In a rookie-to-rookie leadoff set between Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel - making just his sixth Major League start - and Pirates outfielder Starling Marte - making his big league debut - the first pitch was ambushed by Pittsburgh's promising young player.
To add insult to injury, Garrett Jones hit a two-run blast later in the first inning to give the Pirates a commanding 3-0 lead with just one out. The Astros' pitching rotation was sure to take a hit when they dealt Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates, and the decision to bring Keuchel up from Minor League ball is a questionable one at this point.
He's a smart pitcher, but he doesn't have "blow-by" stuff and his most recent outings are alarming. What works in Keuchel's favor is that the Astros have low expectations not only for the rest of this season, but for a while as the rebuilding process continues to unfold. Does the organization have faith in him?
Those are questions to ask later, but for now, marvel in how I hinted as us seeing something special in Marte in the Astros-Pirates series preview on Thursday.
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