While we still don’t know the status of Yordan Alvarez, here are two lineup adjustments with Michael Brantley out.
The injury bug caught up with Michael Brantley, after a three-game series in Arlington. The Houston Astros left fielder is dealing with a leg injury and doesn’t have a scheduled return, but his 10-day injured list stint is retroactive to May 25.
The lineup continues to find holes due to injuries, slumps or lack of depth, but with Chas McCormick coming around, the Astros do have a next man up mentality. Manager Dusty Baker acknowledged the team had opportunities to win, but also pointed out the injuries circling the team.
First lineup adjustment: Kyle Tucker to two-hole
While sitting as the only left-handed hitter in the lineup, the Astros would cash in from moving Kyle Tucker to the two-hole. In a more analytical game, you want your best hitter in this spot, and we’ve seen Baker go to this with Brantley.
If you stopped paying attention to Tucker, then you’ve missed a lot. The left-hander is finding the outfield grass and still hitting the ball hard. In his last 15 games, he is slashing .333/.415/.614 with four home runs and eight RBI. You might be wondering, why would you put a power hitter second?
In a perfect world, your leadoff hitter is getting on base at a high clip, but after Jose Altuve and Aledmys Diaz went 0-for-12 on Friday, Tucker’s two hits couldn’t drive anyone in. This won’t be a reoccurring thing for Altuve, but you want to maximize your hottest hitters’ at bats.
Second lineup adjustment: Aledmys Diaz behind Carlos Correa
The Astros have been blessed with Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman’s ability to work counts and get on base, but with Altuve looking to be a lock in the leadoff spot, these two fill in different spots one through nine.
It does help to spread the level of strength through the lineup, especially when it is not at full health, but Correa has an OBP of .462 in his last 15 games. These moves are just precautionary for the Astros without Brantley and possibly Alvarez for a few more games.
Correa and Bregman are getting on base at a higher rate, so moving Yuli Gurriel behind them would boost their ability to score runs. If Alvarez does return this weekend, then the Astros could push everyone back a spot and leave him at clean up.
Kyle Tucker (L)