The Astros passed the test by winning the road series in New York versus the Yankees.
Despite a postponed game that led to a doubleheader on Sunday, the Astros won three of the four games. When the Astros came to town, the Yankees were one of the hottest teams in baseball. After doing a mini fire sale last year, the Yankees have improved by getting younger. The Astros got older with a few ex-Yankees, and they are winning too.
Who is doing it the right way? Some would say the Yankees did well trading away certain players while getting younger. They did not do a full rebuild like the Astros did and brought back Aroldis Chapman after renting him to the Cubs. Speaking ofChapman, you have to wonder if his overuse by the Cubs caused his injury this year? Moving on from the Yankee talk.
With the win last night, the Astros are now 27-12 with a .692 winning percentage. Could they creep up to a .700 winning percentage? Nothing is guaranteed, but a win tonight would have them accomplish this. On last night’s ESPN broadcast, the announcers kept raving on how deep the Astros lineup. The additions of Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Nori Aoki have given the Astros the edge.
Bregman powering up?
However, all eyes have been on Alex Bregman as he tries to show what he can do in his second season. While it hasn’t been a terrible season, Bregman was the last Astro standing without a homer. On Sunday’s Talking Stros on Sports Talk 790, my co-host Brandon went on a little rampage to wake up his bat. He said it worked with Carlos Correa, so he wanted to try with Bregman too.
After Game 1 of the doubleheader, Bregman’s slash line was .258/ .345/ .331/ .676 with seven doubles and one triple. One positive note that Bregman had at the time was high batting average with runners in scoring percentage. The homers weren’t coming, but he was getting the clutch hits. There was little doubt that the homers would come for the 2015 first round draft pick.
Bregman idolized Jeter.
After Talking Stros, the Yankees honored Derek Jeter before game 2. One of the many Astros on the front step of the dugout during the ceremony was Bregman. He wears the number two to honor Jeter, but apparently, he tried to change his number for that game. Guess he figured there only needed to be one #2 on the field on that night. His request was denied.
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According to Bregman’s mom, they also have a dog named Jeter. After the ceremony, the Astros quieted the crowd with a fireworks display in the first inning. George Springer and Josh Reddick led off the game with homers. Then they load up the bases for Bregman, who currently has a .406 batting average with runners in scoring position. Things were looking good for the Astros to have a big inning.
After watching his childhood hero, Jeter walked up to the plate. Bregman broke his homerless streak. It was a grand slam that Yankees fans will remember on Jeter day, putting the game out of reach. That was Bregman’s only hit of the game, but it was a big one. Bregman could be on the verge of breaking out with his bat. He did follow that hit up with another double last night.
Bregman will likely hit between 15-20 homers with the ability to get more. While the Yankees celebrated Jeter, Astros fans celebrate having Bregman on the team for a while. The Stros will not win every game, but it helps if Bregman’s power shows up. Enjoy the show folks!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***