Results tagged ‘ spring recap ’

Game 6: Stassi’s blast overcomes Cardinals

The facts: Astros catcher Max Stassi blasted a two-run homer off Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal in the seventh inning that snapped a tie and sent the Astros to a 7-6 win on Tuesday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

Analysis: The Astros’ bats showed some life with 10 hits, including five extra-base hits (four doubles). Luis Valbuena, in the lineup at DH, went 2-for-3 with an RBI double, and Jed Lowrie doubled in each of his first two at-bats. Colby Rasmus had a two-run double in the fourth inning off a left-handed pitcher, which manager A.J. Hinch thought was encouraging.

On the mound, Brett Oberholtzer sailed through two innings before running into some traffic in the third and giving up a pair of runs, but everyone was happy with his day.

“I had to work a little bit, but for the most part I was pretty efficient,” Oberholtzer said. “I felt better today than I did my first start, which is expected of myself. I think the biggest thing I got out of today’s outing is make a better pitch 0-2, 1-2 when I’m ahead put guys away. I threw strikes which is something you always want to do in Spring Training. But like I said, I think I have to do a better job next outing finishing guys off, or at least throwing some balls there to change the thought process for them.”

HInch was asked what Oberholtzer needed to do to lock down the fourth spot in the rotation.

“I think he just needs to continue to pitch,” he said. “There were some good things that happened today, especially early. He ran into a little bit of trouble and gave up some hits. He needs to focus on continuing to throw strike one, work with a good tempo. I trust Obie with the ball every five days. That’s probably all he needs to know at this point.”

Chad Qualls worked a scoreless innings, and Josh Fields and Luke Gregerson each gave up one run, with Fields surrendering a homer to Jacob Wilson. Sam Deduno got the win in relief by allowing three hits and one run while striking out three in three innings.

“I thought Deduno continued to pitch well,” Hinch said. “He had a lot of movement on his pitches, really breezed through his outings. We had a couple of key hits. It’s good to see Lowrie have a couple of key hits. Altuve finished with a positive note with his hit. Colby Rasmus with runners in scoring position against a lefty, that’s a good sign.”

Player of the game: C Max Stassi.

“It’s something I got in the tank,” he said of his power. “I’ve always kind of had it like that, you know? I don’t really try to elevate and hit the ball in the air, that direction. It’s something that it just comes out and, you know, trying to hit the ball hard. That’s it.”

Notable: Jon Singleton has struck out only three times in 14 at-bats so far this spring.

Quotable:

“That’s big-boy territory. It’s hard to rag a guy when he goes dead-center off a guy with a pretty good resume. That’s a big hit,” — manager A.J. Hinch on catcher Max Stassi’s homer off Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

Up next: The Astros aren’t scheduled to play in Grapefruit League action on Wednesday, but they have scheduled a “B” game against the Braves for 9 a.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium. Dallas Keuchel will pitch three innings for the Astros. Jonathan Villar, an infielder, is also scheduled to get a look in the outfield during the game. Houston returns to Grapefruit League play Thursday against the Tigers when Dan Straily takes the mound in Kissimmee..

Injury report: RHP Mark Appel (mild right forearm strain) says he’s ready to pitch after being scratched from his outing Monday, but the Astros want him to pitch in the bullpen first. … OF Preston Tucker (bruised right hand) is day to day after getting hit by a pitch and could return to action Thursday. … RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) will throw a live bullpen session on Wednesday. … 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:

Bagwell lending a hand at Astros camp.

Neshek sidelined with soreness in right foot.

Appel ready to go after bout with tight forearm.

Astros looking to stay active on the base paths.

Tweet of the day

Game 5: Pitching rules the day

The facts: The Astros scratched out a run in the sixth inning to back their strong pitching and beat the Blue Jays, 1-0, on Monday afternoon in Dunedin, Fla. (boxscore).

Analysis: Four Astros pitchers combined to shut out the Jays, who had just five hits. Collin McHugh threw three innings and has yet to allow a run in two starts (five innings), and Roberto Hernandez made his Grapefruit League debut for the Astros and tossed two scoreless innings with two walks.

McHugh, who says he usually struggles in the spring, has been sharp.

“My arm feels great,”  he said. “I felt the ball was coming out. There’s a radar gun on the scoreboard so I peeked every once and while – I don’t know how accurate it was – but to see if it felt good coming out and to see what that actually translated into. I’ll go back and look tomorrow and watch a little video and see how it came out.”

Asher Wojciechowski came on strong by striking out three batters and allowing two hits in three innings, and Will Harris worked the ninth for the save.

“Great day of pitching today,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “Everybody that took the ball, threw strikes and got out of a couple of jams, used all their pitches. I thought Wojo had a really good showing. He had a little extra velocity, had all of his pitches working and really showed well. It was good to see Roberto on the mound for the first time.”

At the plate, Jon Singleton went 2-for-3 with a double to raise his spring average to .500 (5-for-10).

Players of the game: RHP Asher Wojciechowski.

Notable: Mark Appel, the former No. 1 overall pick, didn’t pitch because he reported a mild strain of his right forearm.

Quotable:

“Right out of Santo Domingo to two bullpens to live action. There’s a reason he’s got quite a bit of service time. He knows how to get himself ready,” — manager A.J. Hinch on spring debut of RHP Roberto Hernandez, who showed up at camp less than a week ago following visa issues.

Up next: Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer makes his second start of the spring when the Astros return home to face the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. CT Tuesday at Osceola County Stadium. Oberholtzer, the leading candidate to win the fourth spot in the rotation, gave up four hits and one unearned run in two innings in his first out of the Grapefruit League on Friday.

Injury report: RHP Mark Appel (mild right forearm strain) was scratched from his outing on Monday. … 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:

Richard Justice column: Rigorous prep has Altuve elite.

Evan Gattis still trying to get comfortable in left field.

Story and video: Appel scratched with right forearm tightness.

Defensive wiz Marisnick has a chance to win job in center

Grossman brings aggressive approach to roster battle.

Tweet of the day

Game 22: Wacha dominates Astros as Altuve homers

The fact: Michael Wacha held the Astros to four hits and two runs in seven innings, and the Cardinals jumped on Brett Oberholtzer for four runs in the first inning and got a solo homer from Matt Adams in the third to beat the Astros, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: It’s late in spring, but pitchers are still ironing out the kinks. LHP Brett Oberholtzer worked his way through a stressful first inning, giving up four hits and three runs, and settled down to give the Astros five innings while throwing 87 pitches. He’ll have one more spring start before taking the ball against the Yankees on April 3.

“Obviously, the first inning the results aren’t what I’m after,” he said. “The overall body of work, I was satisfied in keeping my team in the game. [Matt] Adams hit the home run in the third and I had put up a couple of zeroes in between. Over the course of a season, that’s going to happen to us, and I’m sure it will happen to a lot of us when they jump on you early. But more [importantly] is how you handle yourself over the course of a whole game. There’s still some things I need to work on, but I was pretty satisfied with how I went along after the first.”

Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler, celebrating his 27th birthday, went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

What went wrong: Oberholtzer struggled in the first inning, putting the Astros in a 3-0 hole they couldn’t escape. After getting the first out of the game, he allowed the next four batters to reach and three of them scored. … SS Jonathan Villar made his sixth error of the spring with an errant throw to first base in the third. … The Astros mustered only five hits, including four singles.

Notable: RHP Josh Fields didn’t allow a run for his fifth consecutive outing. He’s scoreless in his last six innings, allowing four hits in that span. … RHP Ross Seaton, a former high draft pick who was in camp with the Astros last year, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning. … IF Marwin Gonzalez went 1-for-3 and actually lowered his average to .436.

Quotable: “I’m the fourth hitter, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” — Astros second baseman Jose Altuve on hitting a homer out of the cleanup spot.

Up next: The race for the final two spots in the pitching rotation takes center stage Sunday in Jupiter, Fla., when Jerome Williams gets the start for the Astros against the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. CT. Williams is battling with Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Harrell and Brad Peacock for the final slots, though either of them could wind up being in the bullpen, as well.

Injuries: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery), RHP Alex White (Tommy John recovery) and RHP Peter Moylan (torn UCL).

Links of the day:

J.D. Martinez, who tore through the Minor Leagues and was called up to replace Hunter Pence in 2011, was given his release

The Astros roster is taking shape, but middle infield remains key piece

Astros expanding video capabilities in Minor Leagues

Crain among pitchers to start the year on the DL

Jose Altuve wants to play 162 games this year

Qualls, Albers pitch for second day in a row

Tweet of the day:

Picture of the day:

Alderman

Game 21: Bad inning hampers Feldman

The fact: Garrett Jones hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Scott Feldman and added an RBI single in a three-run fifth inning to lead the Marlins to a 7-2 win over the Astros on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: The Astros bullpen should be improved, as we expected considering the additions they made. RHPs Josh Zeid, Matt Albers and Chad Qualls each pitched in relief and were impressive. Zeid went two innings and allowed two hits and one run while striking out four, Albers threw a scoreless inning and Qualls allowed a run in the ninth. Still, they appeared more in control and polished than earlier in the spring.

“Albers threw the ball really well,” manager Bo Porter said. “He had some late life to his fastball. His sinker looked like it was really sinking today and he threw a couple of really good sliders. …  Zeid was tremendous today. He had that one outing where he really got away from his fastball and establishing his fastballs, but he’s gotten back to attacking the strike zone with his fastball and his split-finger and slider have come along as well.”

What else: RHP Scott Feldman retired 13 of the 14 batters after Garrett Jones took him deep to right field in the first inning, but he labored in the fifth as the Astros made a pair of errors behind him. All three runs the Marlins scored in the fifth came after the first two batters were retired. He threw 88 pitches in five innings, giving up  seven hits and five runs (four earned) with one walk and three strikeouts.

“The goal was 90 [pitches],” Feldman said. “It would have been nice to get out of that fifth a little bit quicker and get out there for a sixth. Really overall, the result weren’t there in that fifth inning but I made some good pitches. I think overall on the day, a couple of bad pitches. For the most part I was executing my pitches pretty well. The results aren’t always going to be there. If I can throw the ball like the results will be better.”

Player of the game: RHP Matt Albers. He breezed through the eighth inning, retiring all three batters he faced, with one strikeout.

What went wrong: The Astros made a pair of errors in the fifth. LF Robbie Grossman overthrew third base, which led to a run, and RF L.J. Hoes allowed a ball to roll under his glove for a two-base error. … The Astros went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Notable: C Jason Castro was scratched from the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms.

Quotable: “I’m trying to stay away from both of them. I told Dave I don’t need one of them touching the lineup card.”— Astros manager Bo Porter on coaches Pat Listach and Dave Trembley, both of whom are dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Up next: LHP Brett Oberholtzer, who will start the third game of the regular season, gets the call when the Astros play their third consecutive home game at 12:05 p.m. CT Saturday against the Cardinals at Osceola County Stadium.

Injuries: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery), RHP Alex White (Tommy John recovery)

Links of the day:

Feature story: You won’t find a more likeable teammate that Carlos Corporan, who’s done a nice job as backup catcher, too

Marc Krauss has put himself in good position to make the club

Darin Downs know how serious a line drive off the head can be

Alex White likely headed to extended Spring Training to continue rehab

Tweets of the day:

Picture of the day:

Appel 005

Mark Appel throws in Minor League game

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