Astros victorious in Grapefruit League opener
The Houston Astros and New York Mets faced off in the first Spring Training game of the season. The most intriguing spot in Dusty Baker's lineup was Jose Abreu, newly acquired first baseman for the Astros.
The Mets got things going early on in the first inning. Third baseman Brett Baty hit a 2-run homer off of Brandon Bielak. Ronel Blanco relieved Bielak in the third and looked fantastic on the mound, striking out the side. Later on in the bottom of the third inning, Houston had runners on 2nd and 3rd base and didn't manage to score any runs. A fielders choice and then a groundout from Mauricio Dubon ended a possible rally for the Astros.
Austin Davis, a pitcher that is hoping to get a spot in the bullpen this season, had a rough start in the fourth inning. He walked a batter and then hit two batters which loaded the bases, he then got Arauz to ground out into a 5-4-3 double play.
The bats woke up for the Astros in the fifth inning. Ross Adolph and Marty Costes reahced on back-to-back singles. Houston had the bases loaded with 2 outs, but Matijevic swung at the first pitch and flied out to left, making that six stranded in five innings.
Justin Dirden put the first run on the board for Houston with a solo homer in the 6th inning off of Justin Courtney. Then in the 7th inning, the Astros bats came alive with a deep fly ball that led to an error. This brought a runner to second base. An RBI double from Kessinger to tie the game up. Another error from the Mets led to Kessinger scoring and giving Houston a 3-2 lead. That wasn't the end, though, as Justin Dirden got his second RBI of the day on a double to extend the Astros' lead.
The Astros bullpen was fantastic today--six different pitchers came in after Bielak and only gave up four hits and zero runs along with eight strikeouts. A great sign from the young players on this ball club, they didn't let an early two-run homer get to them and dominated the rest of the game.
It's a good thing that spring training games don't count for anything, it's more so a warmup for the regular season. This is a great time to analyze at-bats from the starters. Jose Abreu went 0-2 today including a strikeout. Another player that should be getting a lot of playing time this season is Mauricio Dubon, who went 0-2 today.
The Astros next spring training game is tomorrow at 12:05 CST against the Washington Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches