As I took my seat in Minute Maid Park tonight, surrounded by the usual suspects the question was “Who the heck is that?” With many familiar faces gone and lots of new faces on the field answering who was playing where and who came from where was the first order of business. The waiter for our section challenged the gentleman sitting behind me to name five starting players. He couldn’t do it.
It wouldn’t take long into the game before one of those new faces made a name for himself. Jimmy Paredes, who Houston called up from AA Corpus Christi yesterday, made his presence known with a 2 RBI triple in the second inning. Well, welcome to the bigs, Jimmy. Keep that up and you’ll do just fine.
A quick 3 run lead was cut to 1 by the end of the Reds’ next at bat and within two more innings it was a tied game. What was most interesting was how at the start of the game everyone joked about watching Minor League Baseball tonight and yet, as I start writing this, the Astros have hung in and are playing the 10th inning against the Reds.
It seems that when you put a bunch of young kids on a major league field and challenge them to show you what they’ve got, they will. There weren’t many Mickey Mouse plays tonight and the one that stands out the most- Carlos Lee’s attempt to go from first to third on a shallow center field bloop that ended with an easy out at third- was committed by a veteran.
Are they great? Nope. Did they show effort and heart? Yep. I think I could really like this young team. There is something about watching players who want it badly that’s just a lot of fun. Most of these new guys probably won’t be here in Houston all the way through the end of the season, but they’ll prove that they’re worthy if you let them.
I can’t remember the last time the Astros had fewer hits than their opponent and the same number of runs. That’s all sorts of backwards in comparison to what we’ve seen this season. The nonproductive hit parade was getting old. Tonight was refreshing. On the flip side, Bud Norris struggled a bit on the mound. In just 5 innings pitched he allowed a staggering 10 hits, but only 3 earned runs, walked 3 and struck out 3. He left the game after pitching to one batter in the 6 with a blister again on that right middle finger. We’ll see where that leads. The only other pitcher who allowed a hit tonight? Mark Melancon with just 1 hit in his 2 innings of work. Not too shabby all things considered.
Standouts tonight? Jimmy Paredes’ debut 2-RBI triple, Humberto Quintero’s RBI double, Jose Altuve’s game winning hit with bases loaded (#PocketJesus, indeed).
Final Score after playing 10 innings? 4-3 and that’s a Houston win. Yea, I think I might just get used to this young team concept. These kids definitely have heart.
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog atÂ www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on twitter @agirlinthesouth.