Results tagged ‘ recap ’

Game 17: Solid day from Astros pitchers

The facts: The Astros got superb pitching from starter Dallas Keuchel, reliever Darin Downs and Mark Appel, who pitched in relief, and then blew the game and lost, 3-2, when the Yankees scored three in the ninth (two earned) against Will Harris (boxscore).

Analysis: In his first start since being named Opening Day starter, Keuchel cruised through 4 1/3 scoreless innings, throwing 41 of his 58 pitches for strikes. He allowed a pair of runners in the first, but got Brian McCann to ground out to end the inning, and he coaxed Chris Young into an inning-ending double play in the fourth.

“I just felt like I had a few mechanical issues last start and I was all over the place, but today I was just focused on making as many quality pitches as I could,” Keuchel said. “I think I said I took a step back last start, but I think I took two steps forward this one and was really able to establish the fastball early. I was making those guys conscious inside with the two-seam and then kind of set up some breaking balls and change-ups away.”

Downs allowed a hit, but quickly got a double play to get out of the inning. Appel looked polished by allowing one hit in three scoreless innings.

The Astros were held to five hits, including a two-run blast by Chris Carter in the first inning off Michael Pineda. The Astros nearly hit for the cycle in the first with George Springer hitting a triple and Matt Dominguez stroking a single to join Carter’s first homer of the spring.

“He can leave any area of the ballpark,” Hinch said of Carter, who was second in the AL with 37 homers last year. “He’s been working on staying towards the middle and hitting the ball back where it’s pitched. It’s a big man that can hit it out to a big area.”

Player of the game: Dallas Keuchel.

Notable: Yankees pitchers struck out 14 batters.

Quotable:

“You want to play quality baseball, which is key, heading into the season. To me, handling the ball cleanly and playing clean baseball is the No. 1 priorty,” — Astros manager A.J. Hinch when asked about having a winning record in the spring.

Up next: Veteran Roberto Hernandez, who gave up three earned runs and four hits in three innings Tuesday, will continue his audition for the fifth spot in the rotation when he starts Sunday’s game against the Pirates at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. Dan Straily, who walked four and allowed three runs in two innings Tuesday, will also pitch against Pittsburgh while he also competes for a spot in the rotation. The game will be televised on MLB Network and ROOT Sports.

Injury report: LF/DH Evan Gattis (right wrist discomfort) is playing in Minor League games. … LHP Brett Oberholtzer (mild left lat strain) is able to throw in the bullpen and could return to game action soon. … RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) will pitch in a Minor League game on Monday.

Pictures of the day can be found at my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/

Links of the day:

Hinch likes the idea of Altuve and Springer at top of the lineup.

Important week coming up for fifth starter battle.

A-Rod, Correa comparisons are real.

Tweet of the day:

Game 10: Springer goes deep twice in tie with Nats

The facts: The Astros rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to tie the Nationals, 6-6, on Friday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla. (boxscore).

Analysis: The Astros got the chance to practice their base running aplenty Friday by pounding out 14 hits, drawing three walks and watching the Nationals commit three errors. Manager A.J. Hinch was pleased with the aggressiveness on the bases. A good example came in the second when Jed Lowrie walked and went from first to third on a single by Matt Dominguez. Lowrie wound up caught in a rundown between third and home on a Marwin Gonzalez fielder’s choice, but scored when the Nats dropped two throws.

Right fielder George Springer went 2-for-3 with his first two homers of the spring, and third baseman Luis Valbuena continued his strong showing at the plate by doing 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s batting .529 this spring.

Astros starter Scott Feldman retired eight of the first nine batters he faced and was one strike away from pitching a 1-2-3 third inning when he gave up a two-out single to Tony Gwynn Jr. That was the start of an inning where four consecutive batters reached with two outs, with Washington scoring three times on Feldman, who threw 51

“I think that’s just part of getting stretched out here in spring,” Feldman said. “My arm feels pretty good. Hopefully, it’s feeling this good when the season starts.”

Hinch said he was glad to see Feldman and Roberto Hernandez, who followed Feldman and allowed five hits and two runs in three inning, be able to work with some runners on base.

“These guys, it’s good for them to pitch under a little duress and get their adrenaline going and get them more towards season-type outings,” he said.

Darin Downs and Jake Buchanan each pitched one scoreless innings, and Josh Fields was tagged for a solo homer in his one inning of work.

Player of the game: Who else? George Springer, 2-for-3 with two homers.

Notable: Eight of the nine outs recorded by Feldman came on ground outs.

Quotable:

“He can hit the ball out of any ballpark in any location, so he doesn’t have to try to generate or over swing,”— manager A.J. Hinch on George Springer’s two homers.

“I’m going to be the same guy. If he wants me to hit one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, that’s fine,”Springer on his spot in lineup.

Up next: Right-hander Collin McHugh makes his third start of the spring after two scoreless outings when the Astros travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to meet the Braves at 5:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. McHugh led all Major League rookies with a 2.73 ERA lsat year and was named AL Rookie of the Month to cap a breakout season. Lefties Tony Sipp and Kevin Chapman and right-hander Chad Qualls are among those also scheduled to pitch.

Injury report: RHP Mark Appel (mild right forearm strain) will start Monday’s split-squad game in Viera against the Natioanls. … OF Preston Tucker (bruised right hand) hit on the field Friday and could return to game action on Saturday. … RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) will throw his second live bullpen session Saturday. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) began his throwing program and will begin the day on the DL.

Pictures of the day can be found at my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/

Links of the day:

Carter aiming to carry momentum into season.

MLB Pipeline checks in from Astros camp.

Astros have some options when it comes to lefties.

Bidding for rotation spot, Wojciechowski to start Sunday.

Story and video: Santana, Cruz, Flores sent out of camp.

Tweet of the day

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.

Quotable:

“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:

Feldman working on being quicker to the plate, mixing in a changeup.

Astros pick for utility player going down to the wire.

Tucker day to day with hand soreness.

On-base machine Fontana focused on health.

Day 11: Almost time for game action

After another day of team fundamentals and batting practice under the Florida sun, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday afternoon he’s ready for games. The Astros fire up Grapefruit League action Thursday when they face the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. at Osceola County Stadium, but they’ll work out Wednesday morning in their final short day of the spring.

“We need to get some game action, we need to pick up the tempo, obviously,” he said. “Doesn’t mean things are always going to be pretty, but game speed and game competition are clearly what’s needed. We’ve prepared and now we’ve got to go execute.”

The Astros worked on base running and did a sliding exercise on Tuesday as Hinch wants to make sure the players have practiced everything prior to getting into games so they can react appropriately.

“We’ve incorporated the base running, we’ve practiced our shifting, that type of stuff,” he said. “You try to hit everything before games start as a refresher for these guys.”

Quote of the day

“If they’re safe, I love it,”– A.J. Hinch on head-first slides.

Injury report: RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) threw in the bullpen again Tuesday as he progresses towards a live bullpen session. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) still isn’t able to throw off the mound.

The day in photos can be found on my new Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/

Links:

Hinch lining up a seven-man bullpen.

Tweet of the day

 

 

Game 13: Struggling bats can’t support Oberholtzer

The result: Rangers starter Martin Perez threw eight scoreless innings to send the Astros to their second 1-0 loss in a span of three games against Texas on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: The Astros’ offensive struggles were on full display Sunday afternoon. They managed just five singles and didn’t have a runner reach second base, partly because they hit into four double plays. The only starting position players who aren’t struggling are Jose Altuve and L.J. Hoes, but pretty much everyone else is in a slump.

Porter was asked if perhaps some players would be called up from Triple-A to add some life, but he said the players who are here are the ones that have to get it done.

“The players that we have here, those are players that are going to play, and it’s going to be up to them to get it done because they’re here,” he said.

It’s particularly frustrating because the team’s starting pitching has been so good lately. Dallas Keuchel, Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer have combined to post a 1.61 ERA in the team’s last four games, with each going seven innings.

“Offensively, you have to put some runs on the board to put pressure on the other team,” Porter said.

Player of the game: Easy. Oberholtzer was terrific, allowing five hits and one run while striking out a career-high seven batters in seven innings.

Stat of the game: Oberholtzer has allowed four earned runs or less in all 13 of his Major League starts, the third-longest streak in club history.

Quote of the day: “We’re not looking for moral victories,” Porter on his team losing two of three games to the Rangers by 1-0 scores.

Other stuff: The Astros were 8-for-8 on stolen base tries before getting a pair of runners thrown out Sunday, including Matt Dominguez on a botched hit-and-run. … Oberholtzer has received two runs or less of support in all three of his starts this season. … Porter successfully challenged a call at first base in the first inning. Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo was originally called safe after a throw that pulled Jesus Guzman off first base, but the call was overturned.

Links:

Astros looking forward to wearing No. 42

Astros showing efficiency on bases

Porter not panicking over offensive struggles

Tweet of the day:

 

Game 12: Astros rally to win in extra innings

The result: The Astros turned disappointment into triumph in a matter of a few minutes Saturday night, shaking off a ninth-inning blown save to win the game, 6-5, in the 10th inning when Jose Altuve drove home pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez from third base on a sacrifice fly at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: This was probably a game the Astros don’t win a year ago. After suffering their first blown save of the season when lefty Kevin Chapman gave up a homer to Michael Choice in the ninth inning, they got a one-out triple from Jason Castro and a sacrifice fly by Jose Altuve to take the lead. And then Anthony Bass strands the go-ahead run at third base for a tough save.

You want heroes? They were everywhere. How about Jarred Cosart going seven innings and striking out a career-high eight batters? Robbie Grossman, who entered the game in a 1-for-27 funk, cranked a three-run homer to cap a five-run fourth inning and give the Astros a 5-2 lead. And shortstop Jonathan Villar made a spectacular diving stop and throw in the 10th to rob Alex Rios of a hit and keep Bass out of a bigger mess.

Player of the game: Grossman. Tough one, considering the work Cosart did and how Bass closed it out. But considering his struggles and the impact his three-run homer had on the game, Grossman is the player of the game.

Stat of the game: The five runs the Astros scored in the fourth are their most in an inning since a six-run fifth on Sept. 13, 2013 against the Angels and most on the road since a five-run fourth on July 31, 2013 at Baltimore.

Quote of the day: “I was looking for one pitch that I can drive. I wasn’t thinking about, ‘Hit it in the air.’ I was thinking about, ‘Hit it hard.’ The infield was in and it’s really hard to catch the ball when it’s hit hard. That was my mindset. He left a pitch a little bit high, maybe it was a ball, but that’s a pitch I can drive so I took advantage of that,” — Astros 2B Jose Altuve on his 10th inning sacrifice fly.

Other stuff: Grossman’s homer was his sixth of his career, and his first of three or more runs. His first five career homers were each two-run shots. … Grossman has five hits this year — two homers, a double, a triple and a single. … Altuve’s go-ahead RBI was his second in extra innings in his career. The other was a walk-off fielder’s choice in the 10th inning on Aug. 1, 2011.

Links:

Clemens joins club as Feldman goes on bereavement list

Porter cool with Altuve playing in 162 games if he’s healthy

Carter still waiting on that first home run

Tweets of the day:

Game 11: Astros can’t outlast Rangers

The result: Robinson Chirinos smacked a two-out single into center field to score Kevin Kouzamanoff from second base with the winning run to send the Rangers to a 1-0 walk-off win in 12 innings over the Astros on Friday night at Globe Life Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: It was a tough night offensively for the Astros, who managed just two hits — both by Matt Dominguez — in 12 innings against the Rangers. Yu Darvish did what he usually does against the Astros — dominate. He retired the first 15 batters he faced for the third time in his career and had it all working, allowing one hit in eight innings.

“You never have much margin for error going against a guy like that,” Astros starter Scott Feldman said. “Really no matter who you’re facing, try to go out there and limit the damage and get as deep into the game as I could. Obviously, he’s one of the best doing it right now. Pretty typical game for him. He does this all the time.”

Feldman certainly didn’t need to hang his head. He held the Rangers to two hits in seven scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 0.44 in three starts as an Astros. And extra kudos for him for taking the mound two days after the death of his father. That took some serious guts, focus and heart.

Player of the game: RHP Scott Feldman. You can’t say enough about his effort.

Stat of the game: Feldman has gone at least seven innings scoreless innings with two hits allowed in two of his three career starts against the Rangers. In eight seasons with the Rangers, he never had a start of at least seven scoreless innings and two or fewer hits.

Quote of the day: “I knew that he would want me to. He was a big baseball fan,” Feldman on his father’s desire for him to pitch Friday. His father died Wednesday.

Other stuff: The Astros are  hitting .188 as a team through 11 games. … The Rangers have won 12 games in a row against the Astros. … The top six  hitters in the Astros’ lineup were 0-for-25.

Links:

New dad Albers rejoins team

Luhnow knew Abreu would make an impact

Astros’ bullpen reliable holding leads

Tweets of the day:

 

 

 

Game 6: Feldman benefits from five-homer outburst

The result: The Astros got five home runs from five different players — two-runs shots by Jason Castro and Jonathan Villar and solo blasts by Matt Dominguez, Jesus Guzman and Alex Presley — and rode seven strong innings from Scott Feldman to snap a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Angels on Sunday (game story and boxscore).

The analysis: You certainly wouldn’t expect the Astros to beat other teams via the long ball very often, especially when slugger Chris Carter isn’t in the lineup. They only managed seven hits against the Angels, but when five of them leave the yard, it makes life easier on everyone.

“Home runs always help,” manager Bo Porter said. “The biggest one was Villar’s home run there late in the game that gave us that extra cushion (in the seventh, which made it 7-1), and as you can see, we definitely needed it.”

Things got hairy in the ninth when the Angels scored three against Anthony Bass, but Chad Qualls came in and closed it out. He struck out Kole Calhoun to end the game and strand Mike Trout on deck. The Astros’ bullpen is 2-for-2 in save situations so far this year, which is a huge plus after last year’s struggles.

And how good was Feldman? More on him below.

Player of the game: RHP Scott Feldman. The big right-hander, making his second start for the Astros, threw seven innings and allowed three hits and one run to improve to 2-0. He did a great job keeping Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and David Freese off base, holding them to 1-for-14.

“You’re kind of lucky at some point,” he said. “Trout, this guy is not even a human being up there sometimes. Just thankful I made some pretty good pitches with him and I was able to keep him off the bases. That’s huge.”

Stat of the game: Feldman is just one of four Astros pitchers to pitch at least 6 2/3 innings and allow one run or less in his first two starts in an Astros uniform. The others are Roger Clemens (2004), Robin Roberts (1965) and Dean Stone (1962).

Quote of the day: “It’s almost like when you play poker and a person folds their hand. I’m not going to show you my cards,” — Astros manager Bo Porter when asked how they would have approached Mike Trout had he batted in the ninth.

Other stuff: The save by Qualls was the 52nd of his career and first since June 9, 2010. It was his first for the Astros since Sept. 26, 2007. … 3B Matt Dominguez already has two home runs after not hitting his second homer of last season until May 11. He finished with 21. Both of his hits have been homers. The last Astros player with two homers for his first two hits was Rick Ankiel last year. … The Astros have scored first-inning runs in five of their six games this year.

Links:

Fowler still not available, but resting at home

Porter thinks Corporan blocked plate properly

Castro returns to lineup, homers in first AB

Williams gives teammates scouting report on Angels

Crain set to leave for Florida, continue rehab

Tweet of the day:

Game 3: Lack of execution costs Astros sweep

The result: Coming off a pair of rousing victories over the Yankees to begin the season, the Astros squandered early scoring chances, grounding into four double plays in the first five innings, and flubbed in the field to drop a 4-2 decision in the series finale at Minute Maid Park (story and boxscore).

The analysis: The Astros nearly walked out of Minute Maid Park with a sweep of the Yankees, though winning two of three games isn’t bad. Their biggest problem in the series finale was executing in the clutch. They grounded into four double plays in the first five innings, and then the Yankees bullpen absolutely shut them down.

“We had our chances, especially early,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We had base runners everywhere. We were probably one big hit away from kind of getting some separation early in the game, but give the New York Yankees credit. They fought and found a way to get out of here with a win.”

The Astros, who have yet to commit an error this season, had a huge flub defensively in the seventh when a two-out pop up between home plate and the pitcher’s mound dropped, allowing Ichiro Suzuki to score from second to make it 4-2. Catcher Carlos Corporan was under the ball before looking towards pitcher Brad Peacock and third baseman Matt Dominguez to his left as the ball fell.

“I went after it because I didn’t want that thing to fall on the ground,” Corporan said. “I saw the pitcher and saw Matty and I kind of was in the middle of everybody. I should have caught it and took charge of the ball. Things happen.”

Starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer didn’t pitch poorly, coming within an out of a quality start. He’s still working on a curveball, which he threw with confidence. Also, reliever Brad Peacock did a nice job picking up the final 3 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run on the dropped pop up.

Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler once again. He went 2-for-4 for the third consecutive game, this time with two singles a run scored and an RBI. he’s the first Astros player with at least two hits in his first three games in an Astros uniform since Ken Caminiti from July 16-18, 1987 as a rookie.

Stat of the game: Oberholtzer has pitched at least five innings in each of his 11 Major League career starts. That streak ranks second in franchise history behind Mark Lemongello, who went at least five innings in each of his first 14 career starts with the Astros (Sept. 14, 1976-May 29, 1977).

Quote of the day: “We could have communicated better. To give them a free out like that later in the game, it was tough. Like I said, you just learn from it and move forward and chalk it up to a learning experience,” Astros first baseman Marc Krauss on the two-out pop up that dropped to the ground in the seventh inning, costing the Astros a run.

Other stuff: Astros starter have posted a 1.56 ERA through the season’s first three games.

Links:

Jason Castro is day to day with a bruised foot

Replay used to check count in Astros-Yanks

Crain heading to Florida to continue rehab work

Porter happy with Astros approach at the plate

Astros have top pool for international signings

Tweets of the day:

 

Game 20: Harrell makes his case for rotation spot

The fact: Right fielder Bobby Abreu went 3-for-4, including a tiebreaking double in the sixth inning, to lead the split-squad Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Astros on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: Don’t count out RHP Lucas Harrell for a spot in the starting rotation. Harrell, who coughed up 12 hits and nine earned runs in his previous start on Saturday, pitched well Thursday by allowing six hits and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings. He wasn’t efficient, though, needing 91 pitches.

Harrell, who’s among four battling for the final two spots in the Houston rotation, has allowed one earned run in four of his five starts this spring.

“Some of the good things I’ve been taking out of my outings are weak contact,” he said. “I felt like I got some weak contact today, some balls on the ground, and that’s mainly what I’m looking for.”

Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler went 2-for-2 with a walk, a double and a run scored at the top of the lineup to raise his spring average to .250.

What went wrong: LHP Kevin Chapman, who took the loss, came into a jam in the fifth and got a pair of strikeouts before allowing a pair of runs (one earned) in the sixth. … LHP Darin Downs gave up five hits and three earned runs in two innings of work, raising his spring ERA to 6.75. … Marwin Gonzalez played a few innings in CF as promised and sailed a throw to the plate in the sixth inning well over the catcher’s head.

“I think it’s a matter of getting to know the position and getting his arm stretched out,” manager Bo Porter said. “Obviously, that’s a different throw than any of the throws he’s had to make from short, second or third. Again, we’re going to put him out there. He gives us flexibility. I thought he made a really good play on a ball doing to left-center. He’s going to add some versatility to our ballclub.”

Read more about how Gonzalez could shape the Astros roster here.

Notable: Harrell picked off Reid Brignac at second base in the third inning. … C Carlos Corporan was charged with a passed ball in the fifth inning. … RHP Josh Fields is having a strong spring. He struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning. … SS Jonathan Villar went 2-for-4, and C Jason Castro was 2-for-3.

Quotable: “It takes three pitches to strike somebody out and one pitch to have them hit a ground ball,” — Astros manager Bo Porter when asked about Harrell not having any strikeouts.

Up next: RHP Scott Feldman, who will start for the Astros on Opening Day against the Yankees on April 1, will make his second-to-last start of the spring when the Astros face the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT Friday at Osceola County Stadium. He’s scheduled to throw 90 pitches across six or seven innings

Injuries: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery).

Links of the day:

Full story and video: Astros cut six prized prospects from camp.

Oberholtzer and Cosart to follow Feldman in rotation

X-rays show no fracture for Correa

Tweets of the day:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers