Carter's bat stays hot on the road

Carter's bat stays hot on the road
August 29, 2013, 6:15 pm
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(Kevin Jairaj - USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carter continues to swing a hot bat – on the road.

On Wednesday night in Chicago, Carter went 2-for-4 with a home run in a 6-1 loss to the White Sox, giving him three home runs in the three-game series and 26 homers on the season.

In his last 12 road games, Carter has 16 RBIs and for the season is fourth in the American League in road homers (17), third in road RBIs (49) and sixth in road slugging percentage (.564).

“It’s a fluke that he has better numbers on the road than he does at home,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “For me, you look at the dimension of our ballpark and you see the short wall out there in left field and say to yourself, ‘wow.’ If this guy were to actually pull the ball at bit more at home, maybe he can hit 40 homers instead of 30.”

With the Crawford Boxes in left field being only 315 feet from home plate, with a 19-foot wall, it seems Carter would have more home runs at Minute Maid Park than he does. But Porter doesn’t want Carter, who is hitting .218 on the season with 70 RBIs, to necessarily become strictly a pull hitter.

“What we want Chris Carter to do is be on time with the fastball,” said Porter. “If you look at the number of strikeouts (179), the strikeouts haven’t happen at strike three. The strikeouts are happening at strike one and strike two.

“And the majority of the time it’s not being on time with the fastball. When he’s on time with the fastball, the majority of the time he hits it to left-center, to left field.”

The Astros, who are 44-88 on the season, are 14-8 when Carter homers. Carter’s 26 home runs are the most by an Astros player since Carlos Lee hit 26 in 2009. The last time an Astro hit more than 26 homers was in 2008 when Lance Berkman hit 29 and Lee hit 28.