Game recap: Astros down Braves 7-5 in first spring game

Dexter Fowler drove in two of the Astros' seven runs - Kevin C. Cox

We're now a half hour from game time; it's 4:33 PM, central time.

Wait, what?

Yes indeed. You see, though you're reading this post-game, the majority of this post is being written before the first pitch is even thrown. Sure, some of the little facts and tidbits can only be added later, after they, you know, happen, but they're not the point.

Who got a hit or who struck out how many batters in a single spring training game is fairly meaningless. Russ Ortiz, Rick White, Jason Smith...remember them? Probably not; they had great spring training showings and made the Astros out of camp at different points in the last six years or so, but then they all bombed in the regular season.

Spring training stats, by and large, are meaningless, for reasons others have said better than I can; just a quick Google search will tell you that that's the common opinion. And yet, we care. We count down the days, the very hours, for this meaningless, sloppy game where no one plays for more than two or three innings in front of a crowd of maybe a couple thousand, where the scorecard at the end looks like is such a mess it's hard to read, and where the players and umpires themselves refuse to play more than one extra inning if needed before saying "eh, who cares? Call it a tie."

The first game of spring training is a rebirth. The ice is shaken off, the cold and bitter winter snow has started to melt (well, figuratively; this is a Houston blog, after all). After five months of proverbial staring out the window, the wait is over. Ring the bells and sound off! Baseball is back. We're only about a week or so away for wanting spring training to hurry up and end already, but right now, we're on top of the world.

And there's something beautiful about spring training games in their own right. They don't "matter," and the numbers don't "matter," but in a way, it can be liberating. We don't have to worry about who does what or how often or how we can extrapolate that into a projection...we can just enjoy baseball, on a simple level, the simple level we did as children.

It didn't "matter" that Jose Altuve smashed one of the first pitches he's seen into right field, or that Dexter Fowler drove in two runs with a single in his first hit as an Astro (though it sure was exciting). It doesn't matter that Harrell walked three guys in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded (though it sure was frustrating). A few weeks from now, much less a few months, you won't remember that Marc Krauss got of to a good start with two hits, or that prospects Carlos Correa, George Springer, Delino DeShields and Jonathan Singleton all saw some action and all contributed in one way or another.

Those things don't mean anything that we can measure or say. They're not indicators of future performance, and they'll be lost in the shuffle as the roster is thinned and Opening Day approaches. What you probably will remember is that you listened, and enjoyed, and chatted online with friends and other TCB members about a real baseball game for the first time in nearly half a year, and hey, the good guys even won to boot. It was just baseball today, and that couldn't have been more right.

Tomorrow's Matchup

The Astros will be on the road again, taking on the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Florida at 12:00 PM central time. Barring a last-minute scratch, Scott Feldman is scheduled to start for Houston and pitch the first two innings.

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