Marwin Gonzalez stepped up when he stepped in for Jose Altuve with three hits and a highlight-reel defensive play during the Astros' 7-3 win Saturday over the Rays.
"That's good every time you do something for the team," Gonzalez said. "Everybody's doing their part and it's why we're winning lately."
It's the type of performance the Astros have almost have come to expect from their utlityman, whether he fills in at second, short, third, or the outfield.
"It's not an easy job when you're not playing every day," Bo Porter said. "But he gets in the weight room. He runs the bases. He gets in there for early hitting. And, on the bench, he pays attention to the game. So it's not like when he gets in the lineup, he's not feeling like, 'Oh, I haven't played in awhile.' So it's a tremendous credit to him and we're happy to have him."
"Preparing myself is what I'm doing every day," Gonzalez said. "Working hard every day. Whenever I'm not playing, I'm working even harder. That's how I prepare for this opportunity."
And the production has been consistent. In past seasons, the defense was there. All the effort spent in the offseason to upgrade his offense seems like it has paid off for Gonzalez. He's now batting .282 with only two errors committed defensively this year.
"He has been absolutely huge for us this entire season," Porter said. "He's been constant and I've been saying this since spring training. He's probably one of our most improved players from last year, coming into spring training. He's been able to keep that momentum."