Astros management apparently heard the outcry against their initial decision to hold Jose Altuve out of Sunday’s season finale — against Altuve’s wishes — in order to protect his lead for the batting title …
Here’s the statement released by the Astros about the sudden change-of-heart: “Altuve approached [interim manager Tom Lawless] prior to today’s game and was passionate about playing today. As the best player, he deserves the right to make that decision.” Altuve’s batting average is at .340. Victor Martinez is at .337.
This would be the first batting title in Astros history. Altuve already broke the franchise’s single-season hits record earlier this month, passing Craig Biggio’s previous mark of 210. Altuve has 223 hits and counting.
Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.
Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”
Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.
In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.
This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.