Game 2: Young players get in the action
The facts: The Cardinals scored four runs in the sixth inning off Alex White to beat the Astros, 5-2, on Friday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. (boxscore)
Analysis: With the exception of White, who gave up four runs and three hits and walked a pair, the Astros got good pitching across the board. Starter Brett Oberholtzer gave up four hits but no earned runs in two innings, and Sam Deduno looked sharp, allowing one hit and striking out two batters in two scoreless innings. Will Harris, James Hoyt and Kevin Chapman also threw in the game, with Chapman sending down all three batters he faced.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch liked the at-bats of some of the younger players like Andrew Aplin and Carlos Correa, who had an RBI single in the seventh inning. Seven different players had at least one hit for the Astros.
“I like we came back and put a few runs together late in the game, you know?” Hinch said. “Getting some of these guys in the game for the first time, laying eyes on these guys, getting back in the game after a tough inning was good. We made a couple of really, really good plays on defense, had a few miscues. All in all a step forward in getting these guys back on their feet.”
Player of the game: CF Jake Marisnick. He drew a walk in his first at-bat and made a great diving catch in the first inning.
“He’s a terrific center fielder,” Hinch said. “As I told him after he came out of the game, when he makes plays like that to help us stay close or help us win games or extend leads, good defensive center fielders are difference-makers. He had a good at-bat leading off the game. He had a positive day.”
Noteable: Evan Gattis made his spring debut and had a double.
Quotable: “When they do make mistake, it’s good feedback for them,” — Astros manager A.J. Hinch on his team’s three errors on Friday.
Up next: All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, the 2015 American League batting champion, will make his Grapefruit League debut when the Astros face the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium. Altuve, who led the Majors last year with a .341 batting average and a team-record 225 hits, will be joined in the lineup by newcomer Jed Lowrie, who’s making his first appearance in an Astros lineup since 2012. He play the previous two seasons in Oakland. Jason Castro will also make his spring debut behind the plate, catching left-hander Dallas Keuchel, a Gold Glove winner last year. Keuchel led the club in wins (12), innings (200) complete games (five) and quality starts (21) last year.
Injury report: RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) is throwing routinely in the bullpen with the target of facing live hitters in the March 10-12 window. … C Hank Conger (sore left wrist) will get his first game action Saturday. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) still isn’t able to throw off the mound.
Pitchers of the day can be found at my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/
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