Today was the first March 19 in four years that the Houston Astros had lost a spring training game. What does that say about this year's team? Nothing. The Astros did lose today's game, but fortunately it wasn't a boring loss with two Astros hitting meteors out of the park once again.
Jordan Lyles started the game and like his earlier spring training performances, he gave up a lot of runs, specifically 6 in 3.2 innings. He gave up 10 hits with two of them landing over the outfield fence, one leading to 2 total bases, and 7 ending up as singles. Now is this a performance to be alarmed about? Should we be worried that his ERA on the spring is 17.74? It is true that these stats are quite ugly, but spring training stats as we've already said can be quite meaningless. And ERA is quite meaningless when predicting future performance regardless of spring training stats anyway. We already know that Lyles has been working on his pitches this spring, which is a good thing and helps to explain his seemingly terrible stats. But without any progress stats-wise, his performance today brings up some familiar questions: Was he working on things today? Is he injured? Is he blind? Is he a left-handed pitcher now? It seemed that Lyles was integrating his curveball as well, according to clack:
by clack on Mar 19, 2013 | 1:03 PM up reply rec flag actions
Sparks speculates that Castro didn’t like Lyles’ selection of a curve ball in the zone on a 0-2 count.
And also in addition to the 10 hits he gave up, he made sure to give a hit back to the other team:
by clack on Mar 19, 2013 | 1:05 PM reply rec flag actions
with tie 4-4 game, Lyles hits a batter to load the bases.
Hopefully Jordan can make the most out of his last 2 spring training starts before the season starts. We may never know his true performance on the field today. Only Jordan Lyles and the coaches will know, even if Jon Heyman claims otherwise:
tho, no pitcher is having a worse spring than #astros jordan lyles. he has a 3.38 (whip, not era). 26 hits in 8 innings. oy— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 19, 2013
The lack of camera footage adds to the mystery. One could even ask if Jordan Lyles is a real person. Cause how would we know? What if all the pictures of him are Photoshopped or something?
Aside from the depressing starting pitching news, good tidings are coming out of left field. Chris Carter's defense was reported to be quite solid by Robert Ford and Steve Sparks:
by clack on Mar 19, 2013 | 1:22 PM up reply rec flag actions
Sparks and Ford both commending Carter on his LF play again. After a Bautista 2 run HR, the next hitter had a line drive to LF which they thought would be a double, but Carter got over quickly to hold the runner to a single.
In fact, this is great news! It's good to see him adjusting to LF after not having played at the position much previously.
My favorite news of the day is about another home run hit by a future hall-of-famer. No, no, I'm not talking about Ryan Langerhans! I'm talking about Castro the Astro, born in Castro Valley, Castrofornia. Or maybe that's California? Anyway, one has got to be excited that he's hitting well this spring as well as improving his defense. His ability to block balls has improved from last year according to Bo Porter:
"I got to Spring Training and saw him in batting practice the first couple of days and said, ‘That looks a lot different,’" he said. "You can tell by the way he’s blocking the ball, the way he’s swinging the bat, he’s healthy and has his legs underneath him. He’s doing a great job." - Brian McTaggart
The news about Castro is encouraging given that he was absolutely terrible on defending against errant pitches last year. Hopefully he can evolve and maintain the good play throughout the season.
Among other performances today, Jose Al2ve went 3-4, Chris Carter went 2-3 with a double, Brandon Barnes hit a blast, Matt Dominguez committed an error (I knew his glove wasn't golden), and Chia-jen Lo pitched another scoreless inning. Could Lo pull an Enerio del Rosario and gain a bullpen role? It's quite possible given the current bullpen situation. We will just have to see.