Home Is Where The Heart Is Houston Astros Open Seven-game Homestand
Brian Barefield | 8/4/2017, 10:05 a.m.
Although the Astros own the best road record in the Major Leagues at 38-15 and are averaging 6.89 runs per game on the road, they could not have been happier to return to Houston for the upcoming seven game homestand. Coming off a brutal nine game road trip (5-4), the Astros needed to be back in familiar territory to re-evaluate some late season issues that may cause some trouble as they make a run for the 2017 World Series.
The injury bug seemed to bite the Astros once again. During the Philadelphia Phillies series, Houston lost 2017 All- Star OF starter George Springer for at least 10 days as he went down with a quad injury. He is expected to return this Friday (Aug. 4th), but the Astros may keep him out longer for precautionary measures. Especially since they called up the smoking hot rookie Derek Fisher who is batting .295 with 3 HR and 8 RBI this season in replacement duty.
Superstar SS Carlos Correa is still on the injured list with a month away from returning to the lineup. The team also added starting pitcher Lance McCullers to the DL with a sore back. This is the second time in the last two months he has experienced this type of injury.
Pitching has been the Achilles heel for the Astros this year, but Houston has help on the way in 2017 Cy-Young Candidate P Dallas Keuchel (9-0). He is scheduled to start in Wednesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Keuchel has an active 11 game winning streak dating back to his final two starts in 2016, which is one shy of the franchise record. This is exactly what the Astros need to get back to being the dominant team they are. Especially with the moves made by the NY Yankees who acquired P Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Dodgers who picked up P Yu Darvish. Houston did some trading as well by acquiring LHP Francisco Liriano from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for OF Norichika Aoki and OF Teoscar Hernandez.
Stop me if you have heard this before. Astros 2B Jose Altuve is the best player in baseball right now. And no this isn’t up for debate. Along with IF Yuli Gurriel, Altuve lead Houston to the best batting average (.323) and OPS (.948) in Major league history for the month of July. Take Gurriel out of the equation and you will see why I made the previous statement about Jose being the best player in today’s game. In July, Altuve lead the AL in batting, OPS, Slugging pct., and OBP. This was the best statistics for that month since 2006 (Braves Chipper Jones). He also had a 19-game hitting streak from July 2 – 28, and posted 43 hits in that same time frame. Is there any need to continue? Ok. One more. The All-Star 2B leads all MLB in batting at (.367) and hits (147). I could go all day making the case for him being AL MVP, but I will stop right there.
If Houston can come out of this homestand with a 5-2 record and stay healthy, they should have no problems making a deep run in the playoffs. As I have mentioned before, they have a very potent offense that needs the pitching to return to the dangerous arms that frightened MLB at the beginning of the year.