The Houston Astros got Yordan Alvarez back in the opener against the Seattle Mariners and, like an unclogged drain, the offense overflowed.
Okay, so my Houston Astros analytical abilities are batting about a .300 right now. Sure, Jose Altuve is struggling. And lo and behold, Yordan Alvarez was the missing piece, not just for the offense, but for the pitching staff as well.
Just two days after claiming Alvarez was undoubtedly missed, but not the missing piece, I was left eating my words like the greatest birthday cake in all of history. Although I don’t think anyone could have anticipated exactly what Alvarez’s return would look like, or that it would look this drastic.
But maybe we should have.
Turns out Yordan Alvarez was the missing piece after all
The game started off pretty poorly for Framber Valdez, but after a catcher’s interference, single, strikeout and single, Yordan Alvarez faced his first at-bat of the abbreviated 2020 MLB season.
He didn’t miss his chance.
Alvarez lofted a 349-foot home run into the Crawford Boxes and, just like that, the Astros offense spilled over the lip of the cup like they’ve been waiting exactly 18 games to do so.
With that home run, the Astros offense erupted into a nine-run first inning that only ended when Alvarez batted again and rocketed into a double play with the hardest-hit ball of the inning.
Unsurprisingly, that freed up Valdez to get a grip on what was his worst inning of baseball yet this season—the first. With the run cushion, he found his confidence and worked his way to a quality start, pitching six innings of one-run baseball.
So much life, all springing from one game. The offense erupted, the pitching staff found their confidence, and it all came from Yordan Alvarez settling into his usual five-hole in the batting order.
Maybe some of this was good luck—Seattle’s defense was nothing short of awful. Maybe some of it was just the perfect storm. But when you’ve got Carlos Correa batting seventh in the lineup? Good things are coming. And it all started with the return of Yordan Alvarez.
Alvarez also plucked another RBI by weathering a fastball to the wallet, which helps out his one RBI every four at-bats that he established last year.
If you were worried about the Astros, or maybe you still are, don’t be. Yordan Alvarez is the great connector. The guy that turns this lineup into something different. And the pitching staff loves him too.