Hinch, ‘refreshed’ Astros eager to begin second half
The Houston Astros saw their lead in the AL West evaporate last weekend, as the Los Angeles Angels entered the All-Star Break a half-game ahead of Houston in the division.
A trio of Astros – ace starter Dallas Keuchel, second baseman Jose Altuve and manager A.J. Hinch – took part in All-Star Game festivities, with Keuchel starting the game with two strong innings. For the rest of the team, the break was mostly a time for the club to relax and mentally prepare for what looks to be an eventful second half (if the first half was any indication of what to expect).
On Thursday, the team had a workout day at Minute Maid Park ahead of their Friday night matchup with the Texas Rangers. As Hinch told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, he’s happy with his team’s mindset as they prepare for the task ahead: “Tried to hit just about every mark that we could. They did (look refreshed). The atmosphere, sort of the mindset was really good.. I think everybody needed a few days off, everybody looked refreshed, everybody’s talking about what they did over the break. But the intensity and the spirit was exactly at the right level.”
They’ll need that intensity and focus to quash their six-game losing streak and overcome the loss of outfielder George Springer if they want to reclaim the division lead.