After sitting out last night’s 8-3 win over the Rangers with a sore neck, Jose Altuve is back in the Astros starting lineup today. But the American League’s leader in hits and stolen bases won’t be batting in his familiar leadoff spot this afternoon. That honor goes to the red-hot Robbie Grossman.
Grossman filled in at the top of the order for Altuve last night and did such an outstanding job that Bo Porter wanted to keep him there — at least for one more game. Grossman led off the bottom of the first inning Saturday with a walk. In that at-bat he forced Yu Darvish to throw 11 pitches.
Porter had this to say about Grossman in his post-game press conference:
Robbie Grossman set the tone. He’s going to be a high on-base guy. He’s doing exactly what made him successful during the second half of last season.
After struggling for most of the year, Grossman has been on fire during this weekend’s series against the Rangers. Robbie has reached base in eight of his nine plate appearances, going 4 for 5 with three walks and a hit-by-pitch. He’s scored four runs and drove in the go-ahead run with a homer in Friday night’s game.
Grossman’s bat has heated up at the right time for the Astros as fellow outfielders George Springer, Dexter Fowler, and Alex Presley remain sidelined. Fowler started a rehab assignment Friday by going 2 for 3 at Oklahoma City. Dexter DH’d for the RedHawks last night, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Fowler could be back in the Astros lineup early next week and Springer might not be far behind. Presley is also on the mend and close to starting a rehab assignment. It will be interesting to see who gets the bulk of the outfield playing time once the regular starters return.