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Are you ready for Opening Day? The Houston Astros are gearing up for their first game of the season, and while they haven’t officially announced it yet, it looks like Framber Valdez will be taking the mound. The left-handed pitcher is coming off a spectacular 2022 campaign and has looked sharp all spring, making him the logical choice to lead the team on March 30th against the White Sox.

Valdez has been impressive throughout the Grapefruit League, owning a 1.98 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. His performance against the Mets on Saturday night may have been overshadowed by Max Scherzer, but he still limited his opponents to one run on four hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.

This spring has been a testament to Valdez’s remarkable progression from erratic reliever to one of the top left-handers in the sport. He was a workhorse in 2022, logging 226 1/3 innings overall and leading American League pitchers in innings and complete games. As a result of his impressive workload, the Astros have requested that Valdez not participate in the World Baseball Classic this spring.

While Valdez is a top candidate to start on Opening Day, the Astros also have right-hander Cristian Javier as a potential option. Regardless of who starts, much of the team’s success this season could hinge on how well Valdez and Javier respond following their big innings jumps in 2022.

Are you excited to see what the Astros have in store for the season opener? We’ll have to wait and see who takes the mound, but all signs point to Framber Valdez leading the charge.