Baseball

Diaz’s power surge no surprise to Astros teammates

HOUSTON — You don’t have to precisely twist the arm of Yainer Diaz’s Astros teammates to get them to gush concerning the efficiency of the rookie catcher.

“It looks like he hits a homer each different sport,” shortstop Jeremy Peña mentioned.

“He’s only a nice participant for us,” pitcher J.P. France mentioned.

The lack of slugger Yordan Alvarez to a proper indirect damage almost a month in the past meant extra alternatives to hit for Diaz, and he’s made essentially the most of it. Diaz slugged a pair of dwelling runs and Peña homered in his return to the lineup because the Astros won their fourth consecutive game, 6-4to brush a two-game sequence from the Rockies on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

“That was proper on time,” Astros supervisor Dusty Baker mentioned. “He drove in all the primary three runs with some booming dwelling runs and we would have liked that.”

The multihomer sport was the primary of Diaz’s profession and the primary by an Astros rookie catcher since Mitch Meluskey in 2000. He’s the eighth Astros rookie at any place to succeed in double-digit dwelling runs by the All-Star break, which was achieved most lately by Peña final yr.

“It’s a type of issues,” Diaz mentioned. “I hit the ball fairly exhausting and people are issues that may include it.”

Diaz, acquired from the Guardians two years in the past together with reduction pitcher Phil Maton in trade for outfielder Myles Straw, has began 15 of 24 video games at designated hitter since Alvarez harm his indirect. He began consecutive video games at catcher for the primary time in his profession within the Rockies sequence, catching a shutout Tuesday and slugging a pair of homers Wednesday.

“One thing’s at all times occurring to anyone,” Baker mentioned of his injury-ravaged membership. “We’re lucky that we’ve good personnel to take their place. We simply can’t go too far sooner or later. He’s given us an enormous raise in Alvarez’s absence and we’ll see — knock on wooden — that nothing else occurs to anyone else.”

Diaz hit each of his homers off Rockies starter Chase Anderson. Within the second inning, he crushed a 1-0 cutter that sailed a Statcast-projected414 toes over the Crawford Packing containers in left area to present Houston a 1-0 lead (107.2 mph exit velocity). In his subsequent at-bat within the fourth, he hit an 0-1 sinker 380 toes to left-center for a two-run homer that made it 3-0 (105.3 exit velocity).

“He hits the ball so exhausting,” Peña mentioned. “It’s spectacular what he’s doing. It looks like he hits a homer each different sport, and behind the plate he’s been doing it, as nicely. Nice participant.”

Diaz is hitting .338 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 25 video games behind the plate this season, however solely .192 with 5 homers and 9 RBIs when he’s the designated hitter. He’s additionally performed a little bit of first base, hitting .364 in 11 at-bats on the place. Diaz mentioned he’s undecided why he hits significantly better when he performs the sphere, versus DH.

“After I’m on the sphere taking part in protection, possibly I don’t get as distracted and don’t take into consideration the earlier at-bats as a lot or don’t get as chilly within the dugout,” he mentioned. “However I actually don’t know what the reason being.”

With Diaz calling the sport, France (4-3) delivered his sixth consecutive high quality begin. He gave up three runs and 6 hits in six innings, throwing 102 pitches. He’s the primary Astros rookie to have no less than six consecutive begins of no less than six innings since Chris Sampson in 2007.

“As quickly as I gave up that homer [to C.J. Cron] within the sixth, I used to be telling myself, ‘Don’t come get me. Let me end this,’ as a result of I [wanted to get] that sixth straight one,” France mentioned. “The fourth, fifth and sixth, it was a grind, however I ended up giving my group an opportunity to win once more and saved the streak going.”

Diaz caught France final yr in Triple-A, so the pitcher was already conscious of what the catcher is able to doing on the plate. Now, the remainder of baseball is discovering out what sort of risk Diaz is with the stick.

“Any time Yainer goes up there, you understand the ball might depart the yard,” France mentioned. “He’s only a nice participant for us.”


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Printed : 2023-07-05 22:17:00

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