Results tagged ‘ Tag’s Lines ’

Game 25: Williams roughed up in loss to Cards

The fact: Jerome Williams allowed six runs and nine hits, including three home runs, in four innings as the Astros lost for the ninth time in 10 games, 6-3, on Sunday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium (boxscore).

Not that it matters much, but the Astros have lost nine of 10 to fall to 8-15.

What we learned: The fact Williams is a lock to make the club, something which manager Bo Porter said earlier Sunday, doesn’t change his approach to anything the rest of the spring.

“I’m just going to keep on going day-by-day until Opening Day comes,” he said. “I’ve been around this game for a long time, and I’m not satisfied until I’m there Opening Day. Even though it was said by the manager I was there, I’m going to try and work my butt off and try and be that pitcher that I always want to be and try and compete and do well.”

Williams, who’s battling with Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock and Lucas Harrell for the two final spots in the starting rotation, didn’t help his case Sunday when he was rocked for nine hits and six runs in four innings in a loss to the Cardinals.

“I’ve just got to work on throwing a ball not to bats,” he said. “It was one of those days where balls were just finding bats, and balls were finding holes. I left like three or four pitches up and they took advantage of it. It’s kind of bad that it’s happening now at the end of spring. Hopefully, I can just try and turn it around before the season starts.”

Read more about Williams here.

Player of the game: SS Jonathan Villar went 1-for-3 with a triple and made a pair of great catches. In the sixth inning, he made an all-out diving grab along the left-field line, and an inning later caught a foul pop while navigating the bullpen along the left-field line.

“That’s a tough play when you start dealing with the bullpen mound and the different things that’s down there,” manager Bo Porter said.

What went wrong: The Astros, who were without the top three hitters in their lineup — Dexter Fowler, Jose Altuve and Jason Castro — were held to three hits and didn’t get a hit until Villar led off the sixth with a triple. … C Carlos Corporan had a throwing error in the seventh inning.

Notable: LF Marc Krauss made a great diving catch to rob Matt Carpenter of a hit to start the game. … RHP Anthony Bass and RHP Jorge De Leon each threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. LHP Raul Valdes threw two-third scoreless.

Quotable: “Jerome has really good command, and sometimes you can throw too many,” — Astros manager Bo Porter on starting pitcher Jerome William’s tough outing.

Up next: LHP Dallas Keuchel gets another shot to win a spot in the rotation when the Astros face the Braves at 5:05 p.m. CT Monday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Keuchel got off to a nice start this spring with three consecutive scoreless outings before getting rocked for 13 hits and seven runs March 18 against the Marlins in Jupiter. He’s battling with Jerome Williams, Brad Peacock and Lucas Harrell, though either one of those pitchers could wind up in the bullpen as well.

Injuries: RHP Alex White (recovering from biceps tendinitis surgery), RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery), RHP Peter Moylan (UCL tear).

Links of the day:

Astros to open the season without a set closer

Former first-round Draft pick Jio Mier hopes to rebound in 2014

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

Day 2: Youth is served at Astros camp

As positions players continue to trickle in to Astros camp, the club welcomed former No. 1 overall Draft pick Carlos Correa into the fold on Monday. Correa showed up two days ahead of the reporting date for position players and took batting practice with a large group of players.

“It feels great,” Correa said. “It’s a whole new experience for me, being out here with these kinds of players in big league camp. It’s a really good experience for me, something unbelievable.”

Correa joins fellow former No. 1 overall pick – pitcher Mark Appel, who was taken with the top stop last year – and top prospects George Springer and Mike Foltynewicz in camp this year. It’s the first Major League camp for all but Springer.

“They get an opportunity to participate in Major League Spring Training and get around Major League players that have experience, who have been productive at this level,” manager Bo Porter said. “I actually think it can only speed up their learning curve to be around veteran guys who have done the job in which one day they aspire to do.”

Among the other position players showing up at camp Monday were outfielder L.J. Hoes and designated hitter Chris Carter.

Check out Astros.com later today for more information on these items:

  • RHP Alex White threw his third session of live batting practice since undergoing Tommy John surgery nearly a year.
  • RHP Jesse Crain gave an update on where stands following biceps tendon surgery in October.
  • OF Delino DeShields was all smiles Monday, one day after his younger sister, Diamond, scored 38 points for the University of North Carolina in a win over North Carolina State.

Now the day in pictures:

0217post 006

Dallas Keuchel

0217post 009

Pitching coach Brent Strom watches Peter Moylan

0217post 012

Brett Oberholtzer

0217post 014

Carlos Correa

0217post 016

Bo Porter signs autographs

0217post 017

Alex White throws live BP

0217post 020

Carlos Correa

0217post 026

Jose Altuve

0217post 028

Brett Wallace

0217post 032

1B coach Tarrik Brock and Dexter Fowler

0217post 033

George Springer

0217post 035

Carlos Correa

0217post 038

Bo Porter jokes with George Springer

 

Game 27: Humber pitches well, Ankiel provides punch

What happened: Philip Humber allowed only three hits — all of them solo homers — in six innings and didn’t walk a batter, and Rick Ankiel hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Craig Kimbrel in the Astros’ 3-2 loss to the Braves on Saturday afternoon at Champions Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: The signing of OF Rick Ankiel could pay off for the Astros. Ankiel, a non-roster invitee, had the only two hits the Astros collected against Atlanta with a seventh-inning double and his ninth-inning, two-run homer. Ankiel appears destined to start for the Astros on Opening Day and is hitting .395 with three homers and six RBIs this spring in 38 at-bats.

“Rick Ankiel is a professional Major League Baseball player that has played at a high level in this league, played on a World Series championship team and knows how to play the game,” manager Bo Porter said. “He has a great work habits, he is a good teammate. All the things we were looking for, we found in Ankiel and he’s been everything we could have imagined he could be.”

What we learned II: If IF Brandon Laird doesn’t make the team, he’ll be one of the absolute last guys to get cut. Laird, who can play first and third base, is battling for a backup infield spot and has made a good impression with the bat, hitting .310 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 47 at-bats.

“He’s in a good spot and he’s in a good spot because he’s put himself in a good spot,” Porter said. “He’s played well in different scenarios and situations we’ve put him in, and he’s gotten some big hits, some big RBIs. Again, it’s a guy we are definitely considering as far as the 25-man roster goes.”

What else: RHPs Josh Fields and Rhiner Cruz each had 1-2-3 innings in relief of Humber.

What went wrong: The Astros were held to only two hits.

What they said: “The first two I was being aggressive and didn’t throw the ball where I wanted to, but the last one it was a 3-1 count and I decide I wasn’t going to walk the guy. I felt the wind blowing in behind me and I said, ‘Well, maybe the wind will hold it up if he gets it.’ He hit it well enough to get it out of here.” — Astros RHP Philip Humber on the three homers he allowed.

What’s next: Minor League RHP David Martinez will start for the Astros on Sunday against the Miami Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium. The Astros are trying to line up their starting pitching for the start of the regular season, but a bevy of relievers are expected to get some work in as well. Martinez was 9-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) at Class A Lancaster last year.

Who’s injured: Nobody.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

 

Game 26: Norris looks sharp in win over Cards

What happened: Right-hander Bud Norris threw six scoreless innings in his final Grapefruit League start of 2013, and Rick Ankiel pushed home the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against his former team to lead the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Bud Norris is ready for Opening Day. Norris fired 84 pitches against the Cardinals and made a few mechanical adjustments as he went along, but his next major test will come when he faces the Rangers on March 31. Norris will throw a few innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday — his last appearance before the start of the season.

“Bud was outstanding,” manager Bo Porter said. “I mentioned it the last start that his secondary stuff really started to look sharp and his slider started to have some really good depth to it. He had some great changeups today. He fell behind in the count and was able to get back in the count with his changeup. Just a tremendous job of attacking the zone, working fast. The pace was great.”

What we learned II: RHP Chia-Jen Lo may have pitched his way onto the club. The Taiwanese reliever worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save to continue his strong showing this spring. Lo has appeared in nine games and allowed seven hits and two runs and struck out eight batters in 8 2/3 innings (2.08 ERA).

“Lo’s done a great job,” Porter said. “It’s an explosive fastball. He has command of three pitches he can throw any time in the count and a fastball that will get back on you.”

What else: 2B Jose Altuve went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored to up his spring average to .370. … Chris Carter saw time at DH and went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. … RHP Jose Veras and LHP Xavier Cedeno both made their returns from the World Baseball Classic. Veras allowed one hit and two runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Cedeno recorded one out. … RHP Jose Valdez threw a scoreless inning to lower his spring ERA to 1.93. … The Astros didn’t commit an error for the second game in a row. … LHP Erik Bedard threw 70 pitches in four innings in a Minor League game against Atlanta.

What went wrong: Veras was rusty in his first Grapefruit League action since March 1, but that’s no cause for alarm. CF Justin Maxwell (0-for-4), 1B Brandon Laird (0-for-4) and 3B Matt Dominguez (0-for-3) combined to go 0-for-11 as the Astros’ red-hot offense was cooled off by the Cardinals.

What they said: “You always think you do, but that’s their decision. I’ll just wait until they tell me and go from there.” — LHP Erik Bedard when asked if he thought he’d done enough to make the team.

What’s next: RHP Philip Humber, who earlier this week learned he had secured a spot as the No. 3 starter in the Astros rotation, will start for the Astros when they make their first trip to Disney to face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Humber will make his Astros regular-season debut April 3 against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (leg contusion) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

Game 25: Astros club 4 homers to back pitching

What happened: The Astros slugged four homers, including two by backup catcher Carlos Corporan, and got solid pitching from Lucas Harrell, Hector Ambriz and Brad Peacock to beat the Tigers, 7-2, on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: C Carlos Corporan is feeling as good as he has all spring at the plate, and he might even be swinging the best bat of his career. The switch-hitting backup backstop blasted two homers — one off Justin Verlander and the other off Al Albuquerque.

“You can mature in the game and you get to know your swing and you learn,” Corporan said. “You can learn what the pitcher is trying to do. My swing has always been there and now I have more experience and figured out what they’re trying to do to me. I feel more mature.”

What we learned II: The Astros are going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to deciding the final two spots in the rotation. The club’s off-season mission of adding starting pitching depth worked, and with a week to go in camp, RHPs Brad Peacock, Alex White and Edgar Gonzalez and LHP Erik Bedard are all pitching well down the wire. Peacock worked three scoreless innings in relief Thursday.

“I felt good,” he said. “I was getting in better counts and I threw strikes. That’s all I wanted to accomplish, and that’s what I did. I threw good tonight, and hopefully I opened some eyes.”

What else: IF Brandon Laird was thrown into the game when Brett Wallace left with a pinched nerve in his neck, and he smacked his fifth homer of the spring to tie C Jason Castro for the team lead. … 3B Matt Dominguez continues to swing a good bat this spring, going 2-for-4 with a homer to improve his batting average to .314. … The Astros turned double plays in the second and sixth innings. … RF Rick Ankiel showed off his arm, throwing out a runner at third base in the fifth inning. … The Astros didn’t make an error.

What went wrong: Other than Wallace leaving with a mild injury, it was a near flawless night for the Astros.

What they said: “We don’t have a good team on paper, but on talent I think we have a really, really good team. We have a lot of people who can change the game with one swing. That’s going to be my goal this year, trying to keep it two or three runs per game and I know someone is going to turn on one. That’s the big difference between this year and last year.” — Astros backup C Carlos Corporan.

What’s next: RHP Bud Norris, who was named as the club’s Opening Day starter on Wednesday, gets the start for the Astros when they face the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. Friday at Osceola County Stadium. RHP Jose Veras, who just helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to get back on the mound for the Astros for the first time since March 1.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day. … 1B Brett Wallace (pinched nerve in neck/upper back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (bruised shin) took a liner off his shin during a Triple-A game on Thursday and is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day:

The day in photos:

0321 001

Steve Sparks shows off his grip to Tony DeFrancesco, perhaps campaigning to eat up some innings this year in Oklahoma City

0321 006

Bo Porter throws BP

0321 007

Rick Ankiel makes good contact. Good form, too

0321 008

Justin Maxwell, John Mallee and Chris Carter

0321 010

Baseball flying towards Jose Altuve

Game 24: White helps his rotation cause

What happened: Relief pitcher Kevin Chapman, pitching on the one-year anniversary of his trade to Houston, allowed four runs and five hits in two-thirds of an inning of work in the seventh as the Mets rallied to beat the Astros, 7-5, at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Bud Norris is the Opening Day starter. It certainly came as no surprise that the Astros would tab Norris to start March 31 against the Rangers considering his stature on the team and the fact he’d make more starts at home in the first half of the season than he would if he was in the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

“I think he’s earned it,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “His last outing was very good, and he’s proven he can pitch at Minute Maid and pitch in big games, and he’s been around this organization. He deserves to be our Opening Day starter, and I think everybody in the organization would support that. I would hope he goes out and has a game that I know he’s capable of having and gives us a ‘W’ on that opening night.”

What we learned II: RHP Alex White helped himself Wednesday in the eyes of manager Bo Porter. White went 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three runs while throwing 68 pitches against the Mets.

“He helped himself. He attacked the zone and made some really good quality pitches,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We did have a conversation, you get two outs and nobody on base, you want to attack that next hitter and if you think a guy’s a good fastball hitter, he’s a much better fastball hitter at 3-2.”

What else: LF Chris Carter went 0-for-2 with two walks and two strikeouts. … RF J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4. … 3B Jose Martinez, who made a fielding error early in the game, made a spectacular diving stop and threw out a runner later in the game. … RHP Josh Fields had a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 3.52. … RHP Brad Peacock was supposed to follow White to the mound, but the threat of rain forced Porter to push him back to Thursday.

What went wrong: Other than a rough outing by Chapman and a bad error by Jose Martinez, not much to focus on.

What they said: “I’m excited to go out there and give this team every opportunity to go out there and win, and very excited to do it in Houston on a nationally televised game.” — Astros RHP Bud Norris on his Opening Day nod.

What’s next: RHP Lucas Harrell, who found out on Wednesday he will start the second game of the season for the Astros, will start for the Astros when they face the Tigers at 5:05 p.m. CT in Lakeland, Fla., on Thursday. Harrell, who has allowed three earned runs 13 innings this spring, will start the Astros’ second game of the season, April 2 against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Brad Peacock will also pitch in the game.

Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back) is day-to-day.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: Here’s the full story of Bud Norris being named Opening Day starter. Astros notebook has plenty of new information, including Jose Altuve’s take on batting leadoff, Jeff Luhnow on how options could affect roster construction, Jordan Lyles thoughts on being optioned to Triple-A and so much more. Check it soon at Astros.com

The day in photos

0320 001

Rick Ankiel and Dave Trembley

0320 002

Jose Altuve

0320 003

High knees for Trevor Crowe, Brandon Laird and J.D. Martinez

0320 004

Jake Elmore appears to clean his glasses on Rick Ankiel’s jersey

0320 005

Jason Catro leads morning stretch

Game 15: Astros held to one hit in loss to Phils

What happened: SS Tyler Greene‘s double to start the game against Phillies starter Cole Hamels was the only hit the Astros managed en route to losing, 7-1, to the Phillies at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: RHP Brad Peacock is working on a sinker. Peacock, who threw three scoreless innings, said people have told him all his life he needed to add a two-seamer, and this year he’s going through with it. He says it’s been difficult, but he knows that adding that to his four-seam, sinker, changeup and curveball will be beneficial.

“I’ve always tried it and it just didn’t do anything,” he said. “This year, I talked to some of the coaches and what they do when they throw a sinker and I took that advice. It’s working good. Hopefully I can keep it going.”

What else: RHP Hector Ambriz retired the only batter he faced in his second outing of the spring.

What went wrong: RHP Jarred Cosart scuffled against his former team, allowing three hits and four runs and one walk in 1 2/3 innings while struggling with control. Cosart dusted Phillies hitter Josh Fields with a pitch, nearly emptying the benches. … SS Jonathan Villar made an error at shortstop.

What they said: “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to good pitching. Guys put some good swings on some balls and hit some balls hard, but the plays were made by the Phillies and some days you have days like this.” — Astros manager Bo Porter after his team was held to one-hit.

What’s next: The Astros are off Monday and will return to action Tuesday when RHP Bud Norris starts against the Miami Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT at Jupiter, Fla. Norris, a candidate to start on Opening Day, threw four innings in a simulated game on Monday. This will be his first appearances in a Grapefruit League game since March 1.

Who’s injured: RHP Lucas Harrell (right groin strain) is improving and listed as day-to-day. … LHP Erik Bedard (right glute strain) threw in the bullpen on Saturday and should be close to game action. … IF Jake Elmore (left oblique strain) is day-to-day

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: The Astros notebook has more on Delino DeShields Jr. and George Springer being among the team’s first cuts, as well as reaction to the Mexico-Canada brawl in the World Baseball Classic, Porter talking about how to respect the game and a look at how the Astros came to contract agreements with all 40 players on their roster.

The day in photos:

0310 003

Bo Porter poses with kids

0310 010

Jordan Lyles works on mechanics with Dennis Martinez

0310 014

Telvin Nash

0310 015

Vincent Velasquez

0310 025

Brian Holmes

0310 027

Carlos Correa

0310 030

Travis Ballew was nasty

0310 031

Carlos Correa

0310 033

Carlos Correa

Game 13: Humber looks sharp in win over Nats

What happened: RHP Philip Humber threw four strong innings, and C Jason Castro bounced a two-run single into right field to score a pair of runs in the eighth inning to break a tie and send the Astros a 4-2 win over the Nationals on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

What we learned: Humber has impeccable control of his fastball right now. He is still throwing mostly fastballs, and he was able to spot it so well against the Nats that he breezed through four innings.

“I threw my fastball where I wanted to throw it,” he said. “I threw four-seamers, two-seamers, and I think that helped things a little bit. When the [spring] season comes, the hitters are behind the pitchers for the most part. I’m going to have to throw more off-speed stuff than I did today [eventually]. But that’s definitely a good sign. That’s the first thing to come and usually everything else follows that.”

What we learned II: The Astros are better when they play at a quicker pace. Astros manager Bo Porter spoke to his pitchers and catchers on Thursday morning about the importance of working quicker, which he says won’t allow the defensive players to get lackadaisical on the infield.

“It’s something that we did address,” Porter said. “When you start to get deep counts and the pitchers are working slow, the defense gets on its heels a little bit. We reminded our guys, you want the plays made behind you, you need to get that ball, you need to go, you need to keep everybody on their toes and ready to go. The pitcher’s today did a great job with that, and Humber set the tone and every guy that came behind him, followed him.”

What else: OF Rick Ankiel‘s stolen bases in the eight inning set the stage for Castro’s game-winning hit. Not only did it get Ankiel into scoring position, but it forced the Nats bring the infield in with runners at second and third, and Castro bounced a hit over the infielder’s head. … OF Fernando Martinez went 2-for-2 with a double. … Only two of the Astros’ 11 hits were for extra bases. … OF J.D. Martinez, whose 22 at-bats this spring are tied for second-highest on the team, is hitting .364 (8-for-22).

What went wrong: The Astros only made one error, and it came when 1B Carlos Pena lost a high chopper in the sun and closed his glove either too early or too soon. … The Astros were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

What they said: “I was thinking that Bo was coming out to talk to me and he said, ‘Good job, you’re done,’” — Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel on being removed from the game after two innings.

What’s next: RHP Jordan Lyles will start for the Astros when they face the Atlanta Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT at Osceola County Stadium. RHPs John Ely, Ross Seaton, Hector Ambriz and LHP Wesley Wright are also scheduled to pitch.

Who’s injured: LHP Erik Bedard (strained glute) is day-to-day). … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) is out until April.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: You must read this feature on OF Brandon Barnes, whose tattoos reveal a lot about his life. The Astros notebook features owner Jim Crane talking about TV negotiations, Porter discussing the early-season rotation and LHP Erik Bedard talking about his injury.

The day in photos:

0307 005

Nolan Fontana ran the bases in big league camp

0307 007

Wesley Wright steps on first base following flip from Marc Krauss

0307 009

Trainer Nate Lucero and former first-round pick Jio Mier share a laugh

0307 012

Rene Garcia prepares to bunt

0307 019

Jake Goebbert

0307 022

Brett Oberholtzer pitches with Doug Brocail watching

0307 025

Hitting coach John Mallee and Carlos Pena

0307 026

Brett Wallace

0307 028

Rick Ankiel

0307 031

New TV announcers Alan Asbhy and Geoff Blum await pregame show

Game 11: Porter unhappy after loss to the Tigers

What happened: The Astros played their poorest game of the spring, striking out 15 times, issuing nine walks and committing a pair of fielding errors in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers on Monday afternoon (boxscore).

What we learned: Being able to throw hard is great, but control remains the key Astros prospect Jarred Cosart made his first spring start and struggled with his control, allowing four hits, three runs and four walks. He threw only 23 of his 48 pitches for strikes and admitted he was working too fast.

“I wanted to establish the fastball early and they had the scouting reports that I’m a fastball guy and they were attacking from the start of the game,” Cosart said. “I was up in the zone and you just can’t do that with Major League hitters. You have to put them away when you get ahead.”

What we learned II: CF Justin Maxwell has some serious raw power. Well, we actually already knew this based on his several tape-measure shots from a year ago, but his first home run of the spring — a mammoth two-run blast to left field — in the sixth inning was admired by all.

“I don’t try to hit home runs, especially in Spring Training,” Maxwell said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and just trying to find my swing right now and get better timing. … That’s just the thing. Any time I’ve tried to hit a homer I foul it off or don’t make contact, so depending on the game situation I try to hit the ball hard. If I barrel it, I have a good chance to have a positive result.”

What else: RHP Alex White also struggled with his control, allowing four hits, three runs (two earned) and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. … Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque struck out Chris Carter, George Springer and Nate Freiman in succession in the eighth inning. … RHPs Josh Zeid and Josh Fields each threw a scoreless innings, and LHP Kevin Chapman threw 1 1/3 scoreless with two strikeouts.

What went wrong: Plenty. Let’s start with the on the mound, where Astros pitchers labored most of the game and wound up walking nine batters. Houston hurlers threw only seven first-pitch strikes and worked repeatedly into deep counts. Astros manager Bo Porter said the issue would be addressed, but the thing that really had Porter fired up was the defense. A fielding error by Jonathan Villar at short didn’t hurt the club, but Jake Elmore‘s fielding error at second allowed an unearned run to score.

The Astros have committed 15 errors in 11 games.

“We’ve got to catch the ball,” Porter said. “We’ve come back from every deficit we’ve had this entire spring. Offensively, we’re scoring runs, but at the same time we’ve got to make it a little bit easier on our pitching staff to catch the ball when it’s hit to us, and our pitchers got to do a better job of pitching ahead in the count and limiting some of those deep counts.”

What they said: “This is the thing: either you make the plays or we’re going to find someone else who’s going to make them. That’s not hard to figure out,” — Astros manager Bo Porter on the team’s defense.

What’s next: Porter, who spent the previous two years as third base coach of the Nationals, returns to Viera, Fla., on Tuesday when the Astros play the Washington Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT at Space Coast Stadium. RHP Lucas Harrell, the team’s Pitcher of the Year in 2012, will be making this third start and should be able to be stretched to four innings.

Who’s injured: RHP Hector Ambriz (ankle) is scheduled to make his first appearance in a spring game Tuesday. … C Max Stassi (sports hernia surgery) is out six to eight weeks.

Tweet of the day:

Links of the day: All kinds of good stuff in the Astros notebook: More on the meeting between George Springer and Torii Hunter, when the first round of roster cuts could happen, Mike Foltynewicz’s thoughts on the upcoming season and Tony DeFrancesco enjoying role with club after managing final 41 games last year.

The day in photos (light day today):

0304 003

Rick Ankiel, Trevor Crowe and Matt Dominguez

0304 007

John Mallee and Carlos Pena

0304 013

Astros catchers past and present: Jason Castro and Alan Ashby

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers