The opening series win against the Angles was great for any number of reasons, but no bigger reason than it would appear that the 2019 MVP runner-up version of Bregman is back. For the weekend, Bregman batted .429 (6-14) with two home runs, six RBI, four runs scored, and a 1.286 OPS. The Astros third basemen also recorded a multi-RBI game in all three of his starts last week. He was sparking defensively in the field, as well.
For his efforts, Bregman was named the American League Player of the Week for the week of April 7th through 10th. This marks the second career AL Player of the Week award for Bregman and his first this season. (His other Player of the Week Award came in July 2018.) Bregman becomes the first Astros player to win AL Player of the Week since Justin Verlander did so in September 2019, which is crazy to think that the Astros have gone over two full seasons (granted, one of those seasons was shortened due to COVID, but still) without a Player of the Week winner.
The best part about Bregman's return to his prime form is, for the first time since the Astros were punished for stealing signs, we have peak Alex Bregman back, as he spent most of 2020 and 2021 battling injuries which led to underperformance. So when Angels fans are screaming "CHEATER!" during Bregman's at-bat's, it's nice to see him respond like this:
Bregman's award-winning weekend was just the tip of the iceberg for what was about as good an opening weekend as the Astros could hope to have on the road, inside the division. About the only thing that went wrong was the bats going silent in the third game of the series, which appropriately was the only game Bregman didn't start over the weekend.
A fan yelled "cheater" then Bregman smacked in 2 runs pic.twitter.com/A9DBAh0wLu— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) April 10, 2022
Verlander was the losing pitcher in that one loss over the weekend, but he still looked very good coming off of Tommy John surgery, in his first start in nearly two calendar years. The starting rotation overall had an ERA of 1.78 for the series, and rookie Jeremy Pena (.375 batting average, first career home run) looks like a more than capable replacement for Carlos Correa, so far.
The journey continues tonight in Arizona with last season's AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Luis Garcia making his season debut.
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