First Half of Season Sizzles Out for Houston Astros, Minor-Leaguers Shine in All-Star Futures Game

By Daniel Jamieson


Brad Penner – USA Today Sports

The Houston Astros closed out the first half of the regular season and enter the All-Star break in a fashion that sums up their season to this point — they were shut out by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Rays was a weak attempt at going out with any sense of enthusiasm. Rays’ young pitcher Chris Archer threw the first complete game of his career and in truth he put together a very solid performance, giving the Astros batters very little to work with.

That being said, the Astros didn’t look all that hard to shut down. Tired swings of the bat, errant throws and an overall lackluster demeanor combined for a dismal performance.

The real fire in the Astros’ organization is the youth. This past weekend brought the All-Star Futures game, and Houston had three of its minor leaguers called up to the USA vs. World showdown, tying the most representatives in the game by any major league club. Carlos Correa entered the game as a substitute for the World team, while Delino DeShields started for the USA team at second base and phenomenon George Springer started in right field. Springer had a sound outing at the plate, with two powerful cracks of the ball, allowing him to show off his power and speed around the bags.

Springer is expected to be the first of the team’s many impressive prospects to make the jump up to the majors, and while the Astros stumble into the All-Star break, the minor-league teams are geared up and dominant. The break will give the club and its observers the chance to break things down and re-boot.

The Astros have made huge gambles recently with trading talent for prospects around the league, and though these are early days, Houston looks to have a stellar future.

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