wins came from come-from-behind wins, yesterday, it was the Nationals turn. Ashur Tolliver gave up a walk-off homer to Michael Taylor, with the Houston Astros falling 4-3. Spring wins or loses mean nothing in the grand scheme. Let’s look at some notes from yesterday’s game.
Carlos Beltran hits the first homer at The Ballpark at the Palm Beaches.
Something happened in yesterday’s game that hasn’t happened since the 2004 Playoffs. The returning Beltran hits his first Spring homer and the first homer with the Astros since 2004. Jeff Luhnow brought Beltran in to be the veteran leader in the clubhouse, but also to hit the ball. Beltran hit a line-drive from the right side of the plate, demonstrating he still has the skills.
Beltran played DH, a role he will often occupy in 2017. However, look for him to play in the outfield at home to get others rest while staying in the lineup. He has one hit in two at-bats so far, but he will be participating in the WBC soon.
Key reliever precautionary leaves game with a sore groin.
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One of the Astros strengths is the bullpen, led by Ken Giles, Will Harris, and Chris Devenski. So Astros fans had to be a little worried when Harris was removed from the games. It was described as a groin injury, not considered serious. According to Brian McTaggart, Harris did not seem worried. Hopefully, it is nothing that will hinder him getting ready for the season.
Speaking of Giles, who has been known to struggle during Spring games. This is mostly tongue and cheek, but Giles once again has a 9.00 ERA in spring training. He gave up a homer in his one inning to Derek Norris. There is no need to be concerned with Giles struggles. He turned it around last year. Some guys just take a while to get on track.
The battle for the rotation continues.
Devenski will start the game today, with Francis Martes also pitching today. Mike Fiers pitched yesterday too, giving up a run after a Bryce Harper double off the left-field wall. He almost had an identical stat line as Joseph Musgrove, so no one has a leg up at the moment. Who gets the 5th starter role will decide whether the Astros carry Jandel Gustave.
I know it’s early, but Gustave has been impressive without allowing any runs in two innings while striking out four. His name has been brought up by both A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, so he could be a dark horse to open on the 25-man roster. I’m interested to see how Devenski and Martes pitch today, Martes has turned heads this Spring.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and MLB At Bat App***