Although ‘B’ games have become a new way to expand the playing field, Houston Astros‘ pitcher Cristian Javier has excelled. The right-hander missed sometime due to health and safety protocols, while being a close contact of Pedro Baez. But since his return, we have seen nothing but lights out in this three inning stint.
At the moment, Javier is the four/five starter, but if Framber Valdez returns in full strength, the right-hander would most likely move to the bullpen. As a long-reliever, Javier could piggy back off pitcher like Jose Urquidy to dominate late into games.
How well has Cristian Javier been this spring for the Astros?
While hitting the bump for the first time in a few days, Javier went three and a third innings pitched with six strikeouts, two walks and a hit. Although only surrendering three base runners, the right-hander was going to be limited to four innings pitched in the hopes of being ready for five total innings come April.
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These ‘B’ games come down to the opinion of the viewer, but while restricted to five innings, Astros’ pitchers did face talented Miami Marlin hitters. While Javier had dominant stretches of three to four innings in 2020, getting the right-hander deep into the fifth and six innings will be key for Houston. Although the bullpen has been reworked from last year, it is still not one of the most dominant in the league and getting long outings from your starters will deeply impact the outcome of any game.
The right-hander has only pitched three innings across two starts this spring, and with a long list of Astros’ pitchers being injured, having delayed regular season arrivals or being out due to intake testing, this is another issue that could be picked up by the bullpen to start the season. Opening Day is only a week away, and by the looks of the roster, the pitching staff could be a little shaky to start the season.
The Astros are back on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals at 5:05 p.m. with Jake Odorizzi making his first start in a Houston uniform. The right-hander is slated for three innings and will most likely not be ready for the Opening Day roster.
The team also announced that, due to issues from the freeze, they are moving the alternative training site to Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi from Constellation Field in Sugar Land. With this change, Houston announced that only weather will dictate the roof being open or not at Minute Maid Park and a few policies for entering the stadium this season: