Why Houston Astros answer at first base may be the most brutal

STONE COLD 'STROS

Why Houston Astros answer at first base may be the most brutal
Jose Abreu is off to another slow start. Composite Getty Image.

Coming into the season, one of the areas of the club the Astros were hoping would improve was the play at first base. Jose Abreu finished the 2023 regular season with the ninth-worst OPS in baseball among qualified players.

However, he did play well in the postseason. So fans were holding out hope we would see that version of Abreu in 2024.

Unfortunately, with three series already in the books, Abreu has done little to make people believe he'll be any better this season. He's currently hitting .067 (2-30) with an OPS of .219.

If Abreu had enough at-bats to qualify, he would have the worst OPS in baseball. Certainly the stats are concerning, as they show a trend that is continuing from last season. But the eye test is what really stands out with Abreu. He looks overmatched even by fastballs in the low-nineties, and his frustration was noticeable after poor at-bats in the Rangers series.

But what can the Astros do? Manager Joe Espada has already moved him down to the seven spot in the lineup, and his backup Jon Singleton isn't hitting much better.

The 'Stros don't really have any minor league first basemen ready to make the jump to the big leagues. Joey Loperfido is crushing dingers at Triple-A, but he's also striking out at an alarming rate.

Many fans are clamoring for Mauricio Dubon to get some starts at first base, be he doesn't have much experience at the position, and he doesn't provide the power numbers of a typical first baseman. But at this point, something has to be better than nothing.

As it stands today, the Astros might have to roll with the most brutal option, starting Abreu and hoping he somehow pulls out of his yearlong funk.

Don't miss the video above as we address Abreu's disappointing start to the season, and discuss some other options the Astros may turn to if his struggles continue.

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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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