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#pounditTuesday, December 1, 2020

Articles tagged: Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve got screwed by bad call on check swing

Jose Altuve check swing

Jose Altuve got no help from the umpires during an at-bat in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. on Tuesday night.

Altuve was batting against Tampa Bay Rays closer Diego Castillo in the bottom of the ninth. The Houston Astros had runners on first and second with one out, which gave Altuve a chance to tie the 5-2 game with a 3-run home run.

Altuve worked the count to 2-2 before the pitch in question. Castillo threw a nasty breaking ball that Altuve offered at, but the Astros second baseman held back on his check swing.

Unfortunately for Houston, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson said Altuve went around and called him out. There was no appeal to first base umpire Ted Barrett, who would have had a better look at the play.

The strikeout made it two outs in the inning. The next batter was Michael Brantley, who flied out to end the game.

Tampa Bay won the game 5-2 to take a 3-0 series lead. Altuve already was having a rough enough game in the field. Having the bat taken out of his hands on that call probably just made his evening even more painful.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Jose Altuve has developed the yips in the ALCS and is costing Houston

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve picked a really bad time to start having problems in the field.

The Houston Astros second baseman committed yet another throwing error in the ALCS. During Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif., Altuve bounced a throw to second base.

Instead of getting a double play and holding a 1-0 lead with two outs in the top of the sixth, Houston allowed the Rays to have runners on first and second with nobody out. Tampa Bay ended up breaking the game open with five runs in the inning.

That’s bad, but the unfortunate issue for the Astros and Altuve is this has become a trend.

In Game 2 of the series on Monday, Altuve made a throwing error on a ball that would have ended the inning in the first. Instead, the next batter was Manuel Margot, who hit a 3-run home run. Altuve made another throwing error in the third, though it did not lead to any runs for Tampa Bay.

Altuve had an uncharacteristically poor regular season and batted .219/.286/.344 with a .629 OPS. He only had four fielding errors in the regular season. He has made four throwing errors in this postseason alone, and his throwing errors in the ALCS have led to eight Rays runs.

Many baseball fans probably have very little sympathy for Altuve over his struggles after his role in the cheating scandal.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Jose Altuve, George Springer lose top status on video game amid season struggles

Jose Altuve

Some Houston Astros star players are struggling this season, and that has been reflected in reduced player ratings in a popular video game.

“MLB The Show 20” assigns players overall ratings for the game. Anyone who has an 85-or-higher rating receives a diamond; 80-84 is gold; 75-79 is silver; and bronze is 65-74.

Due to their poor starts to the 2020 season, both Jose Altuve and George Springer have dropped from diamond ratings to gold ones.

Altuve was the No. 1-ranked second baseman prior to the start of the season, and his 85 rating made him the only diamond-quality player at the position. With an 85 ranking, Springer also had diamond status. For context, Mike Trout received the highest overall rating at 95, and the next highest players were Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer at 92.

Springer has dropped to an 82 as of the most recent game update, while Altuve is an 81.

The ratings drops make sense given how the players have performed this year.

Springer is batting .189/.338/.377 this season. Altuve is batting .171/.244/.305 and has been dropped to the seventh spot in the team’s lineup. Some fans have a very good idea about the reason for the players’ struggles, though the solid play from Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley runs contrary to the popular theory.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Video: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman hit by pitches in scrimmage vs. Royals

Alex Bregman

Houston Astros stars Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were hit by pitches in consecutive at-bats during Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Kansas City Royals. Is that a sign of things to come this season? Maybe, but in this case it seems highly unlikely that it was intentional.

Altuve and Bregman were both hit by pitches from Royals right-hander Jorge Lopez in the second inning. The bases were loaded each time, and the pitches looked more like they simply got away from Lopez. See for yourself:

On one hand, you could say there is no better time to throw at Astros hitters than during a meaningless game with the bases loaded. The game doesn’t count, so giving up the runs isn’t costly. Plunking Altuve and Bregman with the bases loaded also removes some of the suspicion because, well, who would do that?

All that said, it just wouldn’t have made sense for Lopez to hit consecutive batters in that spot. The 27-year-old is coming off a rough season in which he compiled a 6.33 ERA in 39 appearances. His only focus should be proving to the Royals that he is worthy of a bullpen spot, not sending messages to Astros players because of their cheating scandal.

Bregman has unintentionally advocated for him and his teammates to be thrown at this season, so it would not be a surprise if it happens at some point. We’re fairly certain Lopez wasn’t trying to be the first to do it.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Jose Altuve appears to send message by showing off collarbone tattoo

Carlos Correa offered an explanation last week for why Jose Altuve did not want his teammates tearing off his jersey after the second baseman belted a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS, and Altuve may have tried to provide further evidence on Monday.

Correa told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that Altuve did not want his jersey ripped off in celebration because Altuve had “an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible.” Naturally, fans flocked to social media to see if they could find any photos of Altuve shirtless that would confirm or deny what Correa said. Then on Monday, Altuve walked around bare-chested in front of a group of reporters in the clubhouse. There was, indeed, a tattoo on his left collarbone.

The tattoo says “Melanie,” which is Altuve’s 3-year-old daughter’s name, and has a heart. We still don’t know when Altuve got the tattoo or why it would have looked horrible at one point, but it seems like he was intentionally flashing the ink to reporters.

Rumors flew last month that Altuve did not want his jersey torn off because he was hiding an electronic buzzer that some Astros players wore to help them steal signs.

Those who are fully invested in this investigation pointed out that Altuve shared a photo on Instagram last July that showed him without a shirt on. That would have been a few months before the ALCS, and he did not have a tattoo at the time. The photo was captioned “Off Day,” and the Astros were off on July 29.

As expected, we really don’t have any answers. Altuve has a tattoo now. There’s no way of knowing when he got it, what it looked like unfinished, or if he was actually embarrassed to show it off. What we do know is that fans aren’t the only ones mocking the tattoo excuse.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Adam Jones has a laugh over Carlos Correa’s tattoo explanation for Jose Altuve

Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa has decided to dig his heels in and defend the Houston Astros against some of the criticism they are facing, and former MLB star Adam Jones found one thing Correa said about the scandal particularly entertaining.

Jones, who now plays professionally in Japan, admitted in a tweet on Saturday that he has been watching the Astros cheating scandal unfold from a distance, but he couldn’t resist mocking Correa over the Houston shortstop’s explanation for why Jose Altuve did not want teammates ripping his jersey off. Correa said Altuve had an unfinished tattoo at the time that “looked terrible.”

Altuve was seen pleading with his teammates to not tear off his jersey in celebration after he hit a walk-off home run off of Aroldis Chapman in the ALCS last season. That led to speculation that Altuve may have been wearing a buzzer. Altuve’s explanation for why he didn’t want the jersey torn off only made him look more suspicious, and it’s strange that he wouldn’t have just admitted he had a tattoo he didn’t want people seeing.

Many Astros players have remained quiet while the media, fans and opponents criticize them, but Correa has been pretty aggressive in defending his team. We can assure you Jones isn’t the only one who found the tattoo excuse laughable.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Cody Bellinger not buying Jose Altuve’s electronic buzzer excuse

Jose Altuve buzzer

Cody Bellinger is among the most dissatisfied players in MLB over the Houston Astros’ cheating and the team’s lack of remorse and penalties from MLB.

Bellinger took a shot at both the Astros and Red Sox in January over the allegations. He also shared his concerns over the allegations about some of the Astros’ top players wearing electronic buzzers to receive stolen signals.

On Friday, Bellinger spoke from the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona. He shared his doubts about Jose Altuve’s behavior and explanation after hitting a walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the World Series last season.

Bellinger’s questions about the matter represent exactly why so many fans were concerned and outraged. Altuve’s behavior did not make much sense. And then when you see former Astros manager A.J. Hinch’s initial comments about the buzzers, it’s hard not to feel like the rumors were all true.

Bellinger, the reigning NL MVP, had much more to say about the Astros, Rob Manfred, and Jim Crane.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Jose Altuve labeled ‘Astros Cheater’ in LA news station TV graphic

Jose Altuve was one of a number of Houston Astros players who apologized for the team’s sign-stealing scandal on Thursday, but one local news station in Los Angeles clearly is not ready to forgive the star infielder.

Altuve and Alex Bregman both issued very scripted apologies at the start of a press conference the Astros held. While showing the clip of Altuve’s apology on live TV, KTLA in Los Angeles ran a graphic at the bottom of the screen that described Altuve as “Astros Cheater.”

As some have pointed out, a Pittsburgh-area news station fired an employee who was responsible for labeling Tom Brady a “known cheater” in a TV graphic a year ago. It’s unclear if there will be any repercussions for whoever was responsible for the Altuve graphic.

The Astros, of course, defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, so they don’t have many fans in the LA area. Dodgers supporters also probably did not appreciate what Houston owner Jim Crane had to say about the illegal sign-stealing impacting the outcome of games.

Major League Baseball has confirmed that the Astros cheated, so calling their players cheaters seems pretty fair.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve apologize for Astros cheating in scripted presser

Alex Bregman

The Houston Astros are suddenly sorry for cheating their way to a World Series title in 2017.

Astros owner Jim Crane said last month that he would get his players together at the start of spring training to apologize “with a strong statement as a team,” and apparently what happened on Thursday was his idea of that. As part of a cringeworthy scripted press conference, Astros stars Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve issued very brief statements expressing remorse for their roles in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal. They took no questions.

“I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me,” Bregman said. “I’ve learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans.”

Altuve said the whole Astros organization “feels bad about what happened in 2017.”

As if the insincere apologies weren’t enough, Crane then addressed the media and said the team believes their World Series title was not a product of the elaborate sign-stealing scheme.

“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game,” Crane said. “We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.”

Crane also addressed the allegations that the Astros used electronic buzzers as part of their cheating. Like former manager AJ Hinch the day before, Crane said he does not believe that ever happened.

The owner also said he does not feel he should be held accountable for the cheating scandal because “clearly the report states that I didn’t know about it.”

The Astros probably would have been better off not addressing the scandal and just moving on to 2020. Bregman already made his thoughts about the cheating clear with his comments last month, and they sounded nothing like the phony statement he gave on Thursday. Houston’s PR department successfully managed to make an ugly situation worse.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Whit Merrifield has harsh comments about Jose Altuve, Astros

Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield made the first All-Star appearance of his career last year, but he feels it would have been the second had it not been for all of the cheating that went on in Houston.

Merrifield spoke openly about how disappointed he was when he was not selected to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. Jose Altuve was one of the players who was voted in over Merrifield, and the Royals infielder did not hold back when asked about that this week in an interview with Dave O for Clubhouse Conversation.

Altuve made the All-Star Game every year from 2014-2018, and he also won the Silver Slugger Award in each of those seasons. Merrifield said he’s going to consider himself the Silver Slugger winner for 2018 in addition to an All-Star. Merrifield batted .302 last year with 16 home runs and 74 RBI. Altuve hit .298 with 31 homers and 74 RBI.

If that makes Merrifield feel better, more power to him. However, it’s worth noting that Major League Baseball determined the Astros were guilty of using electronics to steal signs during the 2017 season, but there has been no hard evidence that they did anything in 2018. There were allegations that Houston players took things to the next level last season, but they have already denied that.

Merrifield certainly isn’t the only player who feels cheated by what the Astros did. Heck, city officials in Los Angeles are trying to have the 2017 World Series trophy awarded to the Dodgers. Merrifield can take a number and get in line.