HOUSTON — A look at some of the news and notes gathered during media availability at Minute Maid Park before the Houston Astros take on the Seattle Mariners in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
Game 2 of the ALDS is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2:37 p.m. Houston time/12:37 p.m. Seattle time, with Luis Castillo (4-2, 3.17 ERA) getting the call for the Mariners while Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA) will get the nod for Houston. The game will be televised on TBS.
Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Peña gives credit to winter ball
One of the biggest stories throughout the season for the Houston Astros has been the development of shortstop Jeremy Peña. The 25-year-old rookie shined at shortstop, taking over for Carlos Correa and helping the Astros not miss a beat in his absence. Slashing .253/.289/.426 with 22 homers and 63 RBI, Peña has been a mainstay in the lineup in the regular season and now postseason as well.
During the last two offseasons, Peña played in the Dominican Winter League for Estrellas de Oriente. The native of the Dominican Republic gives a lot of the credit for his success this season to what he learned in winter ball.
“I grew so much as a baseball player in winter ball. I matured so much as a baseball player because of the culture we have in the country. The Dominican Republic eats, sleeps baseball,” Peña said. “In the United States, we have football season, basketball season. We have boxing. We have all these sports to look forward to. But in the Dominican Republic, all we have is winter ball. So, all year, the fans are prepping for winter ball. They get crazy out there.
“So I matured so much, just learned how to be in the moment, play hard, and have fun, enjoy the game.”