Altuve Fires Up Another 4-Hit Day

Jose Altuve

 

Even if the Astros pitching staff picked Sunday in Baltimore to remind us of their identity as the Astros going forward greatest vulnerability to autumn heartache, little Jose Altuve, our “Mucho Bueno Muchacho” of all MLB hitters, large and small,  was out there firing – and heating things up as  per usual. His latest 4 for 5 day included a double and a 3-run homer that almost combined with another 3-run dinger  by our other Munchkin-size disappointment killer, Nori Aoki, but it wasn’t to be. Our pitching couldn’t keep the Orioles from scoring early and as often as they needed to resist all of our attempts at getting back into the game.

It was almost as if the Astros pitching staff got together and decided to send this message: “Hey, Mr. Jeff Luhnow! Better not forget us as the trade deadline nears!”

At any rate, another big day at the plate by Altuve, accompanied by a no hit day by his nearest batting championship competitor, Jean Segura of Seattle, now opens up a .030 point lead for our guy’s bid on a third AL batting championship.

Yuli Gurriel has spent the weekend falling out of the .300 mark he found on Friday, but that could change on a dime with this guy. He is a really, really good hitter. Evan Gattis also fell back to .285 yesterday, but hopefully he will change his mind and decide to give the .290’s a longer stay next time.

Now it’s on to Philadelphia, where we get to experience the “real baseball” thrill of watching our pitchers also try to bat and smile at the same time. I know our good friend Larry Dierker hates the DH, but even he said it best when he picked the title for his first book. “It Ain’t Brain Surgery,” is it?

Now we’re seeing a whole culture of young pitchers reach the AL without any serious batting time under competitive game pressure. Can that really be cured with a little regular time in the batting cage? Or are they still going to feel as though they are now being asked to do something that is not part of their job by actually batting? I would prefer seeing them working on the pitching problems they showed us yesterday. If McCullers can’t locate his release point, he needs to do whatever he and the staff see him doing to work that out – not taking BP.

As for me, I can live with DH or traditional pitcher hitting baseball – as long as we find the guts to commit to staying with either one choice or the other – over time. The only way to change the culture over time is to control the game’s expectation of its players over time. For now, at least, the AL/NL simply play very similar, but quite different games. It makes common sense. For the one game of baseball to go forward with strength and integrity, we need to see one brand or the other going forward. Not both.

Another fly in the soup. The weekend sports section of the Houston Chronicle had an article citing the possibility that Commissioner Manfred may be ready to impose that 20 second clock on the maximum time pitchers will have next year between deliveries. Apparently he thinks a change like that will speed up the tempo of the game.

Oh, really? Well what’s it going to do to a young pitcher like McCullers if he can’t find his release point? Is that clock going to hurry him into finding it sooner? I don’t think so. Those brief meetings between a catcher and his pitcher are part of the game. Getting rid of them is not the solution.

Enough already. It’s only Monday.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THROUGH GAMES OF SUNDAY, JULY 23, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 374 134 28 2 15 .358
2 JEAN SEGURA SEA 299 98 18 0 6 .328
3 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 363 118 30 5 17 .325
4 CARLOS CORREA HOU 325 104 18 1 20 .320
5 BEN GAMEL SEA 297 95 19 2 6 .320
NR * MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 256 82 16 0 18 .320
6 ERIC HOSMER KC 368 116 20 1 15 .315
7 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 366 114 22 0 27 .311
8 DUSTIN PEDROIA BOS 318 99 16 0 6 .311
9 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 331 103 17 3 13 .311
10 AARON JUDGE NYY 339 105 13 3 32 .310
17 JOSH REDDICK HOU 299 90 23 3 9 .301
21 YULI GURRIEL HOU 330 97 27 0 13 .294

NR * = NEEDS MORE “AB”S TO QUALIFY FOR RANKING.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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One Response to “Altuve Fires Up Another 4-Hit Day”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Banning batting gloves as was suggested by someone (Larry Dierker?) would speed up the pace of the game.

    I don’t like the new automatic intentional walk rule, because of all the things that could happen: the pitcher overthrowing the catcher allowing a baserunner to advance; throwing a pitch over the plate for a strike, tricking the batter; or having a batter reach out and hit a ball.

    Get rid of the DH and force the pitchers to own a bat and know how to use it. I’m afraid the next change will be placing a runner on second base at the start of extra innings.

    Can the commissioner be impeached?

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