Last night the Houston Astros played their first game of the full 2021 season, and boy did they have a good game. Zack Greinke was on the bump, Yordan was back in the lineup, and Michael Brantley is still the most professional hitter in all of Major League Baseball. Even while things change, things stay the same with the Houston Astros.
Chris Bassitt of the Oakland Athletics seemed to be poised for a strong night against the death lineup, until the fourth inning when there was no outs with Jose Altuve on third, and Michael Brantley on second. Brantley had his second hit of the night, which was a double over Chad Pinder’s head in right field to advance Altuve to third. Alex Bregman stepped into the box, and did a job. Bregman hit a weak grounder to third, but it was more than enough to get Altuve home.
Oh yeah, and Yordan Alvarez is back in the lineup. In the sixth inning, after Bregman hit a screaming double into the left-center field gap, and Kyle Tucker walked, Alvarez used his superhuman power to hit an opposite field double off the wall.
After Enoli Paredes gave up one run in the seventh inning, the most professional hitter in baseball came up to the plate to get his third knock of the night. The only difference with this knock is that it went over the wall.
Michael Brantley remains the biggest signing for the Houston Astros from this past offseason. Without him the lineup is still great, but it might have had something missing. Brantley had a three hit night, with only a triple missing from the cycle.
Right after Brantley hit one over the wall, the future MVP did the same thing in bigger fashion.
I think the Astros have their swagger back. If Bregman is pimping homers on day one of the season, the league is going to be in deep trouble. The best part about the Bregman homer is what happened after he crossed the plate. Last year there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm from Astros players, except Carlos Correa in the playoffs, due to the dark cloud of pointless shame held over their heads. It was sad to see in 2020, because these guys get to play a game that they usually love for a living, and last year it didn’t look like they loved it just as much.
The excitement, high-fives, and celebrating after going back-to-back makes me feel all tingly inside. When this team was having fun after home runs, and wins from 2017-2019, it was hard not to love them if you weren’t an Astros or AL West fan.
We haven’t even touched on how well Zack Greinke pitched on Opening Day. Greinke typically doesn’t have the best of starts throughout his career on Opening Day, and I can’t remember a great game he’s pitched against the Oakland Athletics. Until last night when Greinke threw six scoreless innings, where the Athletics seemed completely unable to hit the ball hard off of him. No walks, three hits, and four strikeouts to start the year for the Astros’ ace seems like a great way to start the season.
All around, last night was a fun baseball game to watch for Astros fans, and it appears as if the death lineup will continue to do death lineup things. Welcome back to baseball season.