How Houston Astros corners of the future could already be here

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How Houston Astros corners of the future could already be here
Can the Astros afford to lose Alex Bregman? Composite Getty Image.

We can't help but notice that the turnaround we're witnessing with the Astros is coinciding with Alex Bregman heating up at the plate.

Astros GM Dana Brown has said many times that the key to the team getting hot, centers around the play of Bregman.

And if that is indeed the case, can the club really afford to lose him in free agency after the season? As good as Mauricio Dubon has been, he would have some big shoes to fill.

Who's on first?

Plus, what's the short and long-term plan at first base? When Kyle Tucker returns, the outfield will get pretty crowded. It would be nice if Joey Loperfido could earn some starts at first base.

In the meantime, Dubon is doing a fine job at first. He and Loperfido should be in the starting lineup on most days until Tucker returns.

Speaking of King Tuck

If he does leave in free agency after next season, could the team already have some qualities options available to take his spot?

Finally, when looking ahead to next season and beyond, could a move to first base be in the cards for Yainer Diaz?

Don't miss the video above for the full in-depth conversation of these topics and more!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Mariners defeat Astros, 6-4. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez hit for the cycle against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, becoming the 10th player in Houston history to accomplish the feat.

Alvarez singled in the first inning, hit his 20th homer of the season off Mariners starter Bryan Woo in the fourth, added a run-scoring triple to center field in the sixth off Taylor Saucedo and completed the cycle with a double down the right field line in the eighth against Gregory Santos.

Alvarez finished 4 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the Astros' 6-4 loss to Seattle.

Asked if he'd ever hit for a cycle in his baseball life, Alvarez said, “Not even in Playstation.”

“I’m very excited,” Alvarez said. “I felt a little bit of pressure there, but I knew I needed a double and when I hit the ball I said, ‘There it is.”

The 27-year-old Alvarez had the second cycle in the history of T-Mobile Park, after Miguel Tejada's on September 29, 2001.

The triple, the sixth of Alvarez's career, came on a fly ball to deep center field. Julio Rodríguez jumped for the ball against the wall, but dropped the catch and sprained his right ankle on the play. The ball rolled toward the infield before left fielder Dylan Moore grabbed it as Alvarez hustled into third.

“It was a confusing play,” Alvarez said. "When I hit the ball, I thought it was going to carry a little bit more, and then I saw him jump at the wall and make the catch, and then I saw him hit the wall and the ball drops and he drops. I just knew I needed to continue running there.”

Before Sunday, the most recent cycle by a member of the Astros came on August 28, 2023, by Jose Altuve against Boston.

Luke Raley hit a three-run homer, Bryan Woo pitched 5 2/3 solid innings and the Seattle Mariners overcame an injury to Julio Rodríguez to beat the Houston Astros 6-4 on Sunday.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak and put the Mariners into a tie with Houston for the AL West Division lead.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHPs Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) and Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery) both felt good after throwing bullpens on Saturday, and Espada said the plan is for both to throw again sometime in the next couple of days.

ROSTER MOVE

The Mariners traded RHP Mike Baumann to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday for cash considerations.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Spencer Arrighetti (4-7, 5.63 ERA) will pitch Monday in Houston’s series opener at Oakland.

Mariners: RHP Bryce Miller (7-7, 3.63 ERA) will start Monday against Angels lefty Tyler Anderson. Miller has a 4.46 ERA in his past seven starts, with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts.

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