Take a bow, Kyle Tucker. A three-home run game for the Astros right fielder, not a bad way to spend his Friday night. On the road to boot.
Following a relatively slow start to his season (114 wRC+ through May 31), at least by his standards, Tucker has come to life this summer, posting a 167 wRC+ since June 1 entering Friday’s game. The timing of this hot streak was also well-timed as Yordan Alvarez has been out since the second week of June.
This was relatively a fine game overall for the Astros, minus the bottom half of the fifth inning. Jeremy Peña picked up two hits and adjusting his leg kick again? Alex Bregman hit a home run, too. The bullpen did well, including Rafael Montero, who has allowed only two runs in his last 10 innings. Ryan Pressly also picked up his 100th career save. In terms of positive news, there was plenty to choose from tonight.
If I were to nitpick, I could point out that Mauricio Dubón at leadoff experiment has about run its course. For context, Dubón and Peña now have the same OPS (.673) on the season. The sooner Jose Altuve returns, the better. Besides a bit of my own discomfort when Framber Valdez had issues in the fifth, I honestly didn’t have much stress from this game despite only a two-run difference.
Most importantly, the Astros gained a game in the Rangers in the AL West. Progress, at least. With the trade deadline approaching, Houston has a real chance to address some deficiencies. It also helps when your two best hitters are scheduled to return in the near future. For the first time since early June, I feel mostly positive about the club’s prospects for the remainder of the season.