The Astros’ offense has gotten off to a hot start to begin the 2021 season, and much of that success has been due to some torrid production from Houston’s top stars.
Even in Houston’s first defeat of the season, a 7-6 loss to the Angels on Monday at Angel Stadium, the top of the order still managed to do damage. Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa combined for four of Houston’s RBIs on the night and went a collective 9-for-23 at the plate.
Altuve, Gurriel and Bregman hit three consecutive singles off Angels lefty José Quintana to start the night, with Bregman bringing in the game’s first run. The trio’s singles all registered as hard-hit balls that came off the bat with exit velocities above 95 mph, according to Statcast.
Correa followed with a one-out RBI single to left field on a ball that had an exit velocity of 116.4 mph, which was the second hardest-hit ball of the day in MLB.
Astros manager Dusty Baker said the top half of his lineup has continued to provide some offensive spark to start this season.
“They should have had some more [hits], especially Correa,” Baker said. “He hit a couple of balls on the nose. If you keep swinging and you keep hitting the ball hard like that, something is going to happen.”
The Astros’ offense has been historic to start the season. In Sunday’s win over the A’s, they became just the fourth team since 1900 to average eight or more runs per game in its first four games in MLB history.
The Astros’ offense currently tops the Majors in homers (nine, tied with the Giants), RBIs (37) and runs (41).
Though he was sixth in the lineup on Monday, right fielder Kyle Tucker has also been a key contributor to the Astros’ offensive success. On Monday, Tucker’s ninth-inning home run off of Angels reliever Mike Mayers extended his RBI streak to start the season to five straight games. The streak set a franchise record for most consecutive games with an RBI to start the season.
Baker said the at-bat from Tucker showed just how resilient he can be.
“That was a determination at-bat in the ninth,” Baker said. “If he continues to have those kinds of at-bats, then [Tucker’s] gonna hit a ton. We have him in that spot [in the order] because he’s usually a very good RBI man.”
The left-handed slugger, who leads the club with eight RBIs, said his ability to drive in runs is more of a testament to his teammates’ ability to get on base ahead of him.
“RBIs are just a testament to the guys in front of me getting on base,” Tucker said. “We’ve scored a lot of runs lately and guys have been getting on base, so that’s just the goodness of them to just getting on base and having opportunities for us to drive them in.”
Even though the top of order has hit well, Baker said he is still looking for the bottom half of the order to come through.
“We know that they’re better than they started and you know, they’re right around the corner from getting it together,” Baker said.