Astros make series of moves to finalize roster, release Opening Day lineup

The Astros made a flurry of roster moves ahead of Opening Day, but nothing unexpected.

Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

With some of the scariest bats in the major leagues, the Astros have been a force to reckon with for years. Veterans José Altuve, Yordan Álvarez, and Alex Bregman in particular have sat pretty at the top of Houston's lineup to strike immediate fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. Opening Day is upon us, rosters and lineups are rolling out, and the Astros have decided not to mess with a good thing.

Things will kick off at 3:10 PM CST at Minute Maid Park against the Yankees, with Nestor Cortes pitching for New York. Under new manager Joe Espada, the Astros aren't deviating much from his predecessor Dusty Baker's way of thinking in terms of lineup construction. Again, why mess with a good thing?

Altuve will bat leadoff, followed by Álvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Bregman. Then comes José Abreu, Chas McCormick, Yainer Díaz, Jeremy Peña, and Jake Meyers to round out the order. Framber Valdez, also unsurprisingly, will head to the bump to kick things off in the top of the first against the Yankees.

Astros announce lineup, finalize roster in a flurry of Opening Day moves

That's not all, though — the Astros also finalized their roster by moving a slew of players including Lance McCullers, Luis Garcia, Penn Murfee, José Urquidy, and Justin Verlander to the IL. None are surprises, but those moves do serve as a reminder that Astros pitching is starting from an unfamiliar place this year: on the back foot.

New backup catcher Victor Caratini, utilityman Mauricio Dubón, and infielders Grae Kessinger and Jon Singleton will occupy spots on the bench. Star offseason acquisition Josh Hader will be the one to watch in Houston's bullpen, along with longtime closer Ryan Pressly in a new role this year.

The Astros are looking to climb back to the top of the AL West this year, and hopefully give the rival Rangers more of a run for their money. Their tried and true lineup has more work cut out for them now than in years previous, but this team is in good shape.