The old adage tells us that the 162-game baseball season is a marathon not a sprint. One out into the first game of the season and Astros manager Bo Porter was sprinting out to argue about a botched call on a steal attempt by his second baseman, Jose Altuve. His complaints fell on deaf ears, but Porter showed his pregame excitement and enthusiasm wasn’t just for show.
The Astros would go on to drill the I-45 rivals 8-2, but the message they sent was even clearer: The Houston Astros will not lie down.
For the first time in recent history, the Astros have sole possession of the best record in baseball and for the first time since April 20, 2007, the Astros are the undisputed leaders in the division. Sure it’s only Opening Day and they will be tied at some point Monday, but the Astros delivered their message over nine innings after their manager got the ball rolling.
Porter set the tone for the game, the season and the new era in Astros baseball.
The Astros were smart and aggressive at the plate and on base, something the Rangers have become known for under manager Ron Washington. These are qualities that are a direct reflection on what Porter has been preaching all spring. Per MLB.com:
"I think it starts with Bo -- the tone he sets every day," said first baseman Brett Wallace. "He's got that energy and an aggressiveness about him. He's really instilled that in us. Every day, whether we had drills or we had a game, we were attacking it and being aggressive. I think you can already see it in Game 1 today."
Houston’s aggressive approach and base running forced mistakes by the Rangers defense and caused Matt Harrison to allow three walks—all of which scored.
"Bo's aggressive by nature. He's high energy. He's passionate. If you spend time around Bo, he'll make you more passionate about the game,” said Rick Ankiel, who pinch hit in the seventh and smashed a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence that sent three more runs across the plate.
Bo kept the pedal down and the Astros would score one more run before the rout was over.
Bo changed the team and the atmosphere in one spring and they played his style of baseball to give him his first win, the franchise's 4,000th. His team responded to the changes and the fans responded to his team.
"It was an electric atmosphere, and you take your hat off to the fans in Houston," Porter said. "They came out tonight in great numbers and gave us a lot of support. We really thank them.”
The Astros are looking to bring an exciting brand of baseball back to Houston and, with Porter at the helm, it may be sooner than anyone outside the organization expected.