After losing their first four Spring Training games, the Astros won their sixth straight today, taking the Nationals 3-1.
It’s Verlander time again.
Is it possible that after Tommy John surgery Justin Verlander’s best days are ahead of him at age 39? Verlander was impressive as the winning pitcher today, going four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and a walk. He hasn’t allowed a run in three starts this Spring.
Verlander struck out five of the first six hitters he faced, finishing his stint with six Ks.
Jeremy Pena, yeah Correa’s replacement, led the offense with a two-run single in the second that was all the Astros pitching would need to secure the win. Pena is hitting .364 in limited action this Spring.
Jose Altuve and Chas McCormick added two hits each. It was a welcome sight to see probable starting CF McCormick make contact, as he has struck out the majority of his Spring at-bats.
Astros pitching held the Nats scoreless until the ninth inning when Josh James was lucky to hold the Nats to only one run. Brandon Bielak was even luckier in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs, but getting a strikeout and a double play to escape the trouble without allowing a run.
Pedro Baez, acquired last year from the Dodgers but missing almost the whole season, made his first Spring appearance, working around two walks in the sixth inning without allowing a run.
But runnerup for Pitcher of the Day was Ryne Stanek, (and runnerup only because his name isn’t Verlander) who struck out the side in the eighth inning on ten pitches.
The Astros play the Mets tomorrow (5-30) at 5:10 CDT. Jose Urquidy gets his first Spring action.