Opening night: Astros’ takeaways


One down and … The Astros are first in the AL West.

Manufacturing runs isn’t exactly how the 2015 blueprint was put together, but Houston took the pitching and defense route for its win on opening night.

Here are some quick takeaways.

1. Maybe Dallas Keuchel is a #1 starter.  For one evening at least, there were few better than Keuchel, who out dueled last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Cory Kluber.

2. Jon who? Maybe Chris Carter will block Jon Singleton. Nothing spectacular, but Carter managd first base just fine thank you. Some nice foot work, couple of scoops and, overall, looking the part.

3. Defense! Defense! Defense! The Astros showed some leather. Colby Rasmus — one of three center fielders in Houston’s outfield — will quickly make fans forget the left field play of Carter and Carlos Lee. What a welcome relief!

4. Hinch resists the book. The book may have called for a pinch hitter for Rasmus in the eighth, but new manager A.J. Hinch showed confidence in his starters all the way and kept the bench on the bench. Rasmus came through with a hit. Moreover, Hinch stayed with Tony Sipp for the entire eighth as the bridge to closer Luke Gregerson. Chad Qualls and Pat Neshek will have to wait for another day!

What were your takeaways from opening night?

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25 comments on “Opening night: Astros’ takeaways

  1. Great game and they actually looked Like a confident, focused, MLB team! They had some good swings that went right at somebody. it was great to see an Astro team where no one had the” deer in the headlight look. 1-0 baby

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  2. OK they won their first game the ladt two years too – but I saw a gumbo of outstanding pitching, very good fielding and situational hitting.
    The situational hitting is something they have lacked – I hope this holds together.

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  3. I like Rasmus’ arm in LF. I’m not going to say he will have an Alex Gorden level impact, but all three outfielders will be tough to run on.

    That stop by Valbuena in the seventh was huge!

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    • Devin, I mentioned on the live blog (thanks Dan!) that the play by Valbuena was Brooks Robinson-like. Few — I mean few — players come close to making that play! Probably saved a run even though he didn’t get the out. As you say: H-U-G-E!

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  4. Would you describe Springer’s hit as clutch? And Marisnick’s sacrifice? Maybe merely described as timely hitting tomorrow, but tonight I’ll call it clutch.

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    • Ummm, clutch maybe, certainly timely. Interesting, the speed guys — Marisnick, Altue, Springer, Rasmus — did all the work tonight. The boppers went pretty silent, though Gattis proved he can flat out stroke the ball!

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    • Carter hit one deep to right center and got robbed on a line drive to the 3B. Gattis ripped at least one. Castro hit a nice one the other way that got picked. They hit the ball pretty well considering this guy was dealing nasty stuff.

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  5. That was a great way to start off the season. Great pitching, good baserunning, perfect defense. and we scored two runs more than the other guys.
    Astros only struck out seven times against one of the best K pitchers in baseball. Last season Kluber struck out 14 in 7 innings against us.
    Tomorrow is an OFF DAY! Do you know what happens on off days?

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  6. Those are the kind of wins, as a fan, you really like. Great pitching, defense and timely hitting all leading to a shutout win. Like everyone else I can’t wait until Wednesday and considering I am a Directv subscriber I finally get to watch the games. That win definitely made me forget I am in Lubbock until Wednesday. 😄

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  7. Couldn’t get the game on the radio, were driving back home from LA. Soooo I had my phone to “see” what they did! Dallas Keuchel didn’t seem to have too many opening day nerves……..14 ground balls were a blessing. Nice to get a win, but the guys who were brought in to HIT THE DANG BALL…….took the night off. I love the first three hitters…..Marisnick is quickly becoming my favorite player!

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    • Becky, Kluber had this pitch that started off 3-4 inches inside to a lefty hitter and it would move right onto the inside corner. Rasmus saw it once or twice in his first two at-bats and was fooled by it. But that third time up Kluber tried it again and Colby hit it like a rope to RF, getting the runner from first to third, where he scored on Marisnick’s SF. The last six guys Kluber faced hit him hard, but they were right at somebody. Nobody was going to hit those two pitchers hard tonight, but we found a way to win.

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    • Becky Becky Becky. Don’t comment like that if you didn’t see the game. Kluber was tough, but our guys rang some strong shots off him. You would appreciate it more after watching. Some really good AB’s.

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  8. Watched tonight and the two games with KC. The team as a group have some hitters. TOR pitchers are going to give us trouble – but what is new. I will be surprised if the starting pitchers hold up, if we are not above .500. No batter looks like he needs to be sent to Corpus right now. I am not ready to declare them playoff bound yet. But pleasantly improved as a team.

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  9. Okay, so maybe this IS a team that can scratch out a couple of runs to beat the other team’s ace. No HRs. No EBHs. No quit.

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  10. On the subject of TOR pitchers, Lester, Samardzija, and Scherzer all lost their expensive debuts. Shields was good, but his team lost. Our talked about trade target, Hamel’s, got shelled. 41 year old Bartolo Colon beat the Nationals. I’ll take my chances with inexpensive Dallas Keuchel while we can. When Rick Porcello gets a 4 yr, $82.5 million extension you know pitching is a commodity with pricing out of touch with reality.

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    • Devin, I’d agree with you if I understand where you’re headed here. The Astros should develop their own aces and use trades and other acquisitions (e.g. Feldman) to pick up middle of the road pitchers less expensively.

      Houston did this well under Hunsicker. Oswalt, Miller, Redding, Shane Reynolds, Freddy Garcia, Carlos Hernandez and, even Brad Lidge and Billy Wagner, who developed as starters, then became relievers.

      Then, it’s much easier to keep your top-line pitchers than having to buy them, if that makes sense.

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