Despite still being below .500 in Grapefruit League, the Houston Astros make a nice bounce back for an interesting week 4 of Spring Training.
The Houston Astros began week 4 of Spring Training with a 2-6-1 record. The ome at the end is indicative of the one tie they previously had. They have since improved to 5-8-2.
Their first game of the week against the Boston Red Sox also ended in a 5-5 tie. To go with the off day Tuesday, the Astros got three victories before stumbling in the two games this past weekend.
A lot of positive developments have shaped week four. Let’s now take a look at the biggest of these headlines:
1. McCullers and Keuchel Mound Their Kicks!
Lance McCullers got his first start of the spring on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He went two innings, giving up no hits or walks, and striking out a side’s worth of 3 batters. Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports on his confidence boost from getting credit for the shutout victory.
Dallas Keuchel, meanwhile, just made his first start yesterday against the Washington Nationals. He only gave up one hit in 3 innings. However, he did also strike out a batter. He told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com about how good he felt in his post game interview.
2. First Round of Cuts Made.
3. Special Guests Surprise in West Palm.
Recently inducted Hall of Famer, Jeff Bagwell, arrived at camp as a guest instructor this weekend, per Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. He even ran into former teammate and fellow hall inductee, Craig Biggio.
An actual spacemen even came to visit the spacemen of MLB. Brian McTaggart reports on how astronaut, Doug Wheelock, came to speak to the Astros about teamwork. Wheelock is someone recently befriended by catcher, Evan Gattis. Here’s a couple of very interesting quotes from that article:
"“I looked him up and he had the blue check mark and everything and he was verified, and I was, ‘Oh, man,'” Gattis said. “So then I Wikipedia him and I’m like, ‘This guy’s a rock star.’“He’s been up in space, man,” Gattis said. “It was very cool.”"
4. Gattis Suits Up as Backstop!
Speaking of El Oso Blanco, he got his first start from behind the plate on Friday against Tim Tebow and the Mets on the road. He tells Brian McTaggart how he was itching for a Mets runner to try and steal a base so he could test his right arm. That way, he can know the extent of anything lingering near his shoulder.
Skipper A.J. Hinch tells The Houston Chronicle how he plans to utilize McCann and Gattis this season. Suffice it to say, Gattis will not be your typical backup catcher, and will get a good bit of playing time.
GO HOUSTON ASTROS!