Springer puts all-around game on display
Outfielder hits 2 HRs, makes pair of diving catches
HOUSTON -- George Springer may have played his best all-around game in the Major Leagues on Monday night. He hit a couple of homers, made a couple of diving catches in right field and was the kind of dynamic presence offensively and defensively the Astros know he can be.
Springer, of course, was proudest of what he did defensively, especially his tremendous catch in the sixth inning with one out and runners at first and second base to take a hit away from DJ LeMahieu in the Astros' 6-3 win over the Rockies. He blasted solo homers in the second and seventh innings for his second career multi-homer game.
"That's an opportunity to help us even more, especially in an inning where they were starting to get somebody on base, and I'll take that," Springer said when asked about his defense.
Springer's offense has been pretty good lately, too. He went 3-for-4 against Colorado with the two homers, extending his season-long hitting streak to eight games. He's hitting .500 (16-for-32) during that stretch, with six extra-base hits, and has raised his batting average to .269.
"He's contributing in every facet," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He leads off the game -- bam -- first pitch and he's on base. [Carlos] Correa gets a base hit and now we have an inning developing. He's playing complete baseball on both sides of the ball and we're watching him mature right in front of our eyes, and he's an exciting player when he puts things together."
Hinch told Springer on Friday he was moving him from the leadoff spot and keeping him in the No. 3 hole, a move that didn't last long because Jose Altuve, who had moved back into the leadoff spot, strained a hamstring. Now that Altuve could return to the lineup Tuesday, Hinch isn't so sure he'll move Springer back down to the third spot.
"I like George in a lot of different roles and areas because he doesn't change his mindset or his approach," he said. "When he's a leadoff guy, he's three-hole guy hitting leadoff. When he hits third, you can call him a leadoff guy hitting third. I don't think he cares where he hits. I know he's very comfortable right now. I'm comfortable what I'm seeing."
Springer leads the team with a .373 on-base percentage because he has 36 walks -- he's also struck out 66 times in 59 games -- but Hinch says Springer has some of the best strike-zone judgment on the team.
"He strikes out a little bit and also walks a ton," he said. "He's got a great eye and makes good decisions on what balls to swing at, what balls to take, even the borderline ones. I'm not surprised at how comfortable he is in any spot in the order. I don't think he changes his approach a ton. I do think he's tamed his overall effort and his swing a little bit, but I think George is a terrific offensive player and very well-rounded."