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Terrific Framber Valdez Likely to Start Astros Opening Day

Houston, Texas– The Houston Astros begin their title defense on March 30th at home against the Chicago White Sox. With The Astros Opening Day under ten days away, who will start the season on the mound for Houston? The most likely option for manager Dusty Baker is none other than lefty-ace, and 2022 All-Star, Framber Valdez.

The Case for Framber

Framber, who could be making his second career Astros Opening Day start after starting last season in place of a recovering Justin Verlander, impressed a lot of people last season. Framber’s final line from 2022 was a 17-6 record, 2.82 ERA, 194 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.157. Not to mention his historic streak of 26 consecutive quality starts, which is an MLB record.

When asked if Framber would take the mound for the Astros Opening Day, Astros’ manager Dusty Baker said, “Probably…But I don’t want to make it official just yet”. Framber has shown thus far in Spring Training that he’s ready to lead Houston for Astros Opening Day with a 1.98 ERA, WHIP of 1.137, and 13 strikeouts in just four games this spring.

When asked about his outlook for the season and if he should be given the ball on Astros Opening Day, Valdez stated, “Not that I expect it, but if I am, I’m just ready to get the job done,” he also stated, “Do the same thing I did last year or be better than last year, and hopefully get positive results.”

Framber being able to replicate his successes from last season will help the team fill the void at the top of the rotation created by Verlander’s departure to the Mets in free agency.

Potential Other Option

However, if Valdez doesn’t get the start, who will? The only other options for Houston are right-handers Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and rookie Hunter Brown with Lance McCullers Jr starting the season on the IL for the second year in a row.

If Dusty were to choose outside of Framber, his go-to would likely be the young star Cristian Javier who, much like Framber, really made a name for himself last season as one of the better pitchers in the league. His final line from 2022 was an 11-9 record, 2.54 ERA, 194 strikeouts, and a WHIP of .948. Memorably, he led the Astros pitching staff to a no hitter last June, as well as during Game Four of the World Series.

Javier’s stats so far this spring are an ERA of 4.50 and WHIP of 1.167. However, he only appeared in the one Spring Training game due to his participation in the World Baseball Classic for Team Dominican Republic. With the Dominican Republic, Javier pitched in one game, against Nicaragua, where he managed to pitch four scoreless innings while striking out 4 and only allowing 3 batters to reach base.

Sadly for the Dominican Republic, they would be eliminated before reaching the quarterfinals.

Looking Forward

The Astros will more than likely give a confirmation on the Astros Opening Day starter within the following week, but don’t be too surprised if Valdez gets the nod to start the season. He proved last year that he is a top of the rotation option and can pitch on the biggest stages. Meanwhile, the team likely will look to Javier as the probable game two starter.

Either way, having two very strong options to start Opening Day is exactly what the team needs as they look to start their World Series defense in 2023. With the two top of the rotation options leading the way, look for the Astros to compete for another World Series ring.

Let us know who you think should start and who will start the Astros Opening Day in the comments below!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Terry Presley

    March 24, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Framer Valdez is awesome and should start

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