Dexter Fowler (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Star Performer of the Week: May 12 thru 18

The Astros had their best week of the 2014 season, taking two of three games from both the Rangers and White Sox. The bats heated up. The starting pitching was solid. Heck, even the bullpen was better than terrible. There were quite a few candidates for the Star Performer Award, but one in particular that I felt was most deserving.

Before we get to this week’s winner, let’s give some love to a couple of guys who were in the running but didn’t quite come out on top. Representing the much maligned Astros bullpen, Tony Sipp deserves some recognition. Sipp pitched in two ball games, both Astros victories, and retired all eight batters that he faced.

All Dallas Keuchel did this week was throw the Astros first complete game shutout of the season. And he did it against the arch-rival Texas Rangers. The Astros lefty scattered seven hits while striking out seven without walking a batter. Keuchel will be back in action Monday night in Anaheim when the Astros take on Garrett Richards and the Angels.

Hitting was the big story in Houston this week. Jose Altuve, L.J. Hoes, George Springer, and Matt Dominguez all had outstanding performances. But Dexter Fowler was the most productive of the Astros’ hitters and is the recipient of this week’s Star Performer Award.

Fowler had nine hits in 20 at-bats for the week — including a double, a triple, and a homerun. Dexter also reached base nine more times via the walk, giving him an impressive .450/.621/.750 slash line. Fowler scored six runs and drove in three. Fowler, who was hitting .238 coming into the week, raised his batting average to .267 and now sports an on-base percentage of .375.

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Tags: Dallas Keuchel Dexter Fowler Houston Astros Tony Sipp

  • Bob Gordon

    Worth noting, Keuchel came very close to another CG shutout last night vs the Angels, one of the AL’s more powerful offenses. Dallas is emerging as an elite starter. Up til now I’ve been thinking of Scott Feldman as the rotation ace; he probably still deserves that appellation, but he’s got some strong competition for that honor now.

    Also impressive at the plate, hanging 5 runs on a pretty darn good pitcher in Garrett Richards. Two things kinda leaped out at me from the boxscore. First, no homers. The longball has been a big factor for the Stros in scoring what runs they’ve managed this season, but this time they did it by stringing hits together. Second, only two strikeouts through the entire game, against a guy averaging over 8 K/9.

    Pretty cool to see the Stros win two series in a row, with a chance tonight of winning a third straight. 7-3 over last 10 games. Really, the May Astros just seem a different – and good – club. This month, team-wide OPS of .783, good for third in the AL. Four guys hitting above .300 for the month, with another three above .270. Pitching staff’s ERA improving.

    The real question of course is whether this is just a weird but short-lived hot streak, or if it’s a sign that these young guys are starting to turn the corner long-term. Remains to be seen over the course of the summer, but quite fun regardless. Wish I could actually watch these games (although even if I did live in the Houston area, my understanding is that I probably still wouldn’t be able to see them. Hope that TV mess gets ironed out.). Right now I can only see the Stros when they play the Mariners…which is the only time I’m not rooting for them.

    Yeah, as a WA resident who grew up in Texas, I’ve got two teams…which worked fine when the Stros were in the NL. Their move to the AL West has been awkward for me.

    • Greg Thurston

      Keuchel has been fantastic. I hope the 128 pitches he threw last night doesn’t end up having a negative affect on him in the long run. And, as you stated, the offense has been fun to watch over the last two weeks or so. The turnaround seems to coincide with Springer getting moved out of the cleanup spot and getting comfortable as a big leaguer. Obviously, even bad teams go on hot streaks. Hopefully this is the beginning of something more than that.

      The bullpen continues to be a weakness. But Luhnow and company are actively trying to improve upon that situation.