After a three-game skid with the Orioles at home, the Houston Astros‘ found their bats up north against the Cleveland Indians. With a 7-2 victory over their 2018 ALDS foes, Michael Brantley reminded his former employer that they made the wrong decision of not re-signing him. The left-hander went 3-for-5 with a home run.
Off the rubber, it shouldn’t be a debate that the Astros’ best starter is Framber Valdez. The left-hander returned to baseball late after his finger injury, but on Thursday, he fanned six over seven innings, while allowing two runs on four hits and five walks. Command of certain pitches has still been an issue with a recovering finger that is used mightily by an off-speed pitcher.
While the Astros slugged seven runs, four of them were driven in by Jose Altuve.
As expected, Jose Altuve received the loudest boos from a fan base that thinks they were also cheated out of the postseason in 2018. While Indians’ fans still back Trevor Bauer and avoid the headlines that tack onto his name, they continue to show their disillusionment with the evidence that was provided.
That didn’t matter as Jose Altuve launched a grand slam in the fifth inning to give the Astros all they needed to beat the Indians. “Elevate and Celebrate” has been the team motto in these situations, but this slam also pushed Altuve up the franchise ladder for RBI.
The second baseman moves to eighth solely by himself, as he passed the 600 RBI mark for the franchise. This was Altuve’s second grand slam of the season (third for the team), which places him at 603 RBI all-time passing Doug Rader. The next player on the ladder is Jimmy Wynn with 719 RBI.
The Astros are back on the field on Friday at 6:10 p.m. with Lance McCullers Jr. matching up against left-hander Sam Hentges. Carlos Correa, who took a pitch off his knee on Tuesday, got the day off on Thursday just for rest, so it doesn’t look like an injury was sustained.