With the Texas Rangers coming to town for a 3-game weekend series, let’s take a quick look at who’s hot and who’s not for the Astros.
Jose Altuve (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Jose Altuve – In his last five games Altuve has gone 10 for 21 with a homer and three RBIs. He has stolen two bases and scored four runs. A lot of the damage has come since Altuve was moved to the #3 spot in the batting order. As long as Robbie Grossman can continue to get on base, Altuve should thrive in that spot.
Chris Carter – Obviously, Carter is a streaky hitter. He’s either striking out almost every time up or hitting homeruns. In the Angels series Carter was 4 for 10 with a walk, a pair of homers, and five RBIs. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that he struck out only once. It’s probably only a matter of time until the whiffs start to pile up again for Carter, but hopefully it will be later rather than sooner. The Astros will need Carter to stay hot to have any chance of winning the series against the Rangers.
Jose Veras – The Astros closer converted back-to-back saves against the Angels and was impressive in doing so. He has only been scored upon in one of his last nine appearances while fanning 11, walking only one, and allowing just four hits. Veras has looked like a legitimate ninth inning option lately. Now… if only the rest of the bullpen could successfully set him up.
Bud Norris – The Bud Man has been uncustomarily economical with his pitches in his last two starts, pitching 15 innings and allowing only three earned runs along the way. Unfortunately, Norris will not be pitching in the series against the Rangers.
J.D. Martinez – Since being activated from the disabled list with a knee sprain Martinez has managed only one hit in ten at-bats. The even uglier part of the equation is his six strikeouts. These aren’t quite Brett Wallace type numbers but if J.D. doesn’t get things turned around he could be joining Wallace in Oklahoma City.
Jose Cisnero – After debuting with three successful outings, Cisnero was lit up by the Tigers on Saturday. Jose gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in 2 & 2/3 innings against the defending A.L. Champs in his most recent outing.
Lucas Harrell – Harrell has struggled in each of his last two starts, allowing 14 hits and walking 10 in only 9 & 1/3 innings. Taking a line drive off his leg could have been a factor in last night’s game but Harrell continued to battle and actually gave the Astros a chance to win. Lucas won’t pitch in the Rangers series. His next turn comes in Detroit against the same Tigers team that knocked him around on Saturday.
Lucas Harrell (64) is checked by trainer Nate Lucero after being hit by a line drive in the second inning. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)