How many Altuves? None for the next few days (but not because of this collision)
Jose Altuve has become something of a cult sensation for his minimal height, but it’s the Astros who will be short their best player for the next few days. As with Bryce Harper, the 5-foot-5 Houston second baseman got the worst of a collision on Monday night, running into right fielder Jimmy Paredes in pursuit of a Jhonny Peralta popup in the second inning of a game against the Tigers (gif courtesy of SB Nation):
The pint-sized Altuve suffered a partially dislocated (subluxed) jaw, which sounds incredibly painful. The injury forced him from the game, and while he proclaimed his readiness for Tuesday night’s game shortly after the Astros’ 7-2 loss — their fifth in a row and 15th in 18 games — he’ll get a bit of extra time to recuperate. With the passing of his grandmother, he has been placed on the bereavement list, which means that he’ll be out three to seven days.
Altuve’s absence surely won’t help the Astros, since he’s by far their most valuable player, with 1.8 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference. Four other Astros hitters have been worth at least 0.5 WAR, including likely fill-in Marwin Gonzalez, who shifted from shortstop to second base once Altuve left the game, but three other hitters and five pitchers have been at least 0.5 wins below replacement level. Hopefully, the injury won’t throw a bucket of cold water on the All-Star Game-bound 23-year-old’s season; he’s hitting .333/.371/.444 thus far, good enough to rank fourth in batting average and third in hits (51).
As for the team as a whole, the Astros are 10-29, with a .256 winning percentage that puts them on pace for just 41 wins; they’ll have to pick up the pace significantly to avoid being mentioned in the same breath as the 1962 Mets (40-120) and 2003 Tigers (43-119). The team’s offense has been passable enough to rank 11th in the AL in scoring (4.00 runs per game), but they’re dead last in runs allowed (6.21 per game), on pace for 1,006 runs, the highest total since the 1999 Rockies yielded 1,028.