Do you know when you know when someone is really good?
When going 1-4 with 1 RBI and 1 run seems kind of like a disappointment. That shows how high Jose Altuve has raised our expectations. As a fan of the game, it is really fun to see. I remember that feeling with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, and Moises Alou, Billy Spiers, or Tony Eusebio in a clutch at bat. They just regularly delivered. And so does Jose Altuve.
Obligatory MLB Batting Title Race Update:
1.) Jose Altuve: .342 (1-4 tonight)
2.) Victor Martinez: .336 (1-4 tonight)
It is going to come down to the wire, and it is going to be exciting paying close attention to every at bat for each of these two during the final weekend of regular season baseball. I remember scoreboard watching during the Astros' last playoff runs in the mid-2000's, and this is a welcome reminder to those fun times. Following Altuve and Martinez also whets my appetite for once again scoreboard watching, and playing meaningful games in September. It will happen soon my friends, it will happen soon.
The telecast showed some George Springer highlights, and it made me realize how much I missed seeing him play baseball. The man can simply demolish baseballs, and the duo of Springer and Carter will hopefully be one of the hardest hitting duos in the game next year. Off the top of my head; the dynamic duos of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are certainly up there, along with the power-hitting duo of Miguel Cabrera and
J.D. Victor Martinez. Interestingly enough, I actually got more excited about Springer's return next year when they started showing some of his amazing catches in RF. I think an outfield of Fowler/Marisnick/Springer also might be one of the rangiest outfields in the game. All 3 can play a solid CF. I have been a little tough on Fowler's defense in CF before, but he made a very nice sliding catch coming in hard on a shallow flare to center. There were also runners on 1st and 2nd at the time, so if that drops, it definitely changes the complexion of the ballgame.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on Brad Peacock's night. He only pitched 4.2 innings, and it took him 96 pitches to do so. That is not what you consider a very economical night, but the positive is that he only gave up 1 ER, and he struck out 7. This is almost a microcosm of his brief career - tantalizing at times, but very average at other times. Maybe it is just me, but after 83.1 innings last year, and roughly 130 more this year, I still don't know what to expect! He is still only 26, so there is certainly room for growth, but I just hope that the front office has a better idea of his career projection than I do.
The bullpen deserves some kudos, as they were asked to pitch just about half of the game; 4.1 innings. They came in and shut the door, pitching 1 hit baseball. Kevin Chapman relieved Peacock, and gave up the 1 hit in his .2 innings, Jorge De Leon pitched .2 innings of perfect baseball, Tony Sipp followed with 2 perfect innings, and lastly Chad Qualls picked up his 19th save with a perfect ninth.
This win also puts the Astros at an even 70-90. With 51 total wins last year, let's hope that they can finish with a minimum 20 game increase in the win column. Tune in over the weekend to find out!