If there was a theme to the Houston Astros’ week, it is the word “clutch.” The Astros have borrowed the title from the Rockets and shown that they are resilient and can come up with timely, game-winning plays, even when they’re down. They don’t get down when they fall behind and have proven that they will continue to grind at the plate in order to make things happen.
The team went 4-3, winning the series against the beleaguered Oakland A’s and split the series with a stout Detroit Tigers team. They also saw the debut of a hyped rookie pitcher, and got some clutch pinch-hitting from their rookie outfielder. On the flip side, the reigning AL Batting Champ and team leader struggled at the plate, though the team was able to overcome his shortcomings and keep on winning. The Houston Astros also finished the week with the most wins in Major League Baseball with 29 victories.
Pitcher of the Week: Lance McCullers Jr.
The rookie made his Major League debut this week and did not disappoint.
In his first game,
McCullers came out with a bit of the jitters but performed well for the most part (he also didn’t get any help from the home plate umpire). Against a good Oakland A’s offense, McCullers gave up an earned run on three hits and struck out five batters over 4.2 innings. While he wasn’t stellar, he showed some promise and left fans wanting to see more. You also may have heard something about Batman cleats.
In his second game, LMJ came back even better after shaking off the butterflies in his stomach. He held a superb Detroit Tigers lineup to two earned runs on six hits and struck out six batters over 6.0 innings, and picked up his first Major League win in the process.
McCullers line: 1-0, 10.2 innings, 2.53 ERA, 9 hits, 3 earned runs, 4 BB, 11 Ks.
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This was one of those weeks where you had two guys who came up huge at the plate, both directly impacting the outcomes of the games.
El Oso Blanco had a very good week, so good in fact that he improved his batting average + 0.18. He drove in four runs in the Oakland series, and he was an impact player in Sunday’s come-from-behind victory against the Tigers, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, and coming up just a double short of the cycle. The Tigers feared the Bear so much that they intentionally walked him in his final at bat, robbing him of the chance to get that cycle. Gattis is seeing the ball really well and only struck out three times this week, a major improvement to his game and it is paying off for the Houston Astros.
Gattis’ line: .269/.333/.654, 7 hits, 2 triples, 2 HRs, 8 RBI, 1 sac fly
As for the ever-impressive Preston Tucker, the guy continues to make his case for more playing time. The young rookie was CLUTCH with a capital C this week.
In his two pinch hit appearances in the series against Detroit he hit a home run in each at bat. The first came on May 21 in the top of the ninth inning against Joakim Soria to tie the game. Unfortunately the Astros still lost that one in extra innings, but Tucker’s monster hit to give them an opportunity to get the victory.
The second HR came during Sunday’s game, with the Astros trailing 7-4 in the 6th inning, Tucker came up again. He crushed a three run shot off Anibal Sanchez, who looked to be cruising to a victory, to tie the game. Houston went on to win 10-8.
Tucker’s total line: .333/.385/.833, 4 hits, 2 HRs, 4 RBI, 1 BB
Weekly Goat: Jose Altuve
This was hard to write. It’s not often that the team’s best overall player is going to land here, but Altuve actually looked human this week. And he’s allowed to do that, on occasion. He’ll bounce back in no time and we can forget that this ever happened.
Altuve’s line: .120/.148/.120 with 3 hits, 1 run, 1 RBI, 4 Ks, 1 SB/1 CS
Redemption Player: Jason Castro
Castro the Astro had a solid week at the plate, but he gets the redemption award for his clutch hitting in the final game of the series with the Tigers. Castro had gone 0-for-4 with three strikeouts throughout the game.
With the game tied at 7-7 in the top of the 7th, with the bases loaded and two outs on a 3-2 count, Castro hit a single to right field to score Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez for the go-ahead runs. Exhilarating is the only appropriate word here.
Given how this week has gone for the Houston Astros, Bluto Blutarsky would be smiling.
That’s it for this week. Onward and upward, Astros!
In case you missed it, here are the previous week winners: