Game 16: Feldman, Peacock put in solid day of work
The fact: Gio Gonzalez allowed three hits and one run in 4 2/3 innings and Steven Souza Jr. hit a pair of solo home runs and added an RBI triple to lead the Nationals to a 4-3 win over the Astros on Sunday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
What we learned: RHP Scott Feldman will be good to go on Opening Day. So, the Astros haven’t formally announced Feldman will be their Opening Day starter, but manager Bo Porter said Sunday that decision could be made public soon. Feldman had his longest outing of the spring Sunday, allowing eight hits and three runs in four innings against the Nationals.
“I’m still working on thing sand trying to get that command going to where I know where the all is going a little better,” said Feldman, who gave up two home runs. “I made some mistakes and they hit some fly balls, especially out here in Spring Training, they’re going to go a long ways.”
Player of the game: RHP Brad Peacock was sharp in four innings in relief, thanks to a polished changeup. He allowed two hits and one run and struck out four batters in his first Grapefruit League outing in two weeks. Last year, Peacock had three stints on the Major League roster and went 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in his final 12 appearances of the season (nine starts), setting him up to battle for a rotation spot this spring. He credited an improved slider with helping him succeed a year ago, but he focused on the change Sunday.
“Last year, I had three decent pitches and I just needed a changeup,” he said. “Me and [pitching coach Brent Strom] have been working every day and trying to throw it like my fastball and make it look like my fastball.”
What went wrong: The Astros managed just eight hits, including three doubles, and were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. … 2B Jose Altuve was charged with an error for dropping a relay throw from 3B Matt Dominguez, though it appeared Altuve may have held on long enough to get the out.
Notable: Feldman was originally scheduled to start a Minor League game, before the Astros decided to throw him in a Grapefruit League game. … 1B Jonathan Singleton had an RBI double to score SS Carlos Correa.
Quotable: “I felt like we played really well defensively. The positioning was good and guys made crisp plays,” — Astros manager Bo Porter.
Up next: LHP Brett Oberholtzer gets another chance to try to win a spot in the starting rotation when the Astros face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT Monday in Kissimmee, Fla., weather permitting (rain is forecast). Oberholtzer, who was arguably the Astros’ best pitcher in the second half of last season, has appeared in two Grapefruit League games and allowed six earned runs in four innings. He hasn’t pitched in a big league game since throwing two innings against Washington on March 7.
Injuries: RHP Mark Appel (recovering from appendectomy), RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery).
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