As to be expected for early spring training contests, the Astros have revealed the good, the bad and the ugly during the first six games, posting a 3-3 mark through Wednesday's shutout loss to the Tigers in which they produced just three hits.
Thumbs up so far?
(c) Associated Press
The Houston pitchers have allowed 3.8 runs a game but the offense has produced 3.5 runs on average. This may be a precursor of what this year's team will be like when the opening bell rings since the pitching staff received a major facelift in the offseason while the offense did not.
Other than Rudy Owens, the starting pitchers looked okay their first time through. Though Lucas Harrell absorbed two losses in his two starts, his last outing was nothing to be ashamed of. Jarred Cosart has been the most impressive but, it must be stressed, this is early spring training and no hard conclusions should be drawn in early March.
The two hitters expected to impact the lineup from AAA, first baseman Jonathan Singleton and outfielder George Springer, have both struggled at the plate. New acquisition Dexter Fowler, however, is playing like a man who wants to prove he can excel away from Coors Field. Meanwhile, first base prospect Japhet Amador has finally made it to camp and is expected to get his first taste of action on Saturday.
While Jason Castro is off to a slow start, backup catchers Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi are waging a spirited fight to see who will get the job behind Castro. Another position battle is shaping up between veteran infielder Cesar Izturis and holdover Marwin Gonzalez for the utility role on the club.
Before an off date on March 11th, the Astros have two visits to play the Washington Nationals, one game visiting the Phillies and home dates with the Mets, Yankees and Blue Jays.