Sunday the Astros completed a 4-3 homestand by winning their second straight against the Phillies. It took a while but the team has finally put together what I’m going to call a miniature hot streak. Contributions have come from all over as Tony DeFrancesco continues to use a high percentage of his bench players on a nightly basis. Here are my top three for the week, culminating with the Star Performer.
Honorable mention goes to Jordan Lyles. The 21-year old South Carolinian held the Cubs in check for five innings on Tuesday and was the winner in a 1-0 game. Lyles also kept his team in yesterday’s game with five strong innings of work that included six strikeouts. He didn’t get the win but managed to go toe-to-toe with Roy Halladay and the Astros eventually came out on top.
Runner-up honors go to Wilton Lopez. The Astros closer picked up three saves in three appearances. Most impressive was his 1 & 2/3 inning masterpiece in yesterday’s one-run game.
Okay, that’s a starting pitcher and a reliever, now we need a hitter. I thought Justin Maxwell was the most productive Astro this past week and decided to bestow my Star Performer Award upon him. Maxwell was 8 for 25 (.320) with two homers, six RBIs, and six runs scored for the week. His first inning dinger on Saturday set the tone for the game and put the Astros ahead to stay. J-Max stayed hot on Sunday, driving in a pair of runs and scoring the eventual game-winner.
Perhaps the biggest play of the week was on Tuesday when Maxwell’s throw nailed Dave Sappelt at third base. Starlin Castro had tagged up at third and was trying to score but Maxwell’s head’s-up play kept the Cubs off the board. As mentioned earlier, the Astros won the game by a score of 1-0.
Maxwell is currently riding a ten-game hitting streak as the Astros travel to St. Louis. Can he stay hot? And can the Astros continue to play spoiler against another team looking to make a playoff push? We will soon find out.