To preface this game recap, I must say that I did not watch a pitch of this baseball game. I had the chance to watch the OKC Redhawks play in Round Rock tonight, and it's difficult for me to get the Astros games anyway so I'll do my best here. Additionally, I will be referring to the Angles by every location name they have been called over their existence for comedic purposes.
2013 was not a kind year to the Astros unless they were playing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Astros went 10-9 against the Angels, and strangely played better in Anaheim than they did in Houston. The first game of the Anaheim-Houston series was not a positive step toward a second year of competitive baseball against our divisional neighbors from Disneyland-Lucas Harrell didn't fare well in three innings of work, Jerome Williams' second outing as an Astro was unimpressive, and the bats didn't do much.
Harrell, continued to have issues with the longball after giving up 20 home runs to opposing hitters last year; however, when the first homer allowed of the season comes from Mike Trout, can you really feel that bad? If you haven't seen the highlight of Trout's first inning home run, it's worth taking a look at. First, the ball explodes off of his bat. Second, the flight of the ball was disrupted by Minute Maid's wall, and the ball still seemed to be rising. It was quite a loud and long home run, and ESPN's Home Run Tracker measured it as the second-fastest velocity off the bat of the night, just behind Giancarlo Stanton's blast.
Enough drooling over Trout; Jerome Williams, facing the team that employed and paid him money to throw a baseball last season, gave up six runs in 3.2 innings. Josh Hamilton, who dominated Astros pitching last year as he hit six of his 21 home runs against the Stros, continued that trend with a sixth inning shot off of Williams. Rookie Kole Calhoun, who if nothing else made my fantasy team look good with his seventh inning homer.
The Astros offense was pretty stagnant for a second straight night, although there were some players out of action. Dexter Fowler's is not invincible as it turns out, as his immune system betrayed him from playing tonight. More concerning was Jason Castro's absence after being hit by a pitch twice in the series finale against the Yankees. Though Castro's bat is imperative to this Astros lineup, it's better to be on the safe side early on and let him fully heal.
Hitters struck out a whopping 15 times total, though they did combine for seven walks, a positive trend in these first four games. Alex Presley, Robbie Grossman and Marc Krauss all struck out three times apiece. Grossman and Krauss have started out slow at the plate, and Presley still hasn't shown much after starting a third game in a row. Personally, I'm a bit puzzled at the allocation of playing time between Presley and L.J. Hoes. Presley can hit righties and he's a perfectly capable bench outfielder, but I would prefer to see Hoes get the majority of time while he still can. Once King George (Springer) gets called up, Hoes won't start regularly anyway, so we might as well see what he can do at the major league level.
One bright spot for the Astros tonight was the debut of Anthony Bass out of the bullpen. Bass pitched very well in spring training and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings tonight. I could see him being a major contributor to the Astros bullpen this season.
If you were stuck watching this game on Friday, know that the OKC game was pretty weak itself so my Friday night of baseball didn't end any better. The Redhwaks offense managed a few singles and might not have even gotten a runner past second base.
Not a great start to the season against the California Angels. Dallas Keuchel faces off against Tyler Skaggs tomorrow night. Keuchel, a guy projected for some positive regression this season, has pitched pretty well at home in his career so we'll see if he can start his 2014 campaign off strong.