For much of the season, Chris Carter has had a difficult time being a productive offensive threat for the Houston Astros. A season after clubbing 37 home runs and driving in 88 runs for Houston, Carter has had issues in 2015 hitting. Entering play Tuesday, he's hitting just .196/.308/.422, though he has connected on 23 homers so far this season.
Manager A.J. Hinch has gone on record as publicly stating how important it is for the Astros for Carter to be productive...and that's why his recent power stroke has come at such a perfect time for the playoff-starved team.
Carter hit a key home run in Monday night's Houston win over the Seattle Mariners, his third consecutive game with a round-tripper. What's more, he's now homered in five straight starts, a feat that MLB.com's Brian McTaggart notes puts Carter alongside Cliff Johnson, Carlos Beltran and Morgan Ensberg in team history. Since August 28, Carter is hitting .364 with six home runs and 10 RBIs, more or less rewarding Hinch for sticking with him earlier in the season, struggles and all.
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Carter's manager lauded his recent hot streak when speaking with McTaggart: "We've seen it before out of him, and I'm happy for him, I'm happy for our team," Hinch told McTaggart. "He's been extremely clutch down the stretch here with some really big homers, against right-handed pitching especially, at the most opportune time, when we needed it. It was a big boost for us."
Given Carter's track record as an offensive threat, Hinch isn't too surprised he's finally coming through for the club: "This guy's hit 37 homers in the big leagues before. He's changed a few little things with his mechanics. He's obviously seeing the ball. This has been in there the entire year. I know the [.196] average is low, but it's not low for the last month. He's getting good pitches to hit. The trajectory off the bat is very good. He's centering the ball. That kind of strength with that kind of hand-eye coordination, he can do a lot of damage."
Considering the Astros' place in the postseason picture, Carter's offensive firepower couldn't possibly have come at a more ideal time.