Game 23: Lyles struggles, Castro stays hot in loss
What happened: Jordan Lyles gave up 10 hits and six runs, including homers to Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista, as the Blue Jays outslugged the Astros, 10-6, who got homers from outfielder Brandon Barnes and catcher Jason Castro (boxscore).
What we learned: C Jason Castro isn’t putting too much stock into his torrid start this spring. Castro went 2-for-3 with a homer and is hitting .462 this spring with five homers and 11 RBIs.
“It’s really just a bonus,” he said. “Right now, it’s about seeing pitches and getting at-bats, repetition and my timing down and all the stuff for the regular season. I’m happy where I’m at. I feel good and the results are taking care of themselves. If it were going the other way, I’d pretty much say the same thing. Right now, that’s the biggest thing, is getting in the work to open up on March 31.”
Astros manager Bo Porter thought he knew what he was getting in Castro after watching game tape from last year — his first season since missing all of 2011 following knee surgery — but what he saw this spring was a different player.
“I got to Spring Training and saw him in batting practice the first couple of days and said, ‘That looks a lot different,’” he said. “You can tell by the way he’s blocking the ball, the way he’s swinging the bat, he’s healthy and has his legs underneath him. He’s doing a great job.”
What we learned II: 2B Jose Altuve is ready for the start of the season. Altuve continues to be about as steady as anyone in the game, going 3-for-4 with three singles on Tuesday to raise his spring batting average to .356.
“I was talking with Marwin [Gonzalez] about this,” he said. “I feel really good, feel 100 percent right now. I wish we were starting the season tomorrow. Like everyone, I’m really excited about going to the American League and playing hard and winning some games.”
What else: Porter was pleased with LF Chris Carter, who went 2-for-3 and is hitting .267. Carter pulled a fastball down the left-field for a double in the third and hit a 2-2 slider to right field in the fifth for a single. … The Astros were 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position. … Another scoreless inning by RHP Chia-Jen Lo lowered his ERA to 2.35.
What went wrong: Lyles gave up 10 hits and six runs and hit a batter in 3 2/3 innings. Porter said he wants him to pitch down the zone more next time out. … RHP John Ely pitched two innings and surrendered homers to Josh Thole and Ryan Langerhans. … The normally steady Matt Dominguez made an error at 3B.
What they said: “If you look up baseball player in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Jose Altuve. He’s just a baseball player.” — Astros manager Bo Porter on his All-Star second baseman.
What’s next: The Astros return to Osceola County Stadium on Wednesday to face the Mets at 5:05 p.m. CT. RHP Alex White, who’s battling for a spot in the starting rotation, will get the start for Houston. White, acquired from the Rockies in a December trade, has pitched in four games this spring, allowing eight earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.
Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back tightness) is day-to-day.
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Links of the day: Astros notebook has tons of information, including Bo Porter’s thoughts on the DH, Trevor Crowe’s mindset entering final days of camp and much, much more.