The season is underway, and the Astros have had a couple of tough pills to swallow over the past two days. On Wednesday the Bronx Bombers erupted for 16 runs, chasing Collin McHugh from the game after one-third of an inning that saw six runs (five earned) up on the board. Thursday, the team's biggest offseason acquisition, Ken Giles, gave up the game-winning homer in the bottom of the 7th. Giles hasn't looked like the player that Houston hoped they had added thus far in spring action or in two regular season outings. The hard-throwing right-hander has already allowed as many home runs (two) as he did all of last season.
The struggles of Giles and McHugh in the early going are certainly worth keeping an eye on, but thus far it's a very small sample size. It's highly unlikely that McHugh will finish the season with his current 135.00 ERA, and it's also unlikely that GM Jeff Luhnow would have given up the haul he did for Giles if he was not absolutely sure the addition would pay dividends. So what did we learn from the first three games?
1. Tyler White Can Hit Anywhere
At one point during the game, White's batting average was a cool .714, or the same number of home runs Babe Ruth hit in his career. Coincidence? Not in the House Ruth Built. Ok, so it's totally coincidence. White finished Thursday batting .667, which is probably as sustainable as McHugh's 135.00 ERA, but it's still nice to see that the Astros have a competent first baseman. Through three games, White has one homer, a .700 on-base percentage, and four rbi.
2. Carlos Correa is For Real (But we Already Knew That)
Three homers, four rbi and a .385 batting average. That's how the 21-year-old shortstop is starting the 2016 season--and that includes an 0-for-4 showing on Thursday afternoon. Some prognosticators were picking Correa to be an MVP candidate at the end of the season, and if he can continue to produce on a consistent basis, not necessarily this otherworldly pace, then he should win the award in a landslide.
3. Making Luke Gregerson the Closer Was the Right Move
The argument against Gregerson in the closer's role is that the team expended a lot of resources to land a reliever that can throw the ball as hard as Giles, and that should make him the late-inning option. As of right now Giles is struggling and in what should be a tough AL West, let alone a tough American League, the Astros are going to need every win they can muster throughout the season. Gregerson is a veteran with some experience in the 9th inning, and plenty of experience as a setup man. For the time being, this is the right approach, but as soon as Giles gets back on track look for him to get some save opportunities and reclaim the job.