Let's examine which players are heating up at the right time for Astros

Yordan Alvarez continued his hot hitting. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.

The Astros started last week on a sour note, losing three of four games in Kansas City.

The Royals outscored the Astros 16-15 in this series due to Houston's unfamiliarity with Kansas City's pitching staff. With the exception of Mike Minor, Houston was facing the Royals' rotation for the first time. Needless to say, the Astros were happy to leave the City of Fountains and return home to face the Mariners.

Offensive woes didn't seem to be an issue when Seattle came to town, as the Astros outscored their division foe 30-10 over the weekend.

Three Astros' players in particular shined bright during this offensive showcase in Houston.

1). Taylor Jones had his best performance of the season Saturday night against the Mariners.

He recorded three hits and a career-high 4 RBI to help the Astros crush Seattle 15-1. Jones was a last minute replacement for Chas McCormick when he was scratched from the lineup with a sore left hand. He played in left field and had a great throw to get Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager out at home plate.

This last minute addition to the lineup proved to be a great one, as Jones was just one of a few Astros players to have a breakout series and boast season high numbers at the plate.

2). Jose Altuve feasted on some Seattle pitching. The All-Star second basemen had a season-best four hits against the Mariners on Saturday, then followed up with a three-hit performance on Sunday.

Altuve increased his batting average from .272 to .280 over the weekend and looks to be heating up at the right time as the playoffs inch closer and closer.

3). Yordan Alvarez continued his hot hitting as he drove in eight RBI and hit three home runs over the weekend. This was the first time in the young slugger's career in which he hit homers in three consecutive days.

Alvarez's home run on Sunday was his 25th of the season, tying him with Altuve for the team lead in homers.

Even though Houston lost the final game against Seattle on Sunday, they still won the series and gained one game on the Oakland A's. As it currently stands, the Astros lead the A's by 3.5 games in the American League West standings.

Injury Update: Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy is scheduled to pitch the first of two games of a rehab assignment for Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday. If this goes well, the starting pitcher could be back as early as September 1st.

Chas McCormick has sore hand and his injury looks to be day-to-day as it doesn't appear he will have to go on the injured list.

Alex Bregman went 3-8 with four RBI in the two games he played with the Skeeters. The third baseman has made some good progress and looks to be on his way back to the club sooner rather than later. He took some batting practice with the Astros on Saturday and seems to be champing at the bit to return to his team.

Kyle Tucker looks to come back some time this next series off of the COVID-19 injured list. If not this series, he should return in time for this weekend's series in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

Up Next: The Kansas City Royals start another series with the Astros for the final time this season. The first matchup will showcase Zack Greinke vs Daniel Lynch Monday night at 7:10 CDT.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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