Astros: A Breakdown of Opening Day

codypoage
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MARCH 28: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros hits a homer off of Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning During Opening Day at Tropicana Field on March 28, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - MARCH 28: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros hits a homer off of Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning During Opening Day at Tropicana Field on March 28, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Opening Day has come and gone, but we’re left with an impressive Astros win over the Rays.

There are still 161 games to go in the 2019 season. A lot can go wrong. Like, a lot. That thought applies to all thirty teams. In fact, a lot did go wrong for the Astros last season. But for one game in 2019, almost everything went right.

Justin Verlander was his usual dominant self in this one, especially in the later innings. While he did have a bit a trouble with a leadoff home run to Austin Meadows on the game’s fourth pitch, he limited the damage to only one run. Sure, he also had a brief jam in the second inning, but the Astros’ ace got out of it. He didn’t really experience any other issues through the remaining five innings he pitched in.

The more intriguing aspect of Verlander’s start though was the inclusion of a changeup. Well, the inclusion itself is not all that noteworthy as he did throw the pitch in 25 starts last season. But against the Rays he threw the changeup 11 times, which is nearly double the most he threw in a single game last year. He also got five swinging strikes off of the pitch. If Verlander can mix in an effective changeup with his current arsenal, then the rest of the league needs to look out.

Another player that impressed was new catcher Robinson Chirinos. I wasn’t sure what to expect defensively from the former Ranger, but I was impressed in how well he handled balls in the dirt. One ball in the dirt in the first inning became an out on the base paths after he caught Tommy Pham drifting from first to second base. There was another ball in the dirt in the second inning that I thought he handled quite well.

Michael Brantley, another offseason acquisition, also made a good first impression on the fanbase.

Along with home runs from George Springer and Jose Altuve, this game felt out of reach by the middle innings.

Another new Astro also made his debut, although it wasn’t a stellar one. Aledmys Diaz, who was filling in for Carlos Correa, went 0-for-4 with one strikeout. He also didn’t have the best debut in the field, but it was really only one play that generated any angst. However, I do like what Diaz brings to the table to this club in 2019. One game isn’t indicative of what we can expect from him.

Next. Astros: Verlander took Snell to school in 5-1 opening day victory. dark

Overall, it was another solid Opening Day for the Astros, who are now 7-0 to open the season as members of the AL. Springer made some history with his third consecutive Opening Day with a home run and the club starts the 2019 season on the right foot. Let’s see what happens when Gerrit Cole starts against his 2018 teammate Charlie Morton.

facebooktwitterreddit