Game 27: Myers hits wall against Tigers

It was an ugly Monday in Kissimmee, where the Astros gave up 18 hits and were routed by the Detroit Tigers, 9-1, at Osceola County Stadium. Of course, the big news of the day came in the morning. Astros manager Brad Mills announced Nelson Figueroa would get the final spot in the rotation after Jordan Lyles was reassigned to Minor League camp.

Here’s the breakdown of Monday’s game.

What went right: The best sight of the day was left-hander Wesley Wright, featuring his new sidearm delivery, coming on with the bases loaded in the sixth and getting three consecutive outs, allowing one runner to score on a sacrifice fly. He was the only Astros pitcher to take the mound and be charged with any runs allowed.

All four of the Astros’ hits were by their starting outfielders. Michael Bourn went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Both of his hits, including a bunt hit in the fifth inning, came against Tigers left-hander Phil Coke. Hunter Pence, who drove in the Astros’ only run in the first inning, and Carlos Lee each had one hit.

What went wrong: Brett Myers, making his second-to-last spring start before taking the ball on Opening Day for the Astros, gave up 12 hits, three walks and five earned runs in five innings, pushing his spring ERA to 9.00 in five starts. Myers said it simply wasn’t his day.

It’s not unusual for Myers to give up hits, considering his aggressive nature. The Tigers came out aggressive at the plate and had Myers worn out by the sixth inning, which he and manager Brad Mills consider a good thing.

“I hit a wall in that last inning and got a little tired,” he said. “That’s good because I needed to go through that to be able to get where I needed to be.”

Myers said his goal next time out is to throw more than 100 pitches. Mills said he would have to sit down with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and map out a plan for Myers’ final start.

Wilton Lopez, who hadn’t allowed a hit or a walk in his first six outings of the spring, allowed one hit and one run in one inning, but struck out two batters. Jeff Fulchino gave up two hits and a run in one inning, and Mark Melancon allowed three hits and two runs in one inning. Both have ERAs of 3.86 this spring.

At the plate, Tommy Manzella was 0-for-3 with a walk, Chris Johnson played nine innings and was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, and catcher Humberto Quintero was 0-for-3, lowering his spring average to .393.

What they said: “I felt like I could have had results today, but some balls found the hole. There were some weak ground balls that go through. It’s the game of baseball and that’s what happens. I’d rather give them up now than during the season.” – Astros pitcher Brett Myers on his outing Monday.

What’s next: Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched since leaving his March 10 start with mild shoulder tendinitis, returns to the mound Tuesday when the Astros face the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT in Viera, Fla. Rodriguez, who will start the second game of the year, has pitched in only three games this spring, allowing three earned runs in seven innings in his previous two starts following a rocky debut.

Injury update: Infielder Angel Sanchez (back) took batting practice and is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday at the Pirates.

How about some photos?

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Above: Enos Cabell, a special assistant, gives some advice to third baseman Chris Johnson.

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Above: Matt Downs and Jason Michaels await their turn in the batting cage.

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Above: Michael Bourn practices his jump from third as coach Dave Clark watches.

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Above: Hunter Pence does an interview with some media from Corpus Christi.

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Above: Former Astros closer Jose Valverde stretches at Osceola County Stadium.

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