It’s hard to come up with a silver lining in the dark cloud that was the Astros first homestand of 2013. The newest members of the American League got out of the gate quickly with a big win over the rival Rangers on Opening Night. But the Astros fell to earth like a rock in game number two as Yu Darvish came within one out of a perfect game against the hometown nine. Since then, the ‘Stros bats have yet to fully recover.
The five straight losses have been hard to stomach. It’s not just the fact that they’re losing, but the way it has been happening. If you’ve been watching the games or reading our recaps you are painfully aware of how ugly it’s been. But enough about the negative — let’s take a look at the positive for a minute.
Bud Norris earned the win in the opener against the Rangers and came back with a gritty performance Saturday against the A’s. Jose Altuve has done a nice job at the top of the order, going 8 for 24 for a .333 average for the homestand. The Astros second-baseman has also drawn a couple of walks and driven in a pair of runs. Those guys were good, but another Astro had an even better eight days.
Justin Maxwell (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Justin Maxwell is the winner of the Star Performer Award for the first week of the 2013 season. Maxwell had a huge game in the opener, belting a pair of triples and driving in two runs. Maxwell also drew a walk and scored twice and was selected as the player of the game by the broadcasters on that four-letter network.
Overall, Maxwell is 8 for 21 with two walks for the year. His early slash line is an impressive .381/.435/.619. Maxwell has also been a steady defender in centerfield. His all-around play has been a pleasant surprise after a somewhat disappointing Spring Training. Maxwell has talked about being one of the veteran leaders on this young club and, thus far, he has been leading by example.