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Game 3 Preview: The Astros Show Their Ace In the Hole. April 9, 2022, 8:07 CDT. Astros @ Angels.

Justin Verlander makes his first appearance since Opening Day, 2020.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Could the first two games of the 2022 season have possibly been better?

No way.

  1. Hanging a loss on Shohei Ohtani for a record-setting 10th straight Opening Day victory
  2. Hitting two bombs against loudmouth Ryan Tepera
  3. Framber Valdez going deep for the win while being nearly unhittable.
  4. The Astros juggernaut rolling over the Angels pitching in Game 2 with 13 runs and 6 homers
  5. 22 hits and 8 homers in two games
  6. Altuve hitting his 22nd career leadoff homer, defiantly trotting the bases in the face of hateful boos from ignorant Angels fans
  7. Two-homer night for Kyle Tucker, his first
  8. Two homers in two nights from Alex Bregman, hitting .500. A consensus key to Astros success, the normally slow-starting Bregman is off to the races.
  9. The Center Field position, a perennial question mark since the departure of George Springer, hitting .500, Chas McCormick and Jose Siri each with two hits. And what about plays like this. Or this.
  10. “Old-man-Brantley” looking like he can hit .300 for another five years, just like the last five years
  11. Yuli Gurriel supplying the Astros future-star pipeline with another “pina.”

And best of all, in my opinion, the three-hit night for our new star shortstop Jeremy Pena. He hit his first career major-league home run while his parents were being interviewed on TV . If you've ever been a baseball parent and that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, then you must be a robot. (How many of these pictures contain bridges)

And the Astros haven’t even flashed their ace in the hole. Two-time Cy Young winner and World Series champion Justin Verlander makes his first trip to the mound since Opening day, 2020. He faces the Angels’ shiny new toy, Noah Syndergaard (Thor), just acquired in free agency from the Mets.

Should be another interesting game, with Verlander matching up against Mike Trout and Ohtani, and Syndergaard having to face an Astros lineup that is just flat dangerous from positions 1-8 in the lineup.

Another pitcher’s duel, like game 1? Or a slugfest, like Game 2?

Gametime is 8:07 and televised on ATT SportsNet-SW.