The Astros took to the road this week trying to end a 5-game losing streak. After failing to score in the first game against the Mariners, the offense finally got on track. Tuesday’s 16-run outburst put a number of players on the radar for this week’s Star Performer Award.
Another big win on Wednesday added to the excitement and a strong performance by Bud Norris on Friday brought a pitcher into the mix. The Astros fizzled a bit over the weekend in Anaheim but one player in particular continued to have consistently good at-bats.
Norris earns runner-up honors this week with his seven shutout innings in Friday’s win. Norris was dominant, allowing only three hits and two walks while posting five strikeouts. Philip Humber also did a nice job on the mound and deserves an honorable mention. Although he took the loss in both of his starts, Humber did everything he could to give his team a chance to win. Humber totaled 13 innings for the week, allowing five runs on 12 hits and a pair of walks. Unfortunately, the Astros only scored once in Humber’s outings.
The winner of this week’s Star Performer Award is Chris Carter. Despite my insistence for Carter to be benched, Bo Porter stuck with his man and it paid off in a big way. Carter went 11 for 25 for the week, including four homeruns. The slugger drove in a total of seven runs and also coaxed three walks along the way.
Carter showed signs that he is capable of being the type of player the Astros were looking for when the traded Jed Lowrie to acquire him. His power is undeniable and the cleanup spot will be his as long as he continues to have productive at-bats. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but that is a tradeoff the Astros are willing to live with.
Carter has the ability to hit the ball out of the park without taking a big, violent swing. His natural swing is so effortless that it looks like he isn’t even trying. I must admit that I jumped to that conclusion a bit too quickly. But with such a smooth and easy swing, I still have to wonder why Carter has a career strikeout rate of more than 30%.
Carter struck out at least once in every game this week but the overall results were still good enough to take home the hardware. Here’s hoping that Carter can stay hot for a while and give the Astros a solid power source in the middle of the lineup.