Springer to the rescue

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Because the Houston Astros are littered with so much talent, it’s difficult to say which player on the defending champion Astros is the best overall and the one the team could least afford to lose.

Candidates include Jose Altuve, a six-time All-Star second baseman and last season’s American League Most Valuable Player, who is currently on the disabled list.

Another is Justin Verlander, a seven-time All-Star and former Cy Young winner and AL MVP with the Detroit Tigers in 2011.

But it seems that George Springer, the center fielder, is the most indispensable in part because he’s the leadoff hitter who supplies power with a solid glove and is a team leader.

Springer sets the offense in motion and has the ability to get key base hits at crucial moments of the game.

Springer has belted 19 home runs with 58 runs batted in and has posted a .250 batting average with 74 runs scored.

The Astros (71-42), who are in first place in the AL West, played the Dodgers at the Stadium this past weekend, took two of three and are again a challenger to win the World Series.

Springer, who bashed a homer on the first pitch he saw of Sunday’s 3-2 loss is a run-producer.

During Saturday’s 14-0 shellacking of the Dodgers, Springer scored and also doubled in a run, while in Friday’s 2-1 triumph, Springer had a double with an RBI.

Since 2014, Springer’s first year in the major leagues, the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who played at the University of Connecticut, has crossed the plate more than 100 times twice, including 2016 when he scored a personal-best 116 runs and hit 29 homers with 82 RBIs.

The following season, Springer, who was a first-round pick by Houston in the 2011 draft, tallied 112 runs and knocked out a career-best 34 homers with 85 RBIs.

The thing about Springer is that he plays with a joy and a passion, which is often overlooked, but can be essential when it comes to winning.

Springer is a leader and his teammates follow his lead. Springer showed his wares on the biggest stage a season ago and was named MVP of the World Series.

Over seven games, Springer hit five homers, three doubles, had 11 hits, seven RBIs with eight runs and a .379 batting average.

Many of Springer’s hits came at crucial moments and helped the Astros edge the Dodgers.

Springer, a two-time All-Star, is doing the same amazing things this season.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeespride55@gmail.com.

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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