Sunday Houston Astro Games Recap

March 24, 2012; Bradenton, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (15) reaches on an error in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Astros had a split squad today with one half playing at the Atlanta Braves and the other at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first game to finish was the game with Atlanta which was a 11-1 stinker in the Braves favor. The Astros had the lead against the Pirates when the first one finished, but allowed the Bucs to tie it in the ninth and go ahead with a two run 10th. The Astros ended up losing that one 7-9 and dropping back to .500 in Grapefruit league action. Because these were splits squad games we got to see some players we don't normal do. Jarred Cosart, Jake Goebbert are two of the Minor Leaguers who contributed something positive on Sunday.

Offense

Vs Atlanta: One stinking run provided by Matt Downs, that's it. Downs would finish the day 1-4. Only two players reached base multiple times, Jake Goebbert and Marwin Gonzalez. Goebbert was 2-2 and Gonzalez, still fighting for a opening day roster spot, was 1-2 with two walks. Gonzalez is tied for second on that team in walks with four. Overall the offense collected six hits and two walks.

Vs Pittsburgh: Overall the offense had 10 hits and six walks. Brian Bogusevic easily had the best day with two hits, two walks and a run scored. Jose Altuve was the only other batter to reach base multiple times with a hit and, yes, a walk. J.B. Shuck drove in three runs with a triple and both Jed Lowrie and Chris Snyder homered for the Astros.

Pitching

Vs Atlanta: This may of not been Zach Duke's make or break start in the mind of Brad Mills, but he may of essentially knocked himself out of the running for that fifth rotation spot. The only way I see him being the fifth start is if Jeff Luhnow decides both Kyle Weiland and Jordan Lyles need more time in the minors. Duke has not been good this Spring allowing 8 earned runs on 17 hits and 11 innings excluding this game. He more than doubled his earned run total with 10 Sunday on eight hits and a walk.

David Carpenter would allow the only other run in the game in the eighth. Kirk Clark finished off the fourth for Duke with a perfect .2 innings. Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez and Wesley Wright also contributed shutout ball. It's worth noting that Lopez pitched, a perfect inning with two strikeouts, for the first time since dealing with some forearm tightness

Vs Pittsburgh: J.A. Happ started the game and went five innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and three walks. Cosart followed Happ and entered the game by striking out the side. His success didn't continue, through 3.1 innings he allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk. He did have five strikeouts though so that's encouraging. Fernando Abad helped Cosart get out of the ninth allowing only one run with a perfect .2 innings.

Defense

Vs Atlanta: No errors and I lost interest after it was 0-7 in the third inning.

Vs Pittsburgh: No errors again, but in the ninth it sounded like one of the Astros youngsters misplayed a ball that allowed the Pirates to tie the game. There was also a bit of a discussion on twitter started by Alyson Footer in regards to Brian Bogusevic's arm and the Astros not having an arm like that since Richard Hidalgo.

Monday

12:05 CDT vs Washington Nationals. Radio: KTRH 790.

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