Star Performer of the Week (June 18 – 24)
The Astros finished the week on a high note with back-to-back drubbings of the Cleveland Indians. The two wins gave Houston a 3-3 record for a week that was starting to look bleak after a trio of tough losses. Chris Johnson earns honorable mention this week. CJ had ten hits in 23 at-bats, most of them in clutch situations. Johnson knocked in the first run in Saturday’s game after the team had failed to score in the last 22 innings. CJ’s run-scoring double seemed to break the ice and get the sluggish offense back on track. Johnson had another big game today with three hits, including a homer.
Starting pitching was the story of the week and J.A. Happ is this week’s runner-up. Happ started the week with a win over the Royals on Monday and finished things off with another win today. Happ allowed only eight hits and three runs in 13 innings pitched in the two victories. The key to Happ’s success may have been the fact that he allowed only three walks along the way. Happ has historically struggled with his control, leading to high pitch counts that have hampered his ability to pitch into the late innings.
In between Happ’s outstanding outings the rest of the rotation produced four consecutive quality starts. Unfortunately, the offense didn’t show up in three of those games and Astros starters took tough luck losses. But one pitcher authored a complete game performance that earned him this week’s Star Performer Award. Dallas Keuchel picked up his first big league win Saturday in only his second start in the majors. Keuchel finished off the Indians, allowing one run on six hits while striking out three. Congratulations to Dallas Keuchel. Hopefully he can keep the quality starts coming.