As spring training came to a close on Monday, the Houston Astros ended their spring in a tie against the Washington Nationals, as they finished 6-13-4 . While none of this matters in the end, the team did face more backlash from opposing fans, difficulties with COVID-19 and a season ending injury to Forrest Whitley.
Although heading to Oakland on Tuesday, the team took a pitstop in Houston to receive the vaccine on Monday night. After Bryan Abreu, Chas McCormick and Robel Garcia were added to the Opening Day roster, it is all but set, but there is more to April 1.
With spring training coming to an end, here is what you need to know for the Astros’ Opening Day.
After the departure of George Springer, there was a lot to adjust from the outfield to the starting lineup. As we have given our thoughts of possible lineups and lead off hitters, it has been reported that Jose Altuve will hit first, although Manager Dusty Baker will try new things as the season progresses. From what we have seen from spring training, this could be the best bet for the starting lineup:
Jose Altuve 2B
Michael Brantley LF (L)
Alex Bregman 3B
Kyle Tucker RF (L)
Carlos Correa SS
Yordan Alvarez DH (L)
Yuli Gurriel 1B
Myles Straw CF
Martin Maldonado C
While the lineup could vary by opinion, this seemed to be the closest example as seen near the end of spring training. For the Opening Series, one inconsistency could be seeing Jason Castro hitting ninth in at least one of the games. With McCormick being the backup centerfielder, we could see a combination of Straw, Tucker and McCormick across all three spots, while Brantley makes the most sense to only play left field.
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As Zack Greinke will hit the bump for Opening Day against the Oakland A’s at 9:07 p.m., we could expect these last starts against west coast teams once again. Cristian Javier, Lance McCuller Jr, and Jose Urquidy will be the next three slated in the series in that order. While the fifth starter is still in the works, Luis Garcia and Brandon Bielak are the frontrunners with the non-starter being the final bullpen addition.
Jake Odorizzi is still planning on making his Astros’ debut in the first home series on April 8 against the A’s, and after a dominant outing on Monday, the right-hander is closer to his goal. Odorizzi’s 40-man roster spot was opened by Pedro Baez, as he hit the COVID-19 injured list earlier in March, but the right-hander is still a few weeks behind. More lineup adjustments are soon to come, as Baez will look to take his spot back on the roster. We still don’t have timetables on Andre Scrubb, Framber Valdez, Josh James and Austin Pruitt’s return to the 26-man roster, but as we anticipate their return, this Astros’ team will look even deeper past Opening Day.
Lance McCullers Jr. dominated a simulated game on Monday, as well. The right-hander was extended last week but is currently slated as the third starter. Don’t take this list based upon skill, but more of an analytical approach with matchups, availability and preferred catching options.