How Dusty Baker’s puzzling decisions could be forcing Astros hand

For many Astros fans, it's been a frustrating season watching Dusty Baker limit opportunities for some of his best players. Of course, we're talking about Chas McCormick and Yainer Diaz.

Things really escalated over the weekend when the Astros were swept by the Yankees, with Chas McCormick only starting one of the three games. And in the one game he started, Dusty Baker pinch-hit for him with Jon Singleton in the ninth inning of a one run game. Spoiler alert: Singleton struck out looking.

The following game, Dusty started Yainer and Chas against the Rangers and lo and behold, Houston won in a blowout. But don't think for a second that Maldonado won't be back in the lineup on Tuesday, with Framber taking the hill. (Notice below that Yainer is not in Tuesday's lineup).

And it seems the only days Michael Brantley is in the lineup, McCormick has to sit. Dusty doesn't seem to trust Chas in center field anymore. Chas has only started in center field in one out of the last five games.

To be fair, we've seen Dusty change the way he manages when the playoffs start, but this season is different. If the Astros wait for Dusty to start playing McCormick and Diaz regularly in the playoffs, they may not get in. The division is way too close this season to be messing around with playing time.

With that in mind, could we see owner Jim Crane or GM Dana Brown get involved in Baker's perplexing lineup decisions?

Be sure to watch the video above as the guys break it all down.

Listen to The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein weekday mornings on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM.

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After another poor performance from former Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns' season is starting to look like an uphill climb. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb is out for the year, and Cleveland fans aren't too pleased with the way Watson is playing, especially considering the massive contract extension he signed with the team. And we didn't even get to the off the field drama that comes with Watson.

However, Houston fans are invested in the Browns' season outcome as well, with the Texans holding the Browns' first round pick in 2024, and having sent their own first rounder to the Cardinals in the Will Anderson trade.

So each loss for the Browns, means a better draft pick for the Texans!

For Houston, it looks like they have their QB of the future in CJ Stroud. And he'll be on a less expensive rookie contract for the next several years, giving the Texans more cap space to upgrade the roster.

With all of this in mind, is it fair to question if the Texans dodged a bullet when Watson demanded a trade?

DeMeco Ryans vs. Lovie Smith

Plus, we're only two games into the season, but Lovie Smith's defense was much better (with a similar roster) than what DeMeco Ryans' defense has shown thus far, and DeMeco has the benefit of Will Anderson rushing the QB.

Are the struggles on defense more about the roster GM Nick Caserio has put together, or does this slow start fall on DeMeco?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

If you enjoy the videos, subscribe to our new channel SportsMap Texans on YouTube.

And listen to The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein weekday mornings on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM.

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