Carter reaches 200-strike out mark

Carter reaches 200-strike out mark
September 17, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Chris Carter struck out for the 200th time this season, when the Astros first baseman struck out swinging in his first at-bat on Tuesday against Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake for the second out of the second inning.

Carter leads the major leagues in strikeouts. Despite the high total, Astros manager Bo Porter doesn’t see it as a major problem in Carter’s development as a hitter.

“It’s part of him,” said Porter. “If he was to strike out less, you would say to yourself, you believe that the offensive production would get even that much better. But you also have to ask yourself, if your action is to go to the plate and just put the ball into play, would that take away from his raw power?”

Carter strikes out a lot, but he also hits for power, and his bat has won a number of games for the Astros, who have struggled for wins in the 2013 season.

Carter came into Tuesday’s game against the Reds with a team-high 27 home runs and a team-high 77 RBIs.

“You want to find some kind of balance in between there,” said Porter. “Do we want him to cut down on the strikeouts? Yes. I actually believe Chris Carter can do one thing and it will cut down on his strikeouts. And it is handle the fastball in the strike zone. If he’s able to make that one adjustment, and handle the fastball in the strike zone, his strikeouts will greatly go down.”

This is Carter’s first full season in the major leagues, and there are growing pains. The Astros obtained Carter from the Oakland A’s in February. The Astros dealt infielder Jed Lowrie and right-hand pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, for right-hand pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi, in addition to Carter.

“This is his first opportunity to play every day,” said Porter. “You have to look at the good, if he’s able to finish the year with 30 home runs and 90 RBI. And you say to yourself, here is a guy who’s playing in his first full season and he hit 30 home runs and drove in 90 runs.

“You also see the number of strikeouts, but you also have glaring information that you can present to him that will really help him understand how he can reduce the strikeouts. Don’t change anything with your swing. Don’t change anything with your attack of the ball. Just straighten out these couple of aspects of your approach. You may have a 40-home run, 100-RBI guy on your hands.”

Carter has been extremely productive on the road this season. Carter is tied for fourth in the American League in road home runs (17), third in road RBIs (53) and eighth in road slugging percentage (.550). He has 20 RBIs in his last 18 road games.