Here’s what an Astros intervention might look like

STONE COLD 'STROS

Here’s what an Astros intervention might look like
We're all thinking the same thing about Jose Abreu. Will someone speak up? Composite Getty Image.

Coming off another disappointing series loss on Monday, in which Jose Abreu once again went hitless, something occurred to me while watching the disappointed faces in the dugout.

What will it take for the Astros to call the Abreu experiment a failure, and move on? It doesn't seem like the manager or GM are making the call on this.

This decision will have to come from Jim Crane, and in part, Jeff Bagwell. But what if one of the veteran players spoke privately with Crane and/or Bagwell about what the plan is with Abreu.

Clearly, players typically stay out of these decisions for many reasons. You don't want to have the reputation of messing with other guy's money. We here that all the time in sports.

But as a thought exercise, how would Jim Crane respond if Jose Altuve or Justin Verlander just wanted some clarity on where this is headed and showed some concern for time running out on the season. It seems to me their words would hold more weight than a first time manager and general manager.

And it wouldn't be the first time a player allegedly went to Crane directly. We've all heard the reports about Carlos Correa asking Crane to change his mind about Verlander throwing out the first pitch a couple of years ago. If a Hall of Fame level player privately voiced concern to Crane, would he take it more seriously?

Let's be honest with ourselves, the guys in the clubhouse probably wouldn't broach this topic with Crane. But don't you think they're thinking it, and talking about it privately among each other?

Manager Joe Espada told the Astros flagship on Thursday that there is a timetable for Abreu, but the team is not going to share that with the public.

Which is fair, but one has to wonder how long they're willing to wait. Is it the All-Star break, the end of the season, the end of June. Who knows? Martin Maldonado kept his job all last season, with a legit better option already on the roster.

This all speaks to a bigger problem, it doesn't seem like the manager or the GM will make the call on Abreu. And they're the ones taking the most heat for his poor performance. Especially Espada.

And with so many fans calling for Espada to be fired, we legitimately wonder if a new manager would handle things differently and have more control over the roster and who plays.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine the Abreu issue, and how much blame Joe Espada deserves for the Astros disappointing season.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, 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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Raners defeat the Astros, 4-2. Composite Getty Image.

Josh Smith homered twice with four RBIs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Smith had a two-run shot in the first and added another one with two outs in the eighth to push the lead to 4-1. It’s the first multi-homer game of the 26-year-old’s career.

The Rangers won the last two games of the series after dropping Friday’s opener 6-3. They also got a 2-1 victory Saturday thanks to Nathaniel Lowe’s RBI single in the 10th inning.

Jake Meyers cut the lead to 1 with a solo home run in the third but the Astros went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position to fall to 50-46 entering the All-Star break.

Texas starter Max Scherzer allowed four hits and a run with six strikeouts in four-plus innings in his fifth start of the season.

Jon Singleton walked before a single by Jeremy Peña with no outs in the ninth. There was one out in the inning when Singleton scored on a groundout by Joey Loperfido to cut the lead to 4-2. Trey Cabbage grounded out to end it and give Kirby Yates his 16th save.

Ronel Blanco (9-4) permitted two hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings. He settled down after his tough first inning and retired the last 12 batters he faced.

Marcus Semien singled to start the game but was out at second when Corey Seager grounded into a foreceout. Smith gave the Rangers an early lead with his towering shot to the second deck to make it 2-0.

Meyers opened Houston’s third with a shot to the seats in left field to cut the lead to 2-1. Jose Altuve singled with two outs and stole second base but Scherzer struck out Alex Bregman for the third out.

The Astros had a shot to tie it or take the lead in the fifth. Peña and Meyers both singled before Loperfido walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning and chase Scherzer. Josh Sborz (2-0) took over and escaped the jam by striking out Mauricio Dubón before retiring Altuve on a pop up and Bregman on a groundout to end the inning.

Seager walked with two outs in the eighth before Smith connected again to give him 10 home runs this season.

Altuve reached on a fielding error by Smith with one out in the eighth before Bregman singled off José Leclerc. Jacob Latz took over and struck out Yordan Alvarez before Yainer Diaz grounded out to leave Houston emptyhanded again.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (fractured right wrist) swung 15 times off a tee using a regular bat Sunday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would continue increasing his activity during the break as he nears a rehabilitation assignment.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) threw a bullpen session of 25 pitches Sunday. Manager Joe Espada said he looked “really good” and would throw another bullpen session during the break.

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