The Astros hit five second inning home runs in a Monday night “Boston Massacre” of the Red Sox, highlighted by a three-run homer courtesy of Michael Brantley – who continues to be the best hitter you hear the least about.
Manager Dusty Baker has his Houston Astros absolutely rolling. Entering Wednesday, Houston had won eight of their last 10 games. The stretch included the manager’s historic 2,011th victory Tuesday night when they became the eighth team in Major League history to hit five home runs in an inning. The biggest was a three-run shot coming off the bat of Michael “The Professional” Brantley.
The Astros hot streak coincides with Brantley collecting 11 hits – seven consecutive – in his last 12 games.
Michael Brantley, professional hitter. pic.twitter.com/dmlxOp7iop
— Houston Astros (@astros) April 13, 2022
During that seven-game stretch, Brantley is 9-for-27 for a .333 batting average, an on-base percentage above .450, five walks, five RBI, a home run and six runs scored.
This new-age Astros lineup is filled with some of the best young talent in the Majors, coming into this season following the experience of playing in last year’s World Series.
Yordan Alverez, Jeremy Pena and Kyle Tucker are among the younger faces accounting for a significant majority of the Astros offense this season, yet currently the veteran Brantley still stands atop of the team lead in average and sits second in on base percentage.
Brantley, like Baker, still has not gotten the opportunity to hoist the World Series trophy in his career, but the five time All-Star has steadily put up championship-level numbers at the plate since 2019.
Over these last three seasons, Brantley has never had his batting average below .300. Brantley celebrated his 35th birthday on the 15th of May, finishing his game that day against the Nationals 1-for-5.
Thursday, Brantley and the Astros will be in Space City for a weekend series against Taylor Hearn, Marcus Seimien and the Texas Rangers.
These early season American League West matchups are tone setters for the rest of the year in what I think will be one of the more competitive divisions in the Majors.
Each team besides the Athletics – whose Moneyball philosophy has them looking like a shell of their former selves – made additions and improvement to their rosters in hopes of snatching the division championship from Houston who has taken the crown four times in the last five years.
George Springer and Michael Brantley reunite. It’s a beautiful moment. pic.twitter.com/7VIj1HGsZn
— Julia Morales (@JuliaMorales) May 7, 2021
Even with the Angels having the two of the best players in the game’s history, the Rangers adding a home run record breaker and the Mariners adding last year’s American League Cy Young winner, I still give Brantley and his Astros the upper hand in the division if he can be the straw that stirs this new core’s drink.