This is the ultimate YIE (Yes, It’s Early) post. The Astros have played 4 whole games and have not even gone through the rotation once. If this were a 26.2-mile marathon, the team would be just past the half-mile marker. But after many months of speculative writing, it is undoubtedly fun to finally write about the results of real games. So what did we glean from the first series as the Astros beat the Angels three out of four?
- The big stage is not too big for Jeremy Peña. Not saying that he will be hitting .375 for the year or anything like that. He will have slumps and adjust as scouts and electronic surveillance pick him apart, but he looked very comfortable in his first few games with the team, both on the field and at bat. And that is all we ask.
- Alex Bregman of 2019 may be back. He is still not running freely, but he has recovered from his wrist surgery. The pop is back in his bat, and he has put up 2 RBIs in each of the three games he started. If that holds, the offensive hole left by Carlos Correa leaving may be covered by the first two bullets here.
- The Chas and Siri battle may be good for the team. It’s an ultimate small sample, but they have both started out well at the plate and having them both on the field (Jose Siri in CF and Chas McCormick in LF) is undoubtedly the strongest defensive configuration teamed with Kyle Tucker in right field.
- JV is still JV thru one start. He looked like vintage Justin Verlander in spring training, and he continued to look like he was back in his first start of the season. That they lost, the game did not take away from the feeling that he will keep us in every game.
- Pressly likes that new contract. He’s still building up his velocity, but Pressly looked on top of everything in his first two appearances against the Angels – two appearances – two saves.
- The rotation is in a pretty good place. Outside of Verlander’s stellar start, the other three who pitched were pretty solid, spanning from Jake Odorizzi’s OK outing (4 innings – 2 runs) to Framber Valdez’s best of the series (6.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs). Jose Urquidy was very good on getaway day, allowing 1 run in 5 innings and Luis Garcia debuts on Tuesday.
- The team doesn’t have to have all its bullets available to get a few good shots. The team has won 3 of 4 with their catchers, Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro batting a combined .000, Jose Altuve with 1 hit in 12 ABs, Kyle Tucker hitting .200, Yordan Alvarez hitting .143 and Yuli Gurriel only having 4 ABs due to maternity leave. But even those who are not hitting that well have contributed something with Maldy’s 2 walks and 2 runs scored, Tucker’s 2 dingers and 4 RBIs and Yordan’s 2 RBIs and 1 dinger. Meanwhile, they have had good starts from Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Jeremy Pena, Jose Siri and Chas McCormick. If those five fall off a bit, there will undoubtedly be room for better hitting from those who have started slow.
- Relief from many places. Pressly, Rafael Montero, Bryan Abreu, Hector Neris, Cristian Javier and Blake Taylor have all been unscored upon in their appearances. Pedro Baez gave up 3 unearned runs in a rough outing, while Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton and Ronel Blanco have given up one run each in their appearances. The relievers have been good at holding the rope so far.
Overall, winning three-out-of-four on the road against one of your division rivals is an excellent start to the season. They need to keep it rolling through Arizona and Seattle.