By Will Martin
One week now in the books and the calendar now becomes tantamount to help bring players and coaches alike into shape. Preparing for the rigors of what shall await in the course of a 162 game season beginning April 1st. In a weird sense of deja vu, the 2014 season will begin at home against the New York Yankees.
The 2013 season ended with the Yankees as the opponent in Houston as the world saw Mariano Rivera for the last time in a memorable retirement victory tour. This year the Derek Jeter goodbye caravan begins in H-town. Alas about four weeks away.
Exhibition games commenced back on February 28th in Florida for the Houston Astros. Over the weekend the Astros would accrue a 2-1 record fresh off the heels of a 7-4 home win March 2nd over the Atlanta Braves. RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0) got the win in two innings of work. RHP Anthony Bass pitched a perfect 9th to preserve the victory and earn his first save.
Carlos Corporan and Ronald Torreyes each contributed two RBIs apiece in the win at Kissimee, Fla.
March 3rd the Astros traveled to Roger Dean Stadium to take on the (3-1) Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. Dallas Keuchel will make his spring debut against Jacob Turner.
Also scheduled to throw this day for Team Porter: LHP Peter Boylan, RHP Matt Albers, LHP Darin Downs, RHP Josh Zeid, and LHP Kevin Chapman.
Also scheduled to make the first of two stints in camp is ‘Mr. 3000’ Craig Biggio to work with an array of major and minor league players from March 3rd-5th and again from the 17th-19th. You can also expect to see Jose Cruz and Dickie Thon in camp.
(Side note: Yes fans, it really will be 30 years on April 7th that Mike Torrez beaned Dickie Thon with an inside fastball. I remember it like yesterday!)
In the event you are heading out to Florida and wish to catch some Astros baseball action be aware that a few games will be utilizing the ‘Instant Replay’ angle of things on the following dates: March 8th vs the Yankees, March 9th vs the Blue Jays, March 12th vs the Nationals, March 14th vs St. Louis, and March 22nd vs St. Louis once again.
March 4th Houston continues on the road to play the Mets at Port St. Lucie. Scheduled to start and pitch for the Astros: RHP Luis Cruz, RHP Paul Clemens, RHP Josh Fields, RHP Jorge DeLeon, and RHP Rhiner Cruz. Zack Wheeler to start for the Mets.
March 5th, in a return to Kissimee, Lucas Harrell and Max Scherzer will get the nod to start. A game that will be televised on CSN Houston. You can hear all the action on KBME Radio.
It has been rumored that longtime friend Bill Parcells will be at the March 3rd game as Bo Porter’s guest. No surprise there as New Jersey guys tend to hang together. Bo Porter is ready for his second season to begin in Houston. His passion and love for the game are infectious. Exactly what a young team needs for a change in direction and league.
It’s early, but they say that what you reap in March you might very well sow come October. The Houston Astros are indeed on the rise. Soon they will be a force to be reckoned with. I call it ‘The Nolan Ryan Effect’.
3/4 @Mets 12:10 PM
3/5 vs Tigers 12:05 PM
3/6 vs Mets 12:05 PM
3/7 @Nationals 12:05 PM
3/8 vs Yankees 12:05 PM
3/8 @Phillies 12:05 PM
3/9 vs Blue Jays 12:05 PM