This will probably be the only time I'm happy the Astros still weren't in the National League, because I'm glad the Astros don't have to face the Nationals on a regular basis this season. A rotation starring Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Doug FIster, and newest addition Max Scherzer is nothing to mess around with. Houston has faced Washington in four of it's last seven Spring Training games. The Astros are 1-2-1 in those games, but like many things in Spring Training the record isn't important. What is important is the Nats' pitching staff has allowed two earned runs over 15.1 inning this spring against the Astros. Scherzer alone has given up just one run over nine innings. Yes the rosters vary in quality game to game and these games amount to practice. But you have to start somewhere and why not start off well?
As previously mentioned, Max Scherzer was in control again against the Astros today - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K. Jason Castro accounted for the Astros' only run with a solo home run in the fourth.
Samuel Deduno started for the Astros on Friday, coming into the game he had given up just one run over eight innings this spring. The Nats hung four runs on Deduno in the first as a result of three walks, two singles, a double, and a sac fly.
Jake Buchanan relieved Deduno in the third, he would give up one run over two innings. Bryce Harper blasted a solo home run in the fourth off Buchanan. Chad Qualls followed up with a scoreless fifth inning.
George Springer lead off the Astros' six inning with a single, Luis Valbuena allowed Springer to trot home with his second home run of the spring. In the eighth, the Astros loaded the bases on Heath Bell. Marwin Gonzalez and Max Stassi added two more runs with a single and a sac fly.
Asher Wojciechowski gave up his first run of the Spring in 12 innings on a Kila Ka'aihue home run. Wojo struck out two and walked on in the game. Kevin Chapman allowed one run in one inning of work after allowing a leadoff walk and a double to Ka'aihue.
The Astros play the Yankees in Tampa at 12:05 PM CT on Saturday.