Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
The Astros faced the Rangers for game two of three on Tuesday night. Here's a quick recap:
Final Score: Rangers 6, Astros 4
Record: 2-4, fourth in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Shawn Kelley (2-0).
Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (0-1).
Star of the game: Carlos Correa looked as healthy as ever in this game, providing some bright spots in the disappointing loss. Correa saved a run in the top of the first, laying out for a ball and throwing it to first just in time for the third out. He also worked a walk at the plate along with a big RBI-double which at the time tied the game.
Notes: George Springer helped Houston get ahead early for the second straight night, starting the game with a single before moving to second on a walk, stealing third, then scoring on an RBI groundout by Michael Brantley. Springer would strike again with a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, extending the lead to 2-0. The Rangers took advantage of Justin Verlander missing his spots in the bottom of the second, tying the game on a two-run home run. After getting two on with no outs in the top of the fifth, Tony Kemp would convert one run with an RBI-groundout to give the Astros the lead back at 3-2. After a strong fourth inning, Verlander got roughed up again in the bottom of the fifth, giving up two runs on three hits and a hit batter all before getting an out in the inning, prompting the end of his night, leaving the game with his team down 4-3. Will Harris came out of the bullpen and did a great job to get out of the mess he inherited, keeping it a one-run game. Carlos Correa came through to tie the game with an RBI-double in the next inning, but the Rangers would go back in front off of Framber Valdez with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. The 6-4 score would go final to even the series.
Up next: Houston will play the rubber match to try and win the series tomorrow night with another 7:05 PM first pitch. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for Houston and will try to even his record at 1-1 with a win, while Mike Minor will try to do the same on the bump for the Rangers.
It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.
Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.
While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.
On Yordan Alvarez the leader, one of two constants in a clubhouse bracing for change and the responsibility he wants to shoulder as a result - https://t.co/sZGlI5taBQ
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 21, 2024
Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.
Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.
Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.
He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.
So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?
Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.
One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.
Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.
So what does all this mean for Yordan?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.