At the All-Star break, the Houston Astros find themselves just two games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. While it may seem a disappointing result for the defending World Series champions, a little context demonstrates how impressive the first half has been.
And only one member of the Astros’ rotation last year has been a mainstay this year — All-Star Framber Valdez. The Astros have had to rely on a number of call-ups to replace Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia, both out for the year. And Jose Urquidy is hurt, too, though he could return soon. And while Cristian Javier has remained healthy and pitched well in his first 14 starts, he’s labored through his last three, giving up 18 runs.
While Javier and other Astros get a much-needed break, manager Dusty Baker, outfielder Kyle Tucker, and Valdez are at the All-Star game (though Baker says Valdez will not pitch in the game tomorrow night on two days' rest. That word follows comments from Valdez that he wasn't interested in playing in the game if he didn't start it).
We also discuss the Astros selecting Houstonian Brice Matthews in the first round of the MLB Draft on Sunday. The Astros selected the Atascocita High School alum with the 28th overall pick. Matthews, 21, has been playing shortstop at the University of Nebraska. In 54 games this past season, he hit .359 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He's Nebraska's first ever 20-20 player.