Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The Astros fell to the Cubs 6-3 in the final game of Spring Training at Minute Maid Park. Houston finishes an exhibition record of (15-15-3). Any questions about the Astros now will be left to the regular season to sort itself out.
Joe Musgrove was in full form handling a strong Chicago lineup. He went four shutout innings, giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out four. It was a great final tune up of Spring Training for his body and confidence.
“That is the best I’ve felt all spring so I’m glad I’m going into the season feeling like this,” Joe said. “A.J. (Hinch) and myself both saw what we were looking to see today.”
The Astros lineup has all kinds of potential, but was rather quiet in this game. Only Carlos Correa and George Springer were able to get hits off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. It did not shake the pitching staff’s confidence in their ability to score runs.
“Even if we’re behind our offense is going to keep us in the game,” Musgrove said.
Things unraveled for the bullpen following Joe’s outing. Left handed reliever Tony Sipp struggled to get one out while giving up two hits and a walk, before leaving the game to be charged with three earned runs after Ken Giles allowed the inherited runners to score. A worrisome spring finale for the Houston bullpen’s lone lefty.
“Everyone is feeling pretty good… Our pitching staff has always kind of been the question, but as starters we feel like we’re really strong this year. If we can stay healthy, we feel like we have a really good chance,” Musgrove said.
The largest looming question for the Astros is, without a doubt, the starting rotation’s durability. The top three, Keuchel, McCullers and Morton are all coming off injuries. Cubs Manager Joe Maddon had sentiment about his team and the Astros, regarding unforeseen problems along the way.
“The season reveals stuff about your team you’re not thinking about today,” Maddon said.
Opening Day at Minute Maid Park will turn some heads for its pitching match up. The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel to the mound against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. First pitch is 7:10 Monday night.