Game 4: Hitless in Kissimmee
The facts: Nine Braves pitchers held the split-squad Astros without a hit for 10 innings in a 2-2 tie on Sunday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).
Meanwhile, in Lakeland, Fla., the other split-squad team racked 20 hits in a 14-9 win over the Tigers (boxscore), but this space will focus on the game in Kissimmee.
Analysis: The Astros went hitless 29 at-bats against the Braves, but did draw nine walks and had the bases loaded at one point, so they had opportunities. Jose Altuve played his longest game of the season and went 0-for-3, as did Jason Castro. Other regulars, Colby Rasmus, Jed Lowrie and Chris Carter, went 0-for-2.
Scott Feldman threw two strong innings in his first game of the season. Michael Feliz and James Hoyt, two players who likely won’t make the club, each looked sharp in two scoreless innings. Meanwhile, newcomer Pat Neshek made his debut with the Astros and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.
“They put me to work there,” Neshek said. “You had five months off and that’s my first appearance, and you’re hoping just to throw the ball over the plate. … I was very pleased. I felt awesome out there. These early ones, you just want to hope your control is there and you can hit some of your shots and then grow from that. I was more than thrilled with my outing.”
Players of the game: Michael Feliz and James Hoyt each threw two scoreless innings.
Notable: Every Astros pitcher walked at least one batter with the exception of James Hoyt.
“I don’t think anybody would have wanted to wait three minutes to replay that,” — Astros RHP Pat Neshek on allowing an infield hit on a close play.
“I think the thing that matters to me is starting a game in the postseason. I think that would be awesome, but as far as Opening Day, I think we’ve got a bunch of guys that had good years last year and that’s really just in the hands of A.J. and the stuff,”— Astros RHP Scott Feldman when asked about starting on Opening Day again.
Up next: Roberto Hernandez, who reported to camp only late last week after visa issues delayed travel from his native Dominican Republic, will make his first appearance for the club when he comes on in relief in Monday’s 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. Hernandez is vying for a spot in the Astros’ rotation. Collin McHugh wills start the game and is scheduled to pitch three innings.
Injury report: OF Preston Tucker (bruised right hand) is day to day after getting hit by a pitch. … RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) is throwing routinely in the bullpen with the target of facing live hitters in the March 10-12 window. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) still isn’t able to throw off the mound.
Pictures of the day can be found at my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/
Links of the day: