How critical Houston Astros learning moment can help them right now

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The Houston Astros had some big decisions to make last offseason after securing another World Series championship. The team had parted ways with general manager James Click, leaving no GM in place to handle free agency.

One of the most important calls the front office had to make was how they would handle the future of Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel had a disappointing regular season, but came through big time for Houston in the postseason.

Ultimately, the Astros decided to let Gurriel to walk and opted to hand out a 3-year, $58.5 million contract to White Sox slugger Jose Abreu. Early in the season, many Houston fans pointed to Yuli's production with the Marlins as evidence the Abreu signing was a mistake. Yuli was signed to a one-year deal at $5 million, which was a fraction of the cost of Abreu.

Even though Yuli was outperforming Abreu early on, most believed he would heat up in the summer and justify his massive contract. Well, here we are in the middle of August, and Abreu (currently injured) still hasn't lived up to expectations. Meaning, it's official, the Astros would have been better off holding on to Yuli and allocating Abreu's money to some other free agent options.

While the Astros can't go back in time and undo the deal, perhaps they can learn from the mistake and make the best of the situation going forward. One of the reasons Abreu might be dealing with a lingering back injury could very well be due to Dusty Baker starting the 36-year-old in almost every game.

If Dusty is willing to give Abreu more days off when he returns from the injured list, Jose will likely perform better when he's healthy and rested. Plus, Jon Singleton can add some pop in the lineup while helping to keep Abreu fresh.

Playing Singleton against right-handed pitching and Abreu against left-handed pitching could be a nice plan of action moving forward. However, there is one issue with this idea, Baker may want to play Abreu on a daily basis just so he has Singleton's left-handed bat available to pinch hit late in games.

But is that the right plan of action in the big picture? Be sure to watch the video to find out.

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Astros defeat the Orioles, 14-11. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer, Jose Altuve and rookie Joey Loperfido added three hits each and the Houston Astros used a nine-run sixth inning to pull away for a 14-11 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

Houston set a season-high in runs, a day after the Orioles had their highest-scoring game of the year in a 17-5 win over the Yankees.

The Astros trailed by 1 and had two on with two outs in the fifth inning when Meyers sent a pitch from Grayson Rodriguez (8-3) into the seats in left field to make it 5-3.

Houston sent 13 batters to the plate as they tacked on nine runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 14-3. The nine runs are the most by the Astros in an inning this season. They hit five doubles in the frame, including two from Loperfido.

Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson homered twice to give him 24 this season, which ranks second in the majors behind Aaron Judge’s 27. The Orioles, who lead the majors with 123 home runs, have homered in 20 consecutive games, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history.

Henderson’s first home run was a solo shot in the seventh. Henderson, Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander each hit two-run homers in Baltimore’s seven-run eighth that cut the lead to 14-11.

Adley Rutschman had a career-high five hits as Baltimore lost for just the second time in six games.

Houston starter Jake Bloss allowed six hits and two runs with two strikeouts in his major league debut before leaving with right shoulder discomfort with two outs in the fourth inning.

Bloss joined the major league team despite never pitching in Triple-A with Houston’s rotation decimated by injuries. The 22-year-old Bloss, who was drafted in the third round last year, was 4-2 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 minor league starts between High-A and Double-A this season.

Shawn Dubin (1-1) permitted three hits and a run in 2 1/3 innings. Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Rodriguez allowed nine hits and seven runs in 5-plus innings.

There was a delay in the middle of the fourth inning when home plate umpire Scott Barry left the game after being hit in the mask with a foul tip. Second base umpire Tom Hanahan took over behind the plate.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: C Victor Caratini was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left hip flexor. … Loperfido was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot on the roster.

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Ronel Blanco (7-2, 2.43) opposes RHP Corbin Burnes (8-2, 2.14) when the series continues Saturday.

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