Offensively this year has been very tough on Astros hitters. When George Springer was called up, many of the regulars had failed to obtain a batting average higher than the Mendoza Line. Some key players have started to show signs of heating up, one of them being slugger Chris Carter.
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Much has been said in criticism of his 212 strikeouts last season. Rightfully so, but Carter did lead the team with 29 homers and 82 RBI from that 2013 campaign. During the offseason he made efforts to reduce his tendencies to strike out. But despite that work, Carter still has 33 strikeouts in 88 at-bats this season. At one point this season, last Sunday, Carter was batting just .118 with no homers.
With the team continuing the abysmal offensive output despite some pretty good starting pitching, several players have been looking to break out of their own slumps. Alex Presley has been a bright spot as he hit .450 for the 6 games he appeared in last week. Jose Altuve recorded back-to-back three hit games. Dexter Fowler also has gotten healthy and scored 6 runs.
Entering Sunday’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics, Carter has improved his batting average to .176. Though still far from acceptable overall, last week saw him enjoy some success. Three home runs were finally hit en route to a .286 batting average and .762 slugging percentage.
With the 3 home runs, Carter quickly became tied for 2nd among the Astros team for round-trippers. Jason Castro and Matt Dominguez each have four on the season. And though their batting averages are still pretty bad — Dominguez is the highest of the bunch at .229, it’s important to realize this team is starting to improve.
If the Astros want to fulfill Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane’s expectations being vastly improved and approaching a .500 season, the team will have to continue to get timely hits and score runs. Chris Carter will likely be a big part in whatever success this team achieves this season.