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Houston Astros: Chris Carter and Eric Hosmer Display ALDS Contrast

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Houston Astros fans and folks all around major league baseball have debated all season long if their power paired with a high strikeout rate could produce postseason success. Chris Carter has been a key component of this questioned philosophy. Carter hit a whopping .199 this season along with 151 strikeouts. In 391 at bats, he managed just 78 hits. Astros fans kept waiting for management and A.J. Hinch to pull the plug on the Carter experience. In fact, the Astros did somewhat retreat. After the All-Star game, Carter would not play in 30 games as opposed to having being only held out of one game before the break. But, Carter would prove to be one of the few positives in the Astros rough September. During that month, Carter hit .344, six home runs, and 10 RBIs.

The ALDS series with Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals highlighted two distinct philosophies. The Royals, a high contact team, batted .269 for the season only behind the Detroit Tigers (.270). The Astros batted just .250 for the season finishing 21st in all of baseball. However, the Astros would edge the Royals in runs scored for the year (729-724) thanks to the home run ball. The Astros finished with 230 home runs for the season only behind the Toronto Blue Jays (232).

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Each team’s first basemen displayed their team philosophy. Eric Hosmer hit .297 for the season with 18 home runs, 93 RBIs, and a .363 OBP. Hosmer would strike out only 108 times compared to Carters 151. Looking at the stats, Hosmer is undeniably the better first basemen. It’s unlikely anyone would try and debate otherwise. However, this series the numbers have opened a different debate. Who’s been more valuable in the series?  Thus far, Hosmer is just 1-for-11 in the series. But, Hosmer’s lone hit would provide a crucial RBI in the Royals game two 5-4 victory.

This postseason, Carter is 2-for-8, has three walks, and crushed a towering home run in the 7th inning on Sunday’s 4-2 victory. Astros fans have longed complained about Carter’s batting average and strikeouts. Understandably so. But this postseason, he a viable part of their success. ESPN recently highlighted Carter’s home run as the first Astros’ postseason home run in the #8 batting spot since the 2005 NLDS.  The home run was hit by former catcher Brad Asmus in the 18 inning thriller versus the Atlanta Braves with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game before Chris Burke’s game-winning homer.

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Chris Carter, Colby Rasmus, and the Astros are giving postseason opponents an extremely tough task: pitch perfect.  Maybe not throwing an actual perfect game. But, always throw pitches in the right spots. Because a single mistake against these guys can completely change the outcome of the game. Crush City is booming. Minute Maid Park was partying Sunday like it was 2005.

Both of these club’s philosophies can equal success.  Kansas City reached the World Series last year with their good plate vision and high batting average.  The Astros are showing the league this season a different formula for success: have superb starting pitching and swing for the fences.  Maybe at some point Crush City will be out dueled.  But for now, the Astros keep swinging their way towards a World Series berth.

Next: Has Jamaal Charles Lost a Step?

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