Astros: Austin Pruitt, Jose Urquidy, and Forrest Whitley make spring debuts
Astros pitchers Austin Pruitt, Jose Urquidy, and Forrest Whitley make their first spring training appearances and got mixed results in split-squad games.
The competition to make the Astros starting rotation continued today with Pruitt, Urquidy, and Whitley making their spring debuts. One of them breezed through three innings while a couple of others couldn’t get out of the second.
Pruitt started his first game of 2020 against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida. After surrendering a single to the first batter of the day, he settled in facing the minimum number of batters over three innings of work.
The only other player to reach base was the result of a throwing error by Aledmys Diaz in the second inning. Both runners were erased by double plays. Pruitt was about as efficient as a pitcher can be needing just 22 pitches to get through three innings, only throwing thee pitches to complete the first.
Joe Biagini came out for the fourth and fifth innings and saw different results. He gave up a home run in the fourth and had trouble getting out of the fifth allowing three straight singles and a run. Blake Taylor went two innings for his second appearance of the spring surrendering one hit and a walk, staying scoreless for the year.
Back at their home park in West Palm Beach things didn’t go so well for the Astros pitchers, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 7-5. Urquidy was the starter for Houston and didn’t make it out of the second. He went 1.2 innings giving up two hits (1 HR), one walk, and two earned runs. He said after the game he was a little inconsistent, which was evident by throwing just 23 of his 39 pitches for strikes.
Whitley made his spring debut coming out in the fourth inning and shut down the Cardinals in 1-2-3 fashion. The fifth inning is where things went a little south. After getting the first out, he put the next three batters on base via two singles and a walk, all three eventually scored. As a bright spot in the game, Joe Smith (1 IP) and Brett Adcock (2 IP) pitched a combined three perfect innings.
Spring training is still very young and the pitchers that struggled a bit have plenty of time to get in more innings of work and try to iron things out. This will be a long hard-fought battle for all of these pitchers to compete for a spot on the opening day roster.