As the Houston Astros take game three of the Opening Series with the Oakland Athletics, the bats continued to rake against the dwellers of the Coliseum. With nine runs across 13 hits, the bats weren’t the only things making noise. While the boos continue, Lance McCullers Jr. bounced back after a 33 first inning pitch count while giving up two hits, an earned run and three walks with seven strikeouts.
Although the Oakland Coliseum used to be home to the juice kings of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, Yordan Alvarez, who is now a top four in RBIs through a player’ first 92 games, and Alex Bregman became the new smash bro’s, as they both have sent shots over the outfield wall this spring. Special honorary mentions to Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel, who have both gone yard this weekend. As one of the hottest teams in the game, they did take a small setback with Brantley leaving Saturday’s game with right-wrist discomfort early after being hit on the hand. X-rays came back negative, but the left-hander is day-to-day.
The pitching looks a little wavy at times, but the Astros’ bats are hot.
While having a full spring training behind them, the pitching staff has hit the ground stronger than last season, but some innings seem to get away from pitchers early in the season. Not every start will be perfect but McCullers and Javier seemed to have opposite outings the last two games. As the rotation comes to full strength, there is a good chance that they could have some All-Star votes coming their way.
As the lineup lacked Alex Bregman on Saturday, Aledmys Diaz hit third while playing the hot corner. This move was nothing but precautionary, and it showed how deep this lineup can be, as Diaz went three-for-five with two runs and an RBI. While the bats of Martin Maldonado, Carlos Correa and Myles Straw look to be the only swings behind, Correa finally broke his short slump with a double in the eighth inning and a single in the ninth. Chas McCormick had his first major league at bat on Saturday, and slashed his first major league hit later in the game off the left field wall:
It is early in the season, but the offense is exploding at the plate, but a few names are looking to turn it around. Some will fall off an Opening Series high against the A’s, but others will settle in. For a team like the Astros, progression is their best friend, so don’t worry about struggles just yet. This happens every season with certain players, but for someone like Correa, he is building up his free agency stock.
Houston is back on the field on Sunday at 3:07 p.m. to close the Opening Series in Oakland. With Jose Urquidy matching up against Sean Manaea, Athletics’ fans continue their uproar at the plate, which could be distracting for the home pitcher. As the bullpen battled lack of experience in 2020, offseason pickup Ryne Stanek went two strong innings with three strikeouts and an inning that consisted of three pitches, while Brooks Raley got out of a bases loaded jam although having back tightness.