Astros 5, Venezuela 5
They say a tie game is like kissing your sister. In the Astros’ case, I think it’s a supermodel step-sister, because this sure feels like a win to me.
In the past four games, the Astros have tied two and lost two. When the alternative is losing 12-2 (Rays) or 13-1 (Mets), you have to appreciate anything other than a punch in the face.
Jose Capellan threw 3 innings of shutout ball, allowing only a hit and a walk. Rule 5 lefty Gilbert De La Vara shut Venezuela out for 2 innings, striking out one batter and allowing a hit. It will be interesting to see how the pitching situation shapes up. With Backe unable to throw breaking balls, and looking characteristically command-less, we could have a nice little competition on our hands.
More so than most GMs, Wade seems committed to hanging on to Rule 5 picks. The strategy of taking a lefty pitcher is probably a good one. As we saw last year with Wesley Wright, it’s not hard to find a spot in the bullpen for a lefty. With Byrdak and Wright, it might be tougher for De La Vara this year, but Wright is probably not a lock to make the team.
On the other hand, Lou Palmisano, who I would have put money on to make the team to fill the gaping hole at our back-up catcher spot, has no hits or walks this spring in five at bats. However, this is a tiny sample size, obviously, and the fact that he hasn’t struck out is encouraging.