Well, that didn’t go a whole lot better did it? For the second day in a row, the Astros cruised to an easy victory over the Mariners. But there were some bright spots littered in a sea of darkness. Let’s discuss both sides of this on our second “3 up, 3 down”.
1. Taijuan Walker pitched. After nearly two full seasons off a big-league mound, Walker made his second Mariners debut and looked pretty solid. Walker was charged with 5 earned runs on 7 hits, but neither number was indicative of his outing. Walker sat 92-93 and some high probability plays weren’t made behind him, leading to a bloated line. But Walker looked healthy and that by itself is good news.
2. The Kyle Lewis Show continues. Lewis hit his second home run in as many days, this time hitting a line drive a few rows out to right field, showing the tremendous opposite-field power he flashed in Summer Camp. Lewis looks healthy and has provided most of the highlights two games into the season. We predicted a 50 home run pace for Lewis and so far, he’s on pace for 60.
3. J.P. Crawford had a nice day at the plate. He scorched a triple off of the glove of George Springer and would score later in the inning. He also added an infield single in the 7th, beating the shift for his second hit of the day. Finally, he roped a ball into the right-field corner and legged it out for his second triple of the day. Crawford was the MVP of this game. A quick honorable mention to Dee Gordon, who made his 2020 debut and collected his first hit in 2020, as well as an outfield assist, gunning down Martin Maldanado at second base. Kyle Seager also had two doubles.
1. Mallex Smith was terrible in the field… again. He completely whiffed on a shallow fly ball that was ruled a hit, and also struggled to corral a base hit. Smith missed a more difficult play yesterday, making it two games in a row with suspect defense in right field.
2. Shed Long missed another play. A line drive that should have been snared instead glanced off his glove, allowing the inning to be extended and more runs to score. While he wasn’t credited with an error, Long’s chance to prove he’s an everyday second baseman hasn’t gone well thus far, making three key mistakes already, all of which have led to runs, but it is still too early to tell going forward.
3. The Mariners missed their chance to win this game way back in the first and second. With a rusty Lance McCullers on the ropes early, Seattle hit into two double plays, leaving five men on base without a run early. For Seattle to beat any team, let alone the Astros, they’ll need to take advantage of these opportunities and not give teams more than the 27 outs they are supposed to get.