No one could blame Houston Astros’ fans if they felt a little off balance Tuesday. After Monday night’s 0-for-4, Jose Altuve is hitting .248 on the season. If that seems a bit unusual, it is. Working backwards from 2018 back to 2011, Jose’s BA after 29 games played has been .351, .297, .330, .336, .289, .322, .348, .322. The sun comes up and Jose Altuve hits and hits for a high average.
So what happened this season? After 15 games, Jose was on a roll with a slash of .333 BA / .379 OBP / 1.095 OPS. He had just finished cranking 6 homers and 10 RBIs in 5 games after hitting only 1 HR with three RBIs in the first 9 games. Since that point, in the last 14 games, Jose has a not so hot slash of .142 BA / .276 OBP / .541 OPS. He has three runs scored, two home runs and seven RBIs, but outside of the two home runs he hit, he has only 1 run scored and 2 RBIs in his other 47 ABs in that time.
It is pretty easy to say that the success he had for those five games in tattooing the ball like someone built like Aaron Judge has affected his swing and likely the pitches sent his way. Monday night he was lunging trying to pull even the most outside breaking ball without success. The Altuve, who could hit any pitch any direction and into empty spots in the field has been replaced by a pull-happy version, who also looks like he is in a hard swing contest with George Springer.
Has the team been affected by all this? Sure. They were 10-5 after his HR outburst and 7-7 since. Yes, they have had good offensive efforts at times during that period, but they have also had stinkers like last night and for most of the Cleveland series.
Will Jose pull out of this? It would be tough to vote against him, based on his record, but he sure needs to take a look at what he is doing and do something different.