AL MVP

Astros star Jose Altuve wins American League MVP award

Astros star Jose Altuve wins American League MVP award
Jose Altuve takes home his first MVP award. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After much anticipation, it's official: Jose Altuve is your American League Most Valuable Player for 2017. Minute Maid Park will get to continue to chant "MVP!" into the 2018 season when their best player steps up to the plate. 

It should be no surprise that Altuve was able to claim one of the league's top honors for this season, at least for anyone outside of New York who was probably feeling strongly about Aaron Judge after his stellar rookie year. 

Jose had an outstanding regular season, a career year, in fact. He led the AL in hits with 204, making it his fourth straight 200-hit season, and finished with an incredible .346 batting average to earn his third batting title. In addition to the best batting average of his career thus far, Altuve also had his best on-base percentage (.410), slugging percentage (.547) for a combined .957 slugging plus on-base percentage which was third in the AL. 

Altuve was second in the league in runs scored at 112 and in stolen bases at 32. He was also second in WAR, wins above replacement, at 7.9 games, a pretty telling number that shows that without him, the Astros would've been a totally different team. 

He was also solid on the defensive side of the ball, finishing fifth among AL second basemen in fielding percentage at .982 and fourth in assists at 351 while committing 10 errors on the year. 

All in all, even though the postseason is not considered in the MVP voting, Jose's remarkable year was definitely one of the driving forces that led the Astros to their first championship in franchise history. 

It's hard to say if Altuve still would've been named MVP if Judge hadn't had his second-half slump, or if Trout hadn't been sidelined for a chunk of the season, but there's no question that all things considered Altuve deserved to be in the running, and it's no surprise he won this year and should continue to be a contender for years to come. 

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Astros defeat Marlins, 4-3. Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images.

Alex Bregman had three RBIs and his tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning lifted the Houston Astros to a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.

The game was tied at 2 with one out in the seventh when Chas McCormick reached on a throwing error by rookie shortstop Xavier Edwards. There were two outs in the inning when Bregman sent an off-speed pitch from Huascar Brazobán (1-2) into the seats in left field to make it 4-2.

“Our offense has been swinging the bat really well and swinging to good pitches over this last stretch,” Bregman said. “And today was one of those days that we didn’t really have too much traffic on the bases, but we found a way to get it done.”

The victory was Houston’s seventh straight at home and comes after the Astros dropped the final two games of a series at Minnesota last weekend.

Ronel Blanco (9-3) allowed four hits and two runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings for the win.

“He’s got guts,” manager Joe Espada said. “He goes out there, he competes, he understands what’s at stake and that we needed a good outing after losing a series in Minnesota... he gave us a chance to win and that’s what he’s been doing all year."

Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a leadoff homer for the Marlins and Jesús Sánchez’s solo homer tied it in the seventh before Bregman’s go-ahead shot.

Chisholm singled with two outs in the eighth and stole second base. The Marlins cut the lead to one when he scored on a single by Bryan De La Cruz. Josh Hader walked one in a scoreless ninth for his 16th save.

Miami starter Trevor Rogers permitted six hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings before Brazobán took over.

Chisholm sent Blanco’s fourth pitch into the seats in right field to give Miami an early lead. De La Cruz singled after that before Blanco settled in.

He retired the next 17 batters, with six strikeouts, before De La Cruz walked with two outs in the sixth. Blanco then struck out Josh Bell to end the inning.

Jake Meyers singled with two outs in the second before a walk by Mauricio Dubón. The Astros tied it at 1-1 when Meyers scored on a single by McCormick.

Dubón doubled to start Houston’s fifth but was out on a fielder’s choice that allowed McCormick to reach. McCormick stole second base and the Astros took a 2-1 lead when he scored on a single by Bregman.

Sánchez tied it when he connected off Blanco on a shot to left field to start the seventh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander, who has been out since June 16 with neck stiffness, is playing catch every other day but isn’t sure when he’ll return.

“It really just depends on each step, so if it continues to progress the way I would like, hopefully it’s not too long,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t even know what too long means as I say that though. So, it could be very soon. It could be a few weeks.”

UP NEXT

Houston LHP Framber Valdez (7-5, 3.84 ERA) opposes RHP Bryan Hoeing (0-1, 1.99) when the series continues Wednesday night.

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