It is still early in Spring Training, but the Houston Astros are playing some good baseball. They have a record of five wins, two losses, and two ties. So far this spring, the bats have been at work for the Astros. It has been a bit of a pleasant surprise up to this point. They lead all American League teams in the Grapefruit League with 15 home runs. The fact that pitchers haven’t really been working on their breaking pitches could be a big factor in that. But, as an Astros fan, it is really encouraging to see the Astros hitters getting their pitches, and taking advantage. That is something they didn’t do a lot of last season, and hopefully they can continue to do it.
For the most part, the pitching has also been better for the Astros this spring. In fact, Dallas Keuchel had a pretty nice outing today. Not to mention, Eric Bedard has been a bit of a pleasant surprise thus far. Houston Astros pitching coach, Doug Brocail, said the pitchers would be handled much differently this season from last. Brocail went on to say that the Astros wouldn’t use five or six pitchers a game this season like they did much of last season. He also said that the bullpen hit a wall last season because of all the work they did last year and that is true. So far, I like the direction in which this team is heading, but there is one aspect of this team that still needs work.
I am sure the Astros have worked on defensive fundamentals during Spring Training. Every team does. But, especially a young, rebuilding team like the Astros.
That is something that is still troubling me about the Astros. Their defense has had good games this spring, but the past few games, they have been pretty bad. The Astros gave up eight runs to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, six of those runs were unearned. Also, today (Saturday), the Astros had four errors against the Atlanta Braves that led to three unearned runs. Now neither of these two examples led to losses for the Astros, but that doesn’t really matter this early in Spring Training. I need to see the Astros make improvements on the defensive side of the game. I am sure they will. It is still early, but the defense definitely needs to improve.