The Houston Astros swept their two-game series with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, 8-4. With big showings from Jose Altuve and Chas McCormick, the two right-handers dropped a pair of bombs in this long ball fest.
Zack Greinke pitched his way into a jam, that led to a Brooks Raley appearance. The right-hander tossed 5.2 innings, while allowing three runs on four hits and two walks with four punch outs. Greinke continues to show some small inconsistencies at home, but Raley might also be a product of unlucky situations with his inflated ERA (6.31).
Cristian Javier and Ryne Stanek closed out the game, but in troubling news, the Astros are looking to be without Alex Bregman for “a while.” The third baseman came up hobbling after a ground out in the first inning, as leg injuries are common in Bregman’s career. While we wait for more information, this left quad strain could sideline the All-Star for sometime, but where will the Astros find production in the meantime?
With Alex Bregman expected to miss an indefinite amount of time, where do the Astros look?
It’s obvious. Everyone wants to see more of Chas McCormick at the plate and in the field. The right-handed hitter has been tearing the cover off the ball as of late, and to top it off, he hasn’t made mistakes in the outfield (1.000 fielding %). McCormick is currently slashing .236/.308/.551 with eight home runs and an OPS north of .850.
The right-hander is a slugging machine, and while Kyle Tucker is on the injured list due to health and safety protocol, his replacement on the roster, Abraham Toro, won’t be competition for McCormick’s everyday play. Over the past seven games, McCormick has a .389/.421/1.111 line in 18 at bats. He continues to prove that he will be an outfielder of the future, especially with his wide range of ability in the field.
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This continues to rattle the minds of many fans, but Myles Straw has been playing better. The Astros’ lineup is stacked. Even without Bregman and Tucker, they posted eight runs, but this won’t happen every game. Straw is slashing .311/.364/.396 in his last 30 games, which is a huge improvement from the start of the season. While the shoes of George Springer are hard to fill, Straw is showing that he is not the same player but still provides reliability if you let him settle in.
He is the better defender, and that is why the starting job is still his. We could see McCormick consistently start more over time, but if one through seven is slashing above the league average, then keep your last two starters as glove-first players. Straw also did the unimaginable on Wednesday as he blooped his second career home run:
While being third in All-Star voting for AL catchers, Martin Maldonado has always been an elite back stop, but he’s starting to hit the ball more. On Wednesday, the right-hander dropped a home run and a double in four at bats.
Offensive production hasn’t always been asked by Maldonado, but in his last seven games, he is hitting at a .280/.333/.480 clip. These numbers are above the league average, while it is his best line of the season. Jason Castro should see more starts down this 20-game stretch but don’t count out Maldonado’s turn around at the plate.
The Astros are back on the field tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox at 7:10 p.m. One of the best teams in baseball is coming into town to battle a banged up Houston team, as it offers an October-like test. Jose Urquidy will matchup against Dylan Cease.