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How Dusty Baker may have finally restored order to Astros lineup, Houston offense

The return of Jose Altuve has definitely given the Astros' offense a spark, as expected, but his arrival also created an opportunity for a ripple effect in the batting order. It took some time, but Dusty Baker has finally gone back to a similar lineup from the postseason, which was clearly effective for the club.

Slotting Jeremy Pena back in the 2-hole, and moving Alex Bregman to cleanup seems to be the secret sauce for the team. As excited as we are to see the offense get going, many question why it took so long for Dusty Baker to make the switch. Especially considering that Jose Abreu has been the worst offensive player on the team, and Baker continued to bat Abreu fourth with no success for almost a third of the season.

So will this be the set order moving forward, or is there still some tinkering to do with the lineup to maximize results?

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

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With so much on the line for the Astros this past weekend, they couldn't possibly get swept by the Royals, could they?

That's exactly what they did thanks to some poor pitching, and an inability to get timely hits with runners in scoring position.

The Astros are currently clinging to the last wild card position as they head to Seattle to face the Mariners, with Justin Verlander on the mound for the 'Stros.

Starting pitching has been the biggest issue for the club as of late, with Hunter Brown looking unusable moving forward. Brown has given up, wait for this, 6 earned runs or more in 3 of his last 4 starts. His ERA for the season is now over 5.

So how will the rotation look over the final stretch of games? We know for the Mariners series the team is rolling out Verlander, Cristian Javier, and Framber Valdez.

The club is off on Thursday, and they head to Arizona for a 3-game series with the Diamondbacks that starts Friday. We predict JP France will pitch Friday, with Justin Verlander likely taking the ball Saturday.

Then all bets are off for Sunday. It could be Framber on 3-days rest, or all hands on deck for a bullpen game.

Of course, with the division race being so close, things could change on a daily basis. There's even a scenario where Arizona secures their wild card, and the final two games of the season don't matter for them.

The other big factor will be the outcome of the 4-game Rangers-Mariners series that finishes off the season.

Be sure to watch the video above as we examine all the scenarios leading up to the end of the regular season for Houston, and much more!

Watch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Thursday on SportsMap Houston's YouTube channel.

And listen to ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM for Houston's best sports talk.

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