Somedays a writer’s brain is over-flowing with thoughts. OK, maybe not overflowing, but enough thoughts to make up a new post…..
Is Yordan trying to be the next Uncle Mike? Granted that Yordan Alvarez strikes out way too much to be truly compared to Michael Brantley, yet. But the 24 year old Alvarez is 10 years younger than Brantley and may have some developing to do. But watching him hit in Friday night’s walk off win over the White Sox made me think he may be learning a bit from one of the finest hitters around. First, he hit down the 3rd base line to beat the shift. Then when they took the shift off – he lined one up the middle for another single. Finally, he won the game by golfing a low inside slider from the toughest left handed reliever around into the right field corner.
Alvarez is not hitting with the consistent power he showed in 2019, but he may be taking the sage advice from Brantley on how to be a complete left handed professional hitter.
Maybe this is why they are talking about a 6 man rotation….. Friday night gave another hint at the toughness, poise and talent of Luis Garcia. He struggled mightily to get out of the first inning with only giving up a run and held the White Sox off during 2nd and 3rd inning rallies on his way to a 7 inning / 1 run outing. The 6 hits he gave up in the first 3 innings was tied for the most he had given up in any full start on the season. In his last 7 starts he is 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA. In his 12 starts he has not given up more than 3 earned runs in any start, has not given up more than the 7 hits he gave up last night, and has not given up more than 3 walks (and not more than 2 in his last 10 starts). This far into his rookie season he is 5-4, with a 2.82 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, 10.2 K/ 9 IP and 2.8 BB/ 9 IP.
It will be a tough decision if they decide to put Garcia into the bullpen. It will certainly be a boost for the bullpen, but what will it do to the rotation?
Stat that flew off the page…. Friday night as the game was sliding towards the late innings the TV staff put up a stat that showed that Yuli Gurriel was leading the majors with a .420 BA from the 7th inning onward. This came to mind when Yuli came up to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning with one out and no one on. He did looked pretty bad swinging and missing on the second strike, but then he battled and fouled off some offerings and squared up a slider just outside and lined it up the middle for a single. He then judged Alvarez’s hit correctly and motored all the way around for an exciting walk-off win.
When Yuli signed that two year contract in the off-season, a lot of folks including me were wondering if he was washed up. Now the only thing that looks better than the $6.5 MM the Astros are paying him this year is the fact they can keep him with a $8 MM team option for next year.
Big things come in small packages – After a terrible 2020, when Jose Altuve was fighting through the cheating accusations from “IT” and was also straining to be worth the uptick of his contract from $9 MM to $29 MM (prorated), the mighty might is looking quite a bit more like the 2017 AL MVP and 2019 ALCS MVP in 2021.
Watching him touch home plate on his walk off grand slam the other day reminded one of how small this guy is compared to his teammates. But it is amazing how much power he has. The home runs he has been hitting lately have not been Crawford Box – Myles Straw-ish pop-up home runs. These have been shot out of a cannon no doubters. He is a wonder, whose 16 home runs to date have put a bit of a lie to the buzzer accusations.
Anyways – those are just some thoughts today on our favorite team. What do you think?