8/22/2014 8:16 P.M. ET
Krauss excited to play in favorite childhood park
By Steve DiMatteo / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Growing up just a few hours west of Cleveland near Findlay, Ohio, Astros outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss was a huge fan of the Indians. And with teams as good as the ones the Indians were putting on the field, that meant plenty of trips to then-Jacobs Field.
"We came to the Jake back in the day a lot, my family and I," Krauss said. "Probably four or five times a year to watch them play. It was a lot of fun back in those days. They had a lot of good teams."
Krauss was able to play in the Astros' September series in Cleveland during his rookie season in 2013, hitting .455 (5-for-11) over the four games while enjoying the surreal feeling of playing in the same park he grew up visiting so often.
"Last year, it was a lot of fun," Krauss said. "Could hear people all over the stadium whenever I was out there or up, cheering me on. It's definitely a great feeling having all the support being able to come watch you in person."
As for where Krauss is at in his second trip to Cleveland as a professional, he's hitting .276 (8-for-29) with a home run and three RBIs in August entering Friday. But more imporant, he's drawing walks, too; four to go along with seven strikeouts. For Krauss, who always maintained a high on-base percentage in the minors, it could be a sign that he's turning the corner.
"I think one of the main things when you break into the Major Leagues is, all the pitchers obviously are the best in the world," Krauss said. "So a lot of them can control the ball better. They're going to come after you. In the Minor Leagues and you're walking a lot, having a good eye, that means something.
"So when you get to this point, you have to do the same thing to these teams, to get some respect. You really have to kind of earn that title of being an on-base [hitter], earning your walks."
Carter pacing red-hot Astros offense
CLEVELAND -- Entering Friday night's game against the Indians, the Astros had one of the hottest offenses in baseball, leading the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break with 145 in 32 games.
A major reason for the onslaught of runs is pure power. The Astros have hit 30 homers in their last 22 games, and they're also second in the Majors in home runs since July 1 with 54. The biggest contributor to the recent surge remains designated hitter Chris Carter, who is hitting .311 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 15 games. His 17 home runs, 42 RBIs and .665 slugging percentage since July 1 is the best in the Majors as well.
"It's been impressive," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
With 30 homers, Carter has reached a career high. But while the 27-year-old has always been a hitter with power on his mind, Porter has seen changes throughout the season that have made Carter better overall at the plate.
"It's not just the home runs," Porter said. "It's the base hits the other way, it's him understanding situations, and he's taking his walks when they're giving them to him. And unlike early in the year, the pitches of which he's been getting, those hittable pitches in the zone, he hasn't been fouling them off, he hasn't been swinging and missing them. He's been putting barrel to them and doing damage."
Steve DiMatteo is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.