All the Homers for Altuve
Jose Altuve is experiencing a power binge unlike any other that he has seen in his career. The 28-year-old second baseman blasted his seventh home run of the season on Saturday -- a 411 foot solo blast off of Felix Hernandez in the fifth inning -- helping to power the Astros to victory over the Mariners.
In doing so, Altuve became the first player to homer in five consecutive games this season. It also extended his already personal best home run streak. He has now swatted six total home runs over his last five games.
On Sunday, he’ll attempt to match the Astros’ franchise record of six consecutive games, achieved by Morgan Ensberg in April of 2006. To do so, he’ll need to square something up off of Marco Gonzales. He has very little history to draw from, as he’s just 1-for-4 with a single against the Mariners’ southpaw.
Altuve’s career high for home runs in a season is 24, which he achieved in both 2016, and again during his MVP-winning 2017 campaign. In each of those seasons though, Altuve didn’t club his seventh home run until May. Perhaps we’re witnessing him taking his game to new heights in 2019.
With his 2-for-4 effort on Saturday, Altuve is now hitting .333/.379/.717 with the aforementioned seven homers, 13 RBI and one stolen base through his first 15 games. Fantasy owners would probably like to see him run a bit more, but they’ll certainly live with the stellar power production that he has provided.
Davis Off the Schneid
The hit snapped an MLB record streak of 54 consecutive at-bats without a base hit dating back to September 14 of last season. He had been 0-for-33 to begin the 2019 season.
Davis has been the butt of jokes nationwide over the past week due to his streak of ineptitude at the plate combined with the awful long-term contract that the Orioles are still on the hook for (he’s still owed another $92 million through the 2022 season).
For his part though, he has handled the entire situation with grace and even jokingly asked for the baseball after he reached first base on Saturday. With the monkey off of his back, it didn’t take Davis long to tally his next hit, as he delivered a run-scoring double in the fifth inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
He wasn’t finished though. On a true heater, Davis also doubled off of Tyler Thornburg to lead off the eighth inning. In total, he finished the afternoon 3-for-5, raising his season average to .079.
He’s unlikely to return to mixed league fantasy relevance this season, but Davis still has enough power in his left-handed bat that he should be an asset in AL-only formats as long as the Orioles keep trotting him out there.
The Rangers, who are already playing without starting first baseman Ronald Guzman, lost another quarter of their Opening Day infield on Saturday when it was announced that Rougned Odor was heading to the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain.
Odor was a surprise late scratch from their starting lineup on Friday, with what was then termed as “right knee soreness”, but it appears as though the injury is a bit more serious than that.
As of now, the Rangers still seem optimistic that Odor will not miss a substantial amount of time. He’s going to be on the shelf for at least two weeks, but there’s a chance that barring any setbacks he could return to the Rangers’ starting lineup before the end of April.
To help cover the loss of another potent bat in the middle of their lineup, the Rangers purchased the contract of Danny Santana from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. He was scheduled to start at second base and bat seventh against the Athletics on Saturday before the game was postponed due to rain.
Santana was off to a nice start at Triple-A, slashing .343/.425/.514 with six RBI and a stolen base in his first nine games. He has just enough power and speed that he could be relevant in AL-only formats if he sees regular playing time while Odor is on the shelf.
American League Quick Hits: According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, Craig Kimbrel’s agent was still looking for a deal in the five-year, $100 million range in late March. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that Kimbrel is still seeking a three-year pact in the $15 million/year range. … Miguel Sano was able to take on-field batting practice for the first time on Saturday. He’s expected to start working at extended spring training next week, with a return date not likely until mid-May. … Nicholas Castellanos was held out of the Tigers’ lineup again on Saturday due to a sprained right big toe. Teammate Niko Goodrum also missed Saturday’s contest due to illness. … Wade LeBlanc is expected to miss at least one start after leaving Friday’s outing with a strained right oblique… The Astros are transitioning prospect Myles Straw from the outfield to shortstop. … Jordy Mercer was forced to leave Saturday’s game against the Twins, and was subsequently placed on the 10-day IL with a right quad spasm. … Billy Hamilton (knee) was held out of the Royals starting lineup again on Saturday, but was available off the bench. … CC Sabathia was terrific in his season debut, allowing just one hit over five shutout innings against the White Sox… Christian Vazquez homered and drove in a career-high four runs as the Red Sox beat the Orioles. … Blake Snell punched out nine over six shutout innings of one-hit baseball in a tough luck no decision. … Clay Buchholz surrendered just one run over six strong innings in his Blue Jays debut. … Homer Bailey turned back the clock on Saturday, racking up six strikeouts over seven shutout innings in a victory over the Indians. … Justin Verlander picked up his second victory, striking out 11 while allowing just one run on two hits over his six frames against the Mariners.
National League Quick Hits: Brandon Belt was a late scratch from the Giants’ starting lineup on Saturday due to a stiff neck. He’s considered day-to-day. … Jameson Taillon (head) was officially cleared to make his scheduled start on Sunday against the Nationals. … The Braves recalled Touki Toussaint from Triple-A Gwinnett. He’ll work out of the bullpen initially, but still has long-term mixed league fantasy appeal. … Brian McCann (hamstring) will not require a minor league rehab assignment and is expected to rejoin the Braves when first eligible on Wednesday. … Kyle Freeland was forced to exit his start against the Giants after only 76 pitches due to a blister. He said afterwards that the injury wasn’t a big deal and that he expects to make his next scheduled star. t… Chris Archer struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck no-decision against the Nationals. … Sean Doolittle notched his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning against the Pirates. … Adam Eaton had three hits, including a game-tying home run in the eighth inning to lead the comeback for the Nats. … Kevin Pillar clubbed his fourth home run in five games as the Giants beat the Rockies. … Caleb Smith struck out six over six innings of one-hit shutout baseball as the Marlins clobbered the Phillies… Austin Dean went 4-for-4 with a homer, triple, five RBI and three runs scored to lead the attack… Derek Dietrich swatted a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning, leading the Reds past the Cardinals… Jason Vargas recorded just one out in a miserable start against the Braves on Saturday. … Fernando Tatis Jr. blasted his fourth home run in a win over the Diamondbacks. … Kirby Yates struck out three in a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday, nabbing his National League-leading ninth save of the season. … Matt Strahm fired five scoreless innings in that one, striking out five, but was forced to take a no-decision after the Padres’ bullpen surrendered his lead. … Cody Bellinger smashed his National League-leading ninth home run as the Dodgers fell to the Brewers. … Touki Toussaint did amazing work out of the Braves’ bullpen, striking out seven over six shutout innings after coming in for the ineffective Sean Newcomb.