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Astros bullpen: The winner of the Gustave vs. Hoyt battle for last spot

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Mar 13, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Jandel Gustave (61) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Jandel Gustave (61) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports /
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And the Astros final bullpen rose goes to…

The Houston Astros played their first game at Minute Maid Park with the new centerfield configuration. They fell behind early, but the new and improved lineup was able to win 8-6. Two of the relievers who pitched were two players fighting for the last roster spot. A.J. Hinch said that whoever makes this team, the results from last night didn’t sway the decision.

In the first corner, James Hoyt.

Jake Kaplan tweeted out that the Astros would make their decision after last night’s game. That way the other could report to Triple-A Fresno. The showdown began in the fifth inning as James Hoyt came in for Lance McCullers. Hoyt was one of the two players battling for the final bullpen spot. Also, he was facing the core of the Cubs lineup.

Up comes MVP Kris Bryant, who got a good swing but hit a harmless fly ball to left field. Then Anthony Rizzo steps up and crushes a ball to the second deck in right field. Hoyt would settle down and pitch two innings while striking out three. His spring ERA was 3.18 with 14 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. Hoyt’s WHIP was high at 1.61. He did everything he could this Spring to make the team.

In the second corner, Jandel Gustave.

Jandel Gustave came in to pitch in the seventh inning, and he was electric. He was throwing in the upper nineties. All offseason, we heard Hinch, and Jeff Luhnow talk about how good they think Gustave can be. After Gustave had answered the bell last year, he came to camp wanting to make the team.

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Gustave was one of the best relievers this spring with a 1.80 ERA with 13 strikeouts in ten innings. Unlike Hoyt, Gustave had a .80 WHIP. He showed the composure on the mound plus his stuff to be a key piece in the bullpen. They both deserve to be on the team and will be at some point this year.

The winner is!

As I predicted since midway through the offseason on Talking Stros, Gustave made the team according to Kaplan. Gustave will bring his power pitching to the bullpen. Should something happen to Ken Giles, I could see Gustave getting some opportunities to get some saves.

Next: Astros: April’s Magic Number is 11, must set tone early.

Kaplan reminded us that Hoyt was the last player cut last year as well. Hoyt needs to go down and get ready for when he is needed. It was a tough decision, as evident by how Hinch announced it. Hunter Atkins says Hinch was really emotional saying that Hoyt is going down to Triple-A.

***Stats from MLB.com

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