Game 1: Finding some good in a blowout
The Astros dropped their Grapefruit League opener, 13-3, to the Atlanta Braves on Monday afternoon in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Here’s a rundown of the day’s events.
What went right: The Astros got off to a good start at the plate, pounding out 14 hits – all singles. Brett Wallace, trying to win the first base job, went 3-for-3, including a pair of hits into left field. Carlos Lee, Tommy Manzella and T.J. Steele also had two hits apiece.
“We’ve all been champing at the bit to get out there and play games, and to finally get out there and play another team it’s definitely exciting,” Wallace said. “I think we were all so ready to go. We faced some good pitchers today and it’s you start to get timing down and see balls coming out of guys’ hands.”
On the mound, Enerio Del Rosario pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one strikeout. Lance Pendleton, a Rule 5 pick, tossed a scoreless inning, along with Fernando Rodriguez. Henry Villar drew praise from manager Brad Mills after giving up a leadoff triple in the seventh.
What went wrong: Wandy Rodriguez struggled mightily in his first start of the spring, giving up five hits, three walks and six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Rodriguez, who had a 12.10 ERA last spring, needed only six pitches to get out of the first inning, but threw 37 pitches in the second and couldn’t finish the inning.
“You know what, today I tried to work on my location and I got a lot of guys behind in the count,” he said. “That was my mistake today.”
As a team, the Astros gave up 15 hits and walked eight batters. Aneury Rodriguez, who’s also a Rule 5 pick, gave up three hits and two runs in one inning, and Sergio Escalona allowed three hits, two walks and four earned runs in one inning.
“It happened with a couple of guys today, but with Wandy I think he missed on a couple of pitches early in counts with guys in that second inning,” Mills said. “He tried to make adjustments mechanically and left some balls right over the middle of the plate, and they hit them hard.”
What they said: “The good at-bats were really good. We had a couple of guys throw the ball extremely well. Villar threw the ball really well after the leadoff triple. Fernando Rodriguez threw the ball extremely well at the end. We had much better at-bats and 14 hits, and that’s nice to see.” — Astros manager Brad Mills.
What’s next: Brett Myers will start for the Astros on Tuesday in their first game of the spring at Osceola Count Stadium. That will also mark the first time we’ll see second baseman Bill Hall and shortstop Clint Barmes in an Astros uniform in a game.
Injury update: Outfielder J.D. Martinez, the Astros’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, will be sidelined until at least Thursday with a sore left quadriceps muscle. … Fellow Minor League outfielder T.J. Steele hyper-extended his elbow diving for a ball in the outfield, but he came back to get two hits. … Michael Bourn was hit on the shin by a pitch and was a bit swollen, but he said he was fine.
Now, onto the pictures. I’m not able to get any game pictures because of my reporting responsibilities, but I’ll continue to bring you pictures from the workouts and pregame stretches/batting practice. And yes, the lighting is poor at the ballpark at times.
Above: Hunter Pence warms up on the field prior to Monday’s Grapefruit League opener.
Above: First-base coach Bobby Meacham signs an autograph for an Astros fans, while bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte looks on.
Above: Jason Michaels works on his bat in the dugout. He went 0-for-3 on Monday as DH.
Above: The Astros hit the field for stretch prior to Monday’s game.