How Houston Astros maximized their secret weapons to save the season

COCKED AND LOADED

The Houston Astros starting rotation has taken several hits already at this point in the season, but thanks to the performances from JP France and Brandon Bielak, the starting pitching hasn't skipped a beat.

Not only have France and Bielak combined to have a 3.50 ERA in their starts this year, they have also given the Astros much-needed innings from their starters, which has kept the bullpen fresh.

Don't miss the video above as we examine the team's unique ability to develop pitching, and weigh in on the possibility of going to a 6-man rotation with Ronel Blanco joining the club.

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Jose Abreu is no longer an Astro. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros released José Abreu on Friday, cutting ties with the former AL MVP less than halfway through a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

The 37-year-old Abreu was batting .124 (14 for 113) with two homers and seven RBIs this season, during which he spent time in the minors trying to fix his swing. The Astros still owe him $30.8 million from the deal he signed before last season.

A three-time All-Star during his nine years with the Chicago White Sox, Abreu was named MVP during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 after defecting from his native Cuba the previous year.

His production dropped off significantly with the Astros. He batted .237 last year, the lowest average of his career, with 18 homers and 90 RBIs.

Abreu is a career .283 hitter with 263 homers and 960 RBIs in 11 seasons.

Houston owes him $30,822,504, including $11,322,504 remaining from this year’s salary and $19.5 million for 2025. Any team can sign him for a prorated share of the $740,000 major league minimum, with the Astros responsible for the rest.

Be sure to watch the video above as Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan of Stone Cold 'Stros react to the news.

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