HOUSTON -- Chris Carter's recent power surge couldn't come at a better time for the Astros.
With Houston's entire starting outfield injured, including middle-of-the order slugger George Springer's recent DL stint, Carter has picked up the slack.
After cranking two more homers in Philadelphia Thursday night and another Friday night against Texas, Carter is first in the Majors with 12 home runs since July 1. Entering Friday, he led baseball with a .685 slugging percentage since July 1 and also was second in OPS (1.055), third in RBIs (27) and was batting .315 in just over 100 at-bats.
"Chris has been tremendous," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You talk about a guy who when he's right can carry a club offensively. Right now, he's carrying our club."
Carter has 25 home runs and is on pace to hit 30-plus, which he narrowly missed with 29 last year. He's also cut his strikeout rate by about 10 percent.
Porter said the next step is combining Carter's prolific power with a healthy lineup.
The slugger's numbers were down early in the season, meaning the Astros' lineup never really clicked despite Springer's strong May and June and Dexter Fowler's prolific on-base percentage.
"When he and [Jason] Castro were going through some woes early on, they were the two guys we knew we needed to be a good offensive club," Porter said. "Once we get the guys that are on the mend back… and with Carter hitting, we can really put up some runs."
As for where Houston would be if Carter hadn't tapped into his power over the last six weeks?
"I don't even want to think about that, to be honest," Castro said. "He's been huge. What he can bring to the table when he's on is impressive. Not a lot of guys have the raw power he has.
"The timing was definitely right."
Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.