Houston Astros left fielder J.D. Martinez leads off base in the fourth inning of a spring match against the New York Yankees. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The Astros moved their spring record back into the win column, and the team is now 13-12. The Astros faced a pretty good Marlins lineup and a starting pitcher, Carlos Zambrano, who has been tough on the Astros over the years. The only bad news from this game is that shortstop Jed Lowrie injured his thumb in a pick off play on the base path. The X-Ray was negative; we will wait and see how long this injury takes to heal.
The Astros scored 6 runs on 11 hits and 7 BB---yes, that's seven walks. I point this out for two reasons: (1) In prior seasons, the words "Astros" and "walks" didn't fit in the same sentence, unless you were talking about the Astros' pitching; and (2) the Astros are learning that this walking stuff can help you score runs. Carlos Lee had three walks, and Jose Altuve--who has been working on his plate patience--had two walks. Bogusevic and Downs had big 2 out RBIs. Downs and Chris Johnson had doubles. Players with multi-hit games: Marwin Gonzalez and Chris Johnson. Buck and Johnson raised their batting averages to .344 and .340, respectively.
Lucas Harrell had a fine performance as the starter, allowing 1 unearned run and 3 hits in 5 innings. This was one of the better, if not best, pitching performances of the spring, and it may put him back into the starting rotation conversation. if he can't win a starting position, this performance helps his case for the bullpen. His' ERA stands at 2.16. Harrell is not overpowering, but his sinker was working well in this game. He had no Ks, but his ground out to fly out ratio was 11-4. Wesley Wright and David Carpenter ran into some resistance, each allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Brett Myers slammed the door like a real closer.
The Astros had a bad inning in the field, which resulted in two of the Marlins' three runs. First, Chris Johnson had a grounder go off his glove for an infield hit that could have been ruled an error. Then Bogusevic had an error in RF, dropping the ball and allowing 2 runs to score. The Astros were sharp on turning two DPs though.