This weekend saw the first two real baseball games of the spring season, as the Astros downed the Phillies 8-3 on Saturday and tied the Mets 7-7 on Sunday.
There is almost no predictive value in the very first spring training games, but I don't see why that should stop me from making sweeping predictions. These Bo Porter Astros are going to be aggressive on the base paths. They stole four bases in the opener, adding two more on Sunday, and more than that, routinely took the extra base at nearly every opportunity. This might lead to them running into some outs in the future, but I like the approach. I'd rather this young team make mistakes being aggressive than being passive.
On Saturday, Harrell was off his game somewhat, but this early that's nothing to be concerned about. The Astros hitters weren't really able to get anything going against Hamels either. In the later innings, however, nearly everyone got into the action. Robbie Grossman was a real star going 2-3 with a double and 2 rbi. I would be thrilled if Grossman forced himself onto the team with a strong spring. Another highlight was Jarred Cosart with 2 easy innings, including a strikeout of Ryan Howard that was a beauty to watch.
The Sunday afternoon game started off a little rough, with Norris, Veras and Peacock getting roughed up to varying degrees, leading to a 6-1 deficit after the top half of the 4th. Again, this early, I wouldn't really be concerned. After that, the Astros clawed their way back, with help from a Castro home run and some great base running from Delino DeShields. In the 5th, DeShields pinch ran for Wallace, stole second, advanced to third on the errant throw, and then scored on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the 9th, down 7-6, George Springer drove in Jake Elmore to tie it up. Springer had a great day at the plate - going 1-1 with 2 walks. I for one could get used to DeShields making things happen on the base paths and Springer driving in runs, but I think we will have to wait a while to see that happen in the big leagues.
It was great seeing real live baseball on my TV again, and it always feels good to beat the Phillies, even in Spring Training. All in all, a great start to the 2013 season.