As the Astros narrow the gap at the top, who is trending up?
Winners of six of the last nine, the Astros are heating up heading into crucial matchups with the Yankees and Red Sox to wrap up May and start June. Their goal? Narrow the gap at the top.
Currently the Astros are just 2.5 games behind the Red Sox and the Yankees for the A.L. lead. They took both series wins against the Indians and the Giants and split their last series with the Indians. Winners of six of the last nine games, and 13 of the last 18, the winning ways have returned.
In that span of nine games we are focusing on, the bats came alive to the tune of 60 hits limiting their opponents to just 32. There were some players who stood out considerably during this batting practice, let’s take a look at who is trending up this week.
Trending Up: Jose Altuve
Setting the franchise record for ten consecutive hits will earn you a spot on the trending up list. Altuve has hit in ten straight at-bats setting the record. He fell short on the eleventh try, but in his last ten games, Altuve is a red-hot 18-for-44 for a .409 batting average. He elevates his batting average to .329 on the season. The reigning AL MVP now totals 74 hits on the season.
Did I mention he doubled his total home runs this year also, going deep twice in his last three games? He is on pace to reach my preseason prediction of 200 hits for a fifth straight year. Altuve currently possesses the fourth best batting average in the league at .329 and has the most hits. Did you expect anything less from Altuve? Didn’t think so. Go get your buy one get one pizza from Papa John’s now and thank Altuve for his long ball.
Trending Up: Max Stassi
We welcome Max Stassi and his five consecutive hit games to the Trending Up list. Stassi, in his last six games, has gone 6-for-18 for a .333 average in that span. Now batting .300 for the year, Stassi has stepped up consistently in this cluster of catchers the Astros contain. He has a hit in nine of his last ten games, including four multi-hit outings. Max has done very well scoring five runs and driving in four of his previous six games. He sees quality at-bats too, skipper A.J. Hinch has slotted him in 4 consecutive games during the Cleveland series.
He grabbed the opportunity to produce and did so well with counterpart Brian McCann struggling a bit. The Astros are lucky to have three catchers on this roster especially while Evan Gattis is doing his thing too bringing his batting average up to .281 in May.
Trending Up: Tony Kemp
Tony Kemp gets the call for assignment and oh boy has he answered. Getting the call on May 16th Tony has successfully hit in 8 of 10 games this year. In fact, he is 10-for-30 on the season for a .333 batting average. A short sample size but a very productive one for sure. We are hoping he stays hot. I had the luxury of going to the May 22nd game against the Giants where he went 2 -for-2 and driving home five total runs in the 11-2 win. He has one home run, three runs and eight RBI in this time frame. We hope Kemp stays productive and can be a fixture on this roster late into the season.
*** Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and MLB.com ***