The Houston Astros don’t close out their third consecutive series with a possible sweep. While the Tampa Bay Rays surged back on Sunday, a rocky start from Cristian Javier kept the Rays in the game, as he was on a limited pitch count that had him exit after the fifth inning. With the bats fluctuating their hotness, Yordan Alvarez got back to his roots of hitting home runs.
While Javier hit the bump, the right-hander dealt with command issues early that left a few runners stranded, but a three-run home run from Austin Meadows in the bottom of the fifth put the Rays back into the ballgame.
While the Astros couldn’t pull away a sweep, Yordan Alvarez is looking like his 2019 self.
As COVID-19 scurried around the clubhouse of the Astros, Alvarez was one of the five original players sidelined due to health and safety protocol. On top of that, the left-hander had a delayed start to his 2021 spring training and was also recovering from knee surgeries.
With another slight stint on the injured list, it wasn’t evident whether Alvarez was feeling sick due to something else or that he was a close contact of a positive case. While being fully back now, the 23-year-old launched his first home run since April 8 on Sunday. With an exit velocity of 107.5 MPH and an expected distance of 424 feet, it was a no doubter.
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In his last seven games, the left-hander has demolished the ball: .385/.433/.692. Alvarez is totaling 10 hits, six runs and seven RBIs. The Astros slugger dropped a cool tidbit about his younger years with Rays’ Randy Arozarena, as they played together growing up.
Alvarez had another swing that sent the ball to the top of the wall in left field, but it was in reach of Manuel Margot. With Myles Straw hitting better and driving in runs, the offense is being generated in different areas as well. The surge and determination is there for Straw, and while Martin Maldonado continues to struggle, you may wonder why Jason Castro isn’t playing as much.
While most of the starters thrown the Astros’ way were left-handers, it made the most sense for Maldonado to start, although Castro has been playing better. Castro ended up not starting a game in Tampa, and with Maldonado making a costly error in Sunday’s game, it would behoove the Astros to get more starts for Castro to spread some workload.
While standing at 15-13 on the season, Houston is back on the field on Tuesday to start a three-game set with the New York Yankees in the Bronx. This familiar territory will definitely hold some hostile fans, but for what it’s worth, the Yankees aren’t playing that great of baseball early. Here are the expected matchups:
In starter news, GM James Click isn’t expecting Jake Odorizzi to have a rehab start before returning back to the Astros. The right-hander is currently on then injured list.