• Brian L. Barefield

Astros pitcher Brandon Bielak is eager to get back on the mound.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

As the Houston Astros prepare to begin play in the Grapefruit League on Sunday against the Miami Marlins, one player will start on his road to redemption. Right-hander pitcher Brandon Bielak will take the mound for the Astros in hopes of convincing manager Dusty Baker why he deserves a spot in the starting rotation this upcoming season.

After a very good minor league career, Bielak was given an opportunity to be a part of the Astros pitching rotation in 2020 and won his first game of his big-league career in a relief effort against the Seattle Mariners. His first two games as a starter ended with a no-decision for him before he finally earned a victory against the Colorado Rockies to give him a 3-0 record in five appearances. During that stretch Bielak gave up only four earned runs and was gaining the trust of the players and coaches every time he took the mound.

Everything seemed to be going as planned for the young 24-year-old pitcher until he took the mound in his fourth start against the San Diego Padres. His pitches were not as effective as they had been in his previous starts and he was pulled in the first inning having given up four home runs that led to seven earned runs for the Padres.

Things never turned around for Bielak last season, but he took everything in stride and used it as a learning experience for this upcoming season.

“I had a good first half-year last year and then had my struggles, obviously,” said Bielak. “But I learned from it. I got with the coaches, I got with the catcher, and I was able to understand what I did wrong and what I needed to improve on over the offseason, so I'm looking forward to coming out here on Sunday and showing the improvements I've made.”

Bielak will probably only throw a couple of innings, but he is just eager to be back on the mound and doing what he loves to do.

“I am looking forward to having some fans back in the stadium and getting to play some baseball,” said Bielak. “Getting back to the type of pitcher I am will help me improve this year. Staying focused and making sure you are in the moment. Those are the biggest keys.”

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