The Astros improved their spring record to 9-7 with a 7-4 win over the Marlins. The Astros faced what appears to be a lineup close to the Marlins' opening day batting order. For the first time, pitchers batted in this game, as the Astros prepare for the final season in the NL.
J.D. Martinez, Brett Wallace, and Chris Johnson are the hitting heroes in this game. Wallace had the big hit, with a 3 run HR that was mammoth in distance. Martinez knocked in 3 runs with a 2 for 4 day. Johnson was 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI. The Astros garnered 3 walks and 11 strike outs in this game, with Altuve, Wallace, and Powell drawing the free passes. The Astros' bats started off fast and knocked out Marlins' starter Anibal Sanchez in the 3d inning.
Kyle Weiland started this game, and overall it was a reasonably good effort. The young pitcher who was acquired in the Melancon trade talled 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 0 HR in 3 innings pitched. Weiland got out of the first two innings with no score, relying on the DP pitch in each instance. He stretched his spring scoreless streak to 10 innings at the end of the 2d inning. Weiland got his first hit as a NL batter in the top of the 3d inning, and ran the bases, eventually scoring a run. We don't know if this could have affected his pitching in the bottom of the inning, but he struggled with two bases loaded situations (after getting 2 out) in the bottom of the 3d inning, yielding 2 runs. Weiland faced tough hitters with runners on base and eventually ended the inning with a big strike out. Based on what I could gather, Weiland featured a good sinker and some nice breaking sliders and curveballs. Weiland seemed to be using the curveball more than he had in the past, and occasionally had difficulty controlling it, but also used it to get swings and misses.
Harrell and Wright were the only other Astros' pitchers to give up runs---they allowed a run each. Valdez, Escalona, and Cruz each had good outings, with the Rule 5er Cruz allowing no hits. In summary, it was nice effort on the relief pitcher side.
Not much to report, other than an outfield assist by J.D. Martinez, throwing out Rowand at the plate.