Dusty Baker giving struggling Jose Altuve time off to clear his head

The Houston Astros second baseman is in a horrendous slump.

2020 hasn’t been kind to everyone, and that includes the Houston Astros. They were proven guilty of illegally stealing signs throughout the 2017 season, and have become the most hated team in all of MLB. Luckily for them, they don’t have to feel the full wrath of opposing fan bases. However, one star player has been struggling ever since the season started.

Prior to Houston’s game against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, manager Dusty Baker said that second baseman Jose Altuve will sit out of the contest to give him some time to clear his head, with the hopes that he can get out of his slump.

Abraham Toro will start in Altuve’s place in the series finale against San Francisco.

Altuve is fueling his critics with a poor start to the season

Baker did mention that he considered benching Altuve on Tuesday but opted to play him against San Francisco’s left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson. In the contest, Altuve went 1-for-4 and knocked in one run. But, his numbers as a whole are still atrocious.

Through 17 games this year, Altuve owns a brutal .187 batting average, .265 on-base percentage and .333 slugging percentage, while hitting three home runs and recording eight RBI.

Altuve’s slump has served as fuel for those who root against the Astros or who felt they were cheated by the organization over the years (i.e. Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees). Of course, there was the sign-stealing scandal, in which the team used cameras in center field of Minute Maid Park to steal pitching signals, then relay it to the batter by banging on a trash can. Then, Altuve was accused of wearing a buzzer underneath his jersey during Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS. After hitting a home run off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Altuve pleaded with his teammates not to rip off his uniform as he touched home plate, then immediately retreated to the clubhouse to remove his jersey. Those allegations were just that…allegations.

Baker is hoping that taking Wednesday off and the ensuing off-day will help Altuve break out of his slump on Friday, when Houston faces the Seattle Mariners.

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