Game 12: Harrell shines in loss to Nats
What happened: The Nationals scored five times in the sixth inning to pull away for a 7-1 win over the Astros (boxscore).
Here are the highlights and interviews following the game:
What we learned: Astros pitchers continue to sing the praises in the defensive ability of C Carlos Corporan, who’s developing into a pretty dependable backstop. We all knew Corporan was a switch-hitter with good defensive skills, but now he’s also swinging the bat pretty well and having an all-around good spring.
“One of the best things about him is you know when you to get ahead in the count, you know you can bounce one because he blocks the ball very well,” RHP Lucas Harrell said. “He has a strong throwing arm, and when guys are on base you know you don’t have to worry about holding the ball as much and the runner as much because he’s going to make up for a little bit for what you don’t. When you have a guy back there that has all those tools, it makes you more comfortable and relaxed.”
What we learned II: Harrell appears to be in mid-season shape. Despite trying to throw more curveballs in an effort to get more comfortable with the pitch during the season, he threw four innings and allowed three hits and one run and struck out four. He threw 36 of his 61 pitches for strikes and worked a crisp pace, which we didn’t see much from Astros pitchers on Monday.
“We were very impressed,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “Even when he got in trouble, he was able to make pitches and get out of it.”
What else: 2B Jose Altuve singled in the third and doubled in the sixth inning before coming out of the game. … The only other Astros players to get hits were RF J.D. Martinez and Corporan. … LHP Brett Oberholtzer struck out one and walked two in 1 1/3 innings. … LHP Sergio Escalona got the final two outs.
What went wrong: The Astros committed three more errors, giving them 18 in 12 games. “Again, you’ve got to catch the baseball and when you don’t catch the baseball, you give teams extra outs,” Porter said. “Especially against a good ballclub like they have over there, you give them extra outs and they’re going to put runs on the board.”
What they said: “I felt great today. That’s the best I felt all Spring Training. The results weren’t what I wanted to be. I was throwing strikes for the most part and I felt great.” — Astros RHP Brad Peacock on his outing against his former team.
What’s next: The team is off on Wednesday and will return to action Thursday against the Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT in Kissimmee, Fla., with RHP Philip Humber taking the mound. Humber, who’s competing for a spot in the starting rotation, has pitched five innings in two outings this year, allowing three hits and two runs.
Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle) threw one innings in his first outing of the spring. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia) underwent surgery last week and is out until next month. … LHP Erik Bedard (glute) is day-to-day.
Tweet of the day:
Links of the day: Astros manager Bo Porter was nearly as popular as his son in his return to Viera to face his former team. … Astros notebook has updates on health of LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Lucas Harrell talking about his curveball, RHP Bud Norris on his scheduled simulated game for Wednesday and the frustrations of pitching coach Doug Brocail.
Here’s more on Porter’s reunion:
The day in photos: