Will Jose Altuve collect his 200th hit tonight vs. Seattle?
(Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)
Last night, Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve didn’t collect a hit for the first time in 14 games. Currently, he sits at 198 hits on the year and is looking to become just the second player in Astros history to collect 200 hits in a season (the other being Craig Biggio.)
Altuve, who was 0 for 3 with a walk on Monday, has put up some ridiculous stats this season. Just take a look:
"Batting Average: .338 (leads MLB) Hits: 198 (leads MLB) Doubles: 40 (second in AL, third in MLB)Triples: 2Home Runs: 7RBIs: 50Steals: 51 (leads AL, third in MLB) Runs: 78Walks: 33Strikeouts: 49OBP: .375SLG: .449WAR: 4.9AB: 586 (third in MLB)"
I think Altuve will collect his 200th hit tonight against Roenis Elias (10-12, 3.90 ERA) and the Seattle Mariners (79-64). The Astros offense has really struggled against Seattle this season, but I just can’t imagine the All-Star second baseman going hitless for two games in a row. The Astros have scored a total of five runs in the last three games against the Mariners and have lost four straight to them. I think Altuve will collect at least two hits tonight in an attempt to spark the Astros lineup.
If he can finish the season strong, Altuve should be on some AL MVP ballots. He is one of six players since 1900 with 198 hits, 40 doubles and 51 steals in a season. He recently had back-to-back four-hit games (the first Astros player to have back-to-back four-hit games since Lance Berkman in 2008). Altuve also has 22 three-hit game this year, which leads MLB, and no other player had even 19 three-hit games last season.
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Additionally, Altuve has an MLB best 57 multi-hit games this year and is just 12 hits behind Craig Biggio‘s single-season club record. If slugger Chris Carter can overtake Nelson Cruz for the AL lead in home runs, the Astros could join the 1922 St. Louis Browns in MLB history. That was the last team to have players finish the season leading the AL in home runs, hits, batting average, and steals.
The Astros (63-81) will send Collin McHugh to the mound tonight to face Elias and the Mariners. McHugh, who is a serious candidate for AL Rookie of the Year, is 8-9 with a 2.89 ERA on the season and is 4-0 with a 1.79 ERA in his last seven starts. The right-hander leads all Houston starters with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings and has fanned 24 over 16.2 innings in three games against the Mariners this year (he’s 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in those games.)