It looks like Jose Altuve may be returning to the form that helped the Astros win the World Series in 2017.
At the start of the year, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has been good, just not as good as the precedence he set for himself in 2017. After years of getting better with hard work, Altuve reached the pinnacle of winning the World Series in 2017 and the American League MVP award. This is not saying that Altuve has reached his ceiling, but he got off to a slow start with power this year. Altuve did something similar last year but still went on to be the best player in the AL.
In a recent trade in a fantasy baseball league, I traded the hot George Springer for Altuve. While I may regret the trade because Springer is my favorite player, a player like Altuve is rare. The Astros have realized this as well by locking him up until 2024. It was only a matter of time before he got hot again, but who would have predicted that he would get this hot.
One of a kind.
Last year, Altuve set a team record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit at eight. It is much easier to have an eight-game hitting streak then hitting in eight consecutive at-bats. A hitter gets four to five at-bats per game but only gets one chance in consecutive at-bats. Yesterday, Altuve not only tied his franchise-high eight consecutive at-bats with a hit but extended it.
We were watching something historical the past few games, despite the two losses to the Indians. Altuve was four for four in the eighth inning as he was set to face Trevor Bauer for the fifth time. The Astros were down 3-2 with Bauer way over 100 pitches, reliever Evan Marshall entered the game. Unfortunately for him, he will be the answer to a trivia question someday.
Jose Altuve holds the Astros team record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit with 10. Who was the pitcher he got the tenth hit from?
I’m sure not many people will remember Marshall, but they may remember that Altuve’s single scored Springer. This run tied up the game and they scored six runs in that inning. The Indians bullpen has had its struggles this year, but it was the Astros bullpens turn to blow the game. They scored five runs in the ninth inning.
He has a chance in the future.
Altuve had a chance to get his 11th consecutive hit in the top of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t in the cards. He got a great swing on the ball, sending a sinking liner to left-center field. Rajai Davis made a sliding catch on it denying Altuve a chance to chase history. While Altuve now holds the Astros team record, he fell two hits shy of tieing the MLB record in 12 straight at-bats.
According to Chandler Rome, it has been done twice. Once in 1938 by Pinky Higgins and then tied in 1952 by Walt Dropo. It’s okay if you have not heard of these guys before. This is the second time in two years that Altuve has done this. Maybe he will eventually eclipse the 12 at-bat mark. Altuve is also leading the MLB in hits this year with 73.
According to Ryan Spaeder, Altuve is the only player in franchise history with back to back four-hit games. By the way, this is the fourth time that he has achieved this in his early career. He’s pretty good.
This hot streak raised Altuve’s batting average from .308 and .770 OPS to .330 and .834. That’s a big jump in just two games, but you have to expect big things from Altuve. Altuve has only three homers this year, but the doubles are starting to pile up. Congrats, now let’s beat the Yankees.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and ESPN***