Astros: 2 players who’ve justified team’s faith and 1 who hasn’t
After a dominant performance from Lance McCullers Jr., the Houston Astros‘ offense added to their offensive agenda with seven runs on the Chicago White Sox. Contributors were seen all around against the best team in the American League Central, as the Astros win their fifth game against the southsiders this season.
With Carlos Correa returning to the lineup, Austin Pruitt made his first move to the active roster while a member of the organization. The right-hander took an open 40-man roster spot with Brooks Raley on the 10-day injured list due to health and safety protocols. The team is bolstering depth, and with two players progressing, one continues to not support the cause.
With the Astros depth continuing to get better, one player continues to stagger behind.
Justifying Team’s Faith:
Entering Friday, Myles Straw had raised his OPS to .680, after being the weakest link in the batting order. The right-hander slashed one double on Friday, driving in three runs in the process. He also accounted for a walk, as well.
Straw wasn’t living up to expectations two months into the season, but with his numbers progressing to the mean, he should hold onto his job. The fan theory of addressing the center field job with Chas McCormick or by trade for someone like Kris Bryant most likely won’t happen at the moment. The position can always get better, but with a slash line of .267/.349/.336, Straw has earned his spot in the lineup.
Jake Odorizzi heads to the mound on Saturday with 3.61 ERA through 47.1 innings this season. The right-hander signed late and hit a tough injury slide but has found a rhythm with the help of a six-man rotation, before Jose Urquidy fell to the IL.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Since June 15, Odorizzi has appeared in five games, eating his way through 26 innings. The right-hander has posted a 1.04 ERA and has fanned 21 batters in the process, even with a small finger injury halting offspeed pitching.
Not Justifying Team’s Faith:
With Aledmys Diaz starting his 30-day rehab assignment on Thursday, the utility man’s arrival can’t come soon enough. Abraham Toro has gone quiet as of late, but he has shown more depth than Robel Garcia. Of the current rostered position players, Garcia has the lowest fWAR at -0.3.
A platoon was in effect with Toro and Garcia at third base, but as Garcia’s OPS has dropped to .449, the switch-hitter could be optioned with Diaz or Alex Bregman’s return. While being picked up on waivers consistently in 2020, Garcia’s sneaky power is all that comes on his resume.
A few errors on the left side of the infield and one hit in the month of July have led to the team losing faith in Garcia. While still on the roster, he adds more depth than Taylor Jones but will need to boost his offensive production in the coming weeks.
The Astros are back on the field on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. with Odorizzi off the rubber against Lucas Giolito. For Bregman, the right-hander is nearing a rehab assignment, after reportedly “progress[ing] well.”