The Houston Astros rallied late on Wednesday but fell short to the Cleveland Indians, 5-4. The ball club fell two runs short of completing their second sweep against Cleveland this season, as they finish 6-1 for 2021 against the AL Central team.
Starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. had a quality outing that was tattered by leaving the bases juiced in his exit. Bryan Abreu allowed a bases-clearing double that put the Indians ahead, and although the Astros’ bats rallied to tie the contest, Austin Pruitt surrendered a late home run in his first ever loss with the franchise.
Although pitching hit a few jams and runners were left on, Jose Altuve continued his hot streak of home runs at the plate. The legend continued on Wednesday, as the seven-time All-Star isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
Jose Altuve continues to silence the hatters, as he mashes four home runs in his last seven games.
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Over 84 games this season, Jose Altuve has slammed 23 home runs in 342 at-bats. Four of those slams were dealt off the bat of Altuve in the past seven games. This recent niche of slugging has been stellar for the right-hander but where is it coming from?
Streaks of power will come and go, but for Altuve over his last seven games, he is slashing .267/.290/.700 with a .990 OPS. These numbers are screaming slug, but with an average exit velocity in the 35th percentile of all of MLB, Altuve might be getting lucky with the Crawford Boxes in left field. The right-hander could profit off a 315-foot deep corner in left field, or he is on a post All-Star break high.
While all four of his most recent home runs having been pulled, his exit velocity has ranged from 97-105 MPH. These slams have also occurred off a variety of pitches (fastball, curve and sinker), so it is not like Altuve is only profiting off one pitch that hurlers aren’t catching onto.
All four homers were at Minute Maid Park, as they all had adequate estimated distance. It is obvious the right-hander is seeing the ball well in the best moments; Altuve quietly puts up All-Star numbers. As he leads the Astros in home runs this season, the right-hander isn’t as flashy or loud about his production.
The Astros return to action on Friday against the Texas Rangers at 7:10 p.m with Jake Odorizzi off the rubber versus left-hander Kolby Allard. With Garrett Stubbs back on the active roster, we learned on Wednesday that the ball club is carrying three catchers due to Jason Castro fouling a ball off his foot in Chicago.
The organization reeled in a few more signings, as reported by Michael Schwab on Wednesday. OF Tyler Whitaker (3rd round), OF Joey Loperfido (7th), SS Chad Stevens (11th), IF Kobe Kato (13th), RHP Kasey Ford (NDFA) and RHP Deylen Miley (NDFA) all officially signed. The team has now signed a total of 21 players so far; 14 drafted and seven non-drafted free agents.
The Astros also went after the international free agency market, while signing Amilcar Chirinos, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic.