Astros: James, Valdez, Abreu continue scoreless streaks

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Bryan Abreu #66 of the Houston Astros pitches during the Spring Training game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on February 24, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 11-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Bryan Abreu #66 of the Houston Astros pitches during the Spring Training game against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on February 24, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 11-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Astros pitchers Josh James, Framber Valdez and Bryan Abreu kept their spring scoreless streaks alive on Thursday.

One thing was clear in the Astros5-0 win over the Red Sox in Grapefruit League action on Thursday: The pitching looks ready. Josh James, Framber Valdez and Bryan Abreu all put up multi-inning scoreless outings to extend their scoreless streaks this spring.

James, in particular, looked strong. He started the game and went three innings, allowing only one hit while striking out two. After Austin Pruitt struggled in Wednesday’s game, it looks like James is the man to beat for the fifth starter job at this point.

Through two outings this spring, James has tossed five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Remarkably, he’s allowed only one hit and has yet to walk a batter. For a guy who averaged more than five walks per nine innings last year, this is an incredibly good sign.

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Valdez is also in that fifth starter race, and he’s looked sharp as well. He gave up one hit and struck out two in two scoreless frames on Wednesday. That brings his total to 6.2 scoreless innings over three Spring Training appearances.

Abreu is more likely to wind up in the bullpen if he makes the team, but so far he looks like he could be a real difference maker. He’s up to 6.2 scoreless innings in three appearances, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 12.

Outlook

It’s entirely possible that all three of these pitchers make the Opening Day roster. If current trends continue, James could wind up as the fifth starter with Pruitt working as the long reliever. Valdez and Abreu could join Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith and two others in the bullpen to form a pretty talented group.

There’s still much left to be decided this spring, so stay tuned. But these three young hurlers are all off to a promising start in their quests to solidify their roster spots.

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