LANCE ZIERLEIN

Is 2018 Bregman greater than 2017 Altuve?

Alex Bregman is killing it. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Right off the jump, I feel like I have to tell you that Jose Altuve is the greatest Astro of all-time. I already know that the Biggio and Bagwell fans will get mad at that, but I’ve already made my point in the past and I’m right. All Altuve is waiting for is time to pass before he’s recognized by every Astros fan as the greatest Astro.

His 2017 MVP Award was an incredible stamp on what was an incredible season for the Houston Astros and all of us living vicariously through the most entertaining and likeable team in Houston sports history. Alex Bregman was a huge part of the championship run last year and will find himself in the top 5 voting for MVP this season. However, a look at both players’ performances in wins and losses shows that Bregman might be even more “valuable” to the 2018 Astros than even Altuve was to the 2017 team.

Altuve 2017

Split

 G  

 R  

 H    

 2B 

 3B 

 HR 

 RBI 

 SB 

 BB 

 BA   

 OBP 

 SLG 

 OPS   

in Wins

 94

 91

 140

 31

 4

 14

 59

 23

 40

 .378

 .445

 .597

 1.042

in Losses

 59

 21

 64

 8

 0

 10

 22

 9

 18

 .291

 .350

 .464

 .813

Bregman 2018

Split

 G  

 R  

 H    

 2B 

 3B 

 HR 

 RBI 

 SB 

 BB 

 BA   

 OBP 

 SLG 

 OPS   

in Wins

 83

 72

 108

 37

 1

 19

 64

 6

 54

 .333

 .434

 .630

 1.063

in Losses

 53

 22

 46

 9

 0

 9

 27

 4

 25

 .234

 .330

 .416

 .747

There are still games to be played, but these Astros are on a very similar win pace to last season’s team. The Astros suffered through pitching injuries last season, but the lineup stayed dangerous. Bregman has had to keep things afloat despite injuries to George Springer, Carlos Correa, and even Jose Altuve.

When the team wins, as noted by the stats, Bregman has had a great deal to do with the “W”. And when he doesn’t hit well, they lose. These numbers clearly show how directly responsible Bregman has been for the Astros success this year. Bregman won’t win the MVP and may not even finish in the top 3, but it’s clear that when discussing “valuable”, Bregman deserves to be at the top.

Fantasy Football Sleeper

Keep a close eye on Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron. There is a better than average chance that he’s on the free agent list of your league unless you are in a deeper (or sharper league). Ebron caught 5 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown with Luck under center in game three of the preseason.

While Ebron never really lived up to the hype in Detroit, the Colts will be relying heavily on their tight ends in their passing game. On top of that, Andrew Luck’s arm strength could be an issue early on so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ebron challenge for “safety blanket” status for Luck.

 

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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