The Houston Astros routed nine innings on Tuesday to a tie with the Washington Nationals, although watching 15 capitol bats fan. Both ball clubs dropped four runs, but extra innings aren’t in the nature of spring training leading to the first tie for both teams.
Lance McCullers Jr. started for the Astros, and although coming out of the game late in the second inning, the right-hander hit the bump to start the third. McCullers struck out four hitters, while also giving up a home run and two walks. A strong start was shortened due to control issues and a rising pitch count that eventually had him pulled, twice.
The Astros pitchers’ performances continue to progress against the Nationals.
While McCullers had a shaky second half after retiring his first three batters faced, other Astros pitchers stood out on Tuesday. Ralph Garza Jr. replaced McCullers twice in this game and left with a strikeout and an eared run, while Joe Smith and Ryne Stanek escaped with one strikeout a piece as well.
In the later half of the pitching game, Blake Taylor dealt two outs both on three strikes, as he will most likely be the go-to left-hander in the bullpen in years to come. Prospect Tyler Ivey also had a notable appearance, while fanning three batters in two innings of work, the right-hander could be looked to for bullpen depth down the stretch.
Andre Scrubb made his spring training debut as well, after battling a small leg injury. The right-hander might have one of the slowest mound approaches in baseball, but he struck out the three of the four batters he faced while surrendering a hit. After the Odorizzi contract holding onto much of the available contract money, Scrubb will most likely make the 26-man roster, although Steve Cishek was anticipated to take his place to start the season.
Dusty Baker announced that Jake Odorizzi has also completed his COVID-19 protocol and will start practicing on Wednesday. The right-hander hasn’t had a full ramp up to normalcy in his simulated spring training, so it will be interesting to see if he is ready by Opening Day. The Astros are back on the field in Jupiter on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins at 5:05 p.m. with Jose Urquidy scheduled to start.