If Altuve hits a homer today, he will have homered in six straight games.
When Jose Altuve joined the Houston Astros in 2011, he looked like a contact hitter who would hit for average and steal some bases. His first homer was an inside the park homer, and he only hit two in his first 57 MLB games. After years with Craig Biggio ingrained at second, no one could have predicted the type of player Altuve would become. After several years of hitting 5-7 homers a season, Altuve exploded with 15 homers in 2015 and a surprise playoff chase.
After stealing 56 bases in 2014, Altuve had learned how to drive the ball. In 2016, Altuve became a 20-30 player while maintaining a high batting average. Altuve became the best player on the Astros roster and in the MLB, winning the 2017 MVP award. Altuve had become essential to the Astros, along with George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman.
Last year didn’t go as planned for the Astros or Altuve, as they lost in the ALCS to the Red Sox. On the day after the Astros’ season ended, Altuve had surgery on his knee. After spending the entire offseason telling people he’s healthy, Altuve is showing improvement over 2018. Between his knee injury and Correa’s back injury, this could explain why they both had down seasons in 2018.
Astros are showing their true colors
The Astros are off to a 10-5 start after losing five of their first seven games on the road. They are riding an eight-game winning streak after the offense emerged during the opening homestand versus the Athletics and Yankees. Via ESPN team stats, the Astros are tied with the Mariners for the best batting average in the AL at .284. While the Mariners still stand tall with 38 homers, the Astros have been hot recently, bumping their total to 22 homers. While one player can’t do it all, Altuve is showing that he can be everything to everyone.
In the last five games, Altuve is batting .429 with six homers and ten RBIs. Altuve has homered in five consecutive games, something that was last done by Cliff Johnson (1975) and Carlos Beltran (2004). The franchise record is six straight games, set by Morgan Ensberg in 2006. According to Sarah Langs, Altuve is the eighth second baseman since 1908 to accomplish five straight games with homers. No second baseman has extended that streak to six consecutive games, which Altuve looks to do today.
Altuve will face Marco Gonzalez, who is already looking for his fifth win of the 2019 season with a 3.16 ERA. Gonzalez is 0-3 with a career 11.42 ERA versus the Astros in three games. Altuve has only had four at-bats versus Gonzalez, with one hit and a walk. There is not enough history behind the two players to predict whether another homer will happen today; but with how hot Altuve has been, the name of the pitcher he is facing does not matter.
With no game tonight, here is an early-ish @LockedOnAstros podcast, part of the @LockedOnPodcast network. The #Astros recall Reymin Guduan and option Framber Valdez. They face a tough matchup in Seattle. https://t.co/dOlyankfiD— Locked On Astros (@LockedOnAstros) April 12, 2019
Altuve is batting .333 with seven homers and 13 RBIs on the season. After all the Alex Bregman MVP talk, Altuve seems to be rising to the occasion early. As he stated, he is not a home run hitter, but he is looking to make good contact at the plate. While it may be enticing to have him participate in the Home Run Derby, let’s not do that to Altuve. Players typically adjust their swings to participate. Hopefully, Altuve can continue his homer streak, but getting the win today is more critical.