Here’s why Astros aren’t making major moves to “fix” the team

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Here’s why Astros aren’t making major moves to “fix” the team
Is leadership the main problem for Houston? Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros now officially ten games under .500 for the season, manager Joe Espada is taking a lot of heat from the fanbase for the team's struggles.

While we don't agree with the sentiment, we even hear fans clamoring for the return of Dusty Baker and Martin Maldonado, thinking the Astros wouldn't be in this mess if they were still here.

Which is ridiculous. First of all, Maldonado has been awful for the White Sox, hitting .048 (even worse than Jose Abreu's .065). And for those of you that think his work with the pitching staff justifies his pathetic offense. Let me say this: Where was Maldy's game calling genius for Hunter Brown, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez last year? All of them regressed significantly.

And as far as Baker is concerned, we have no idea how much a difference he would make, we can only speculate. Baker would also be dealing with a pitching staff ravaged with injuries. And let's not forget, Baker was the guy that refused to move Jose Abreu down in the batting order, even though he would finish the regular season with the ninth-worst OPS in baseball.

The reality of the situation is managers can only do so much in baseball. Which leads us to something else that needs to be considered. Is Espada being handcuffed by the front office? Espada and GM Dana Brown both said recently that Jon Singleton was going to get more at-bats while they give Abreu time off to try to figure things out. Yet, there Abreu was in the lineup again in the opening game of the Cubs series.

It makes us wonder how much power does Espada truly have? The Astros have some other options at first base. Yainer Diaz may only have eight games played at the position, but how much worse could he be than Abreu defensively? Abreu already has four errors, and Diaz is obviously a way better hitter. Victor Caratini isn't considered a plus offensive player, but his .276 batting average makes him look like Babe Ruth compared to Abreu. Let him catch more often and play Diaz at first. Starting Diaz at first more often could also lengthen his career long-term.

Maybe that's too wild of a move. Okay, fine. How about playing Mauricio Dubon at first base? I understand he doesn't have much experience at that position, but what's the downside of trying him there? If he can play shortstop, he can play first base. He's driving in runs at a higher rate (11 RBIs) than everyone on the team outside of Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez. And he's producing like that as part-time player right now.

The other criticism we see of Espada is his use of Jon Singleton to pinch hit late in games. Let's be real, though, who else does Espada have on the roster to go to? Batting Abreu late in games in which you're trailing should be considered malpractice. Espada can only use who he has to work with. This all really stems from the Astros poor farm system.

They don't have anyone else to turn to. The draft picks the club lost from the sign-stealing scandal are really hurting them right now. First and second rounders from 2020 and 2021 should be helping you in 2024 at the big league level.

Maybe they go to Astros prospect Joey Loperfido soon, but after a hot start he has only two hits in his last six games.

Finally, we have to talk about what seems like a committee making baseball decisions. Lost in a committee is accountability. Who gets the blame for making poor decisions?

As time continues to pass it looks like moving on from former GM James Click was a massive mistake. He's the guy that didn't sign Abreu, but did trade Myles Straw (recently DFA'd) for Yainer Diaz and Phil Maton. He also built an elite bullpen without breaking the bank, and helped the club win a World Series in 2022.

The reality of the situation is Dusty Baker and James Click are not walking back through that door. And all good runs come to an end at some point. Is this what we're witnessing?

Don't miss the video above as we hit on all the points discussed and much more!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) with Charlie Pallilo, Brandon Strange, and Josh Jordan. We drop two episodes every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel. You can also listen on Apple Podcast, Spotifyor wherever you get your podcasts.

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Astros take the series! Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

Ronel Blanco held Oakland in check for seven innings in his return from a suspension and Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Athletics on Sunday.

Jose Altuve added a two-run single in front of an announced crowd of 10,927 to help the Astros win the series and improve to 18-4 against the A's over the past two seasons.

Blanco (5-0) looked sharp in his return from a 10-game suspension for having a foreign substance in his glove during a start against Oakland in Houston last week.

He struck out five of his first eight batters and allowed only four hits, including a solo homer by Max Schuemann, before turning the game over to the bullpen. Houston improved to 8-1 in games started this season by Blanco, who has allowed only 33 hits in 54 1/3 innings.

Shea Langeliers added a solo homer in the ninth for Oakland against Josh Hader.

Oakland starter Aaron Brooks (0-2) pitched around trouble in the first three innings, inducing double-play grounders in the first and second and then striking out Alex Bregman top leave the bases loaded in the third.

Brooks appeared to be on his way to working out of the fourth allowing only one run before a pair of errors by Schuemann at shortstop led to a big inning for Houston.

Schuemann bobbled a two-out grounder by Mauricio Dubon for an error and then threw it wildly to second base for his second error on the play, allowing runners to advance to second and third.

Altuve followed with a two-run single and Tucker then hit his 18th home run to give the Astros a 5-0 lead.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: 1B José Abreu, who accepted a minor league assignment after a sluggish start to the season, is set to rejoin the the team on Monday in Seattle after going 0 for 7 with a walk in two rehab games with Sugar Land.

Athletics: RHP Ross Stripling was set to see a doctor Sunday to determine the severity of his strained right elbow.

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-2, 4.32) is set to start the opener of a four-game series at Seattle on Monday.

Athletics: Oakland is off for Memorial Day and will begin a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Tuesday with RHP Mitch Spence (3-2, 4.09) expected to start the opener.

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