In another meaningless victory, the Astros starting pitching staff nonetheless dazzled again in Spring Training action. Prior to today, the six most likely starting pitchers had gone 22.2 innings without allowing a run.
Against the Marlins Luis Garcia added 3.2 more scoreless innings to the tally while striking out six, including the first three Marlins he faced. Of course, it’s just Spring Training, but keep in mind that starting pitchers have been facing front-line starting hitters for the most part.
No, Astros starters will not end the 2022 season with a 0.00 ERA, but this early success is cause for some hope for success from this critical facet of the overall team effort.
Another good harbinger: A lead-off homer from Jose Altuve. And the other run came in the sixth inning from a Jeremy Pena double scoring Yuli Gurriel, who also doubled and is hitting .375 in the Spring. The Marlins were playing the outfield in on Pena. He thanked them by hitting it over their heads. Let’s hope he thus continues to confound opposing teams’ scouting reports.
More bad news on the relief pitching front. Pedro Baez, who the Astros will owe over $6 million this year, pitched 1.1 innings. The box score says no runs, but the hurler who threw 94 MPH two years ago with the Dodgers was clocked between 87-89 MPH today, similar to his last Spring outing.
I’ll leave it to you the reader to decide if Baez can have long-term success with that kind of velocity in real games.
But the Astros are 8-4 this Spring after starting Spring Training 0 -4. It seems that after they started playing their starters they began to win. Amazing.
The Astros will play the Cardinals tomorrow at 5:05 CDT. Framber Valdez will get his last warm-up before his start against Shohei Ohtani Thursday on opening day.
The game will be televised on ATT Sportsnet-SW.