Bigger Picture won Sunday's Connally Turf Cup. Coady photography
Here are my selections for Friday night. These are not meant to be in exact order, but merely the four horses I think have the best chance to win. For beginners, I suggest exacta boxes with three horses, using two of mine and one of your own. And you can always pick up a copy of Acing Racing 2016 to learn everything you need to know. If the races come off the turf due to rain, check out Twitter and I will update the picks. (These are the picks and format that are available on the free tip sheet at SHRP)
MORE THAN A MELODY will be a short price but looks solid here
Another short-priced Asmussen runner who is hard to get around
WHITE WALLS is really good at this distance on the turf and should be in the mix
We will take a flyer with some firsts, including WITT'S GRAND, who should be a big price
TELESCOPIC PLAN struggled in last but priors fit well in this spot
FOREST GIRL is in good form and will need to be sharp to beat RARE POPPY
CHAT RAT is one of two Broberg runners in here and both look good
TOMMY GROSSMAN faced a tough group in last and should fare better here
While most of the Astros roster is returning for the 2024 season, there are still some areas of uncertainty for the club. Astros manager Joe Espada will have some tough decisions to make in his first season managing the team.
The Astros infield is set, so we know who will be playing on a nightly basis, assuming health. The outfield is where things get tricky. Espada told the Houston Chronicle last week that he hopes to play Alvarez more in left field this season, which would open up the DH spot for Chas McCormick and players he would like to rest while keeping their bat in the lineup (Yainer Diaz, Jose Altuve, etc).
Astros GM Dana Brown would like to see if Jake Meyers can hit well enough to play regularly in center field. This is a team that stresses defense, which Meyers provides. But if defense is the top priority, wouldn't that mean Chas McCormick should play left field with Yordan Alvarez hitting in the DH spot?
Certainly, there will be nights when that's the case. The reality of the situation is all these guys are going to play, but how much and where is yet to be seen.
Houston plays 20 games in 21 days to start the season, so it's not going to take long to see if Meyers is providing enough offense to play regularly. If we get into the month of May and Meyers is an offensive liability in the lineup, we won't be surprised if his playing time starts to decrease. But by how much?
Don't miss the video as we examine how Joe Espada will deploy his outfielders and get the most out of the DH this season!
Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.