Major league roundup: Astros' title defense opens with a win
01 April, 2018, 02:36 | Author: Alyssa Little
The Astros won their first World Series championship in 2017 but had to go through the Rangers to win the American League West, even though Texas ended up fourth in the division and lost 84 games previous year. The right-handed McCullers Jr. recorded 132 strikeouts in 118 innings past year with only 40 walks while finishing the season 7-4 overall with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
YANKEES 6, BLUE JAYS 1: Giancarlo Stanton had two home runs, including the hardest-hit, opposite-field home run since tracking exit velocity began in 2015, and also doubled as NY won at Toronto and gave Aaron Boone a win in his first game as a professional manager.
On Monday, the Astros will play a game at Minute Maid Park as World Series champions for the first time.
For an opener against that north Texas baseball club, the Astros win felt like a "finally" for fans.
Fister tossed five effective innings in his Texas debut, Nomar Mazara homered for an early lead and the Rangers beat the Astros 5-1 on Friday night. Manager Jeff Banister expects to see a closer emerge over the course of the season.
The Astros took the shift to an extreme against Texas left-handed slugger Joey Gallo, who hit 41 homers last season.
The season begins with a marquee pitching matchup between the Astros right-hander Justin Verlander and Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels.
Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA last season) is 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in his past six starts against the Rangers. Andrus scored on a wild pitch and the Rangers avoided being shut out in a home opener for the first time since 1992.
Astros: 1B Yuli Gurriel is recovering from left hand surgery last month, but started the season on baseball's restricted list to serve his five-game suspension - for making an inappropriate gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in the World Series - rather than on the disabled list.
The Astros managed just five hits off five Texas pitchers, with reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve collecting two of those.
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