With Ronel Blanco en fuego, here’s who could be on thin ice for Houston Astros

WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT

With Ronel Blanco en fuego, here’s who could be on thin ice for Houston Astros
Will Blanco stay in the starting rotation moving forward? Composite Getty Image.

Coming off two tough losses against the Texas Rangers, the Astros were able to respond with a win on Sunday as Ronel Blanco was flirting with a second consecutive no-hitter.

Editor's note: This article and video were published before the Astros announced Framber Valdez's elbow injury.

Blanco has clearly been a bright spot in Houston's rotation, but overall the starting pitching has been good. One big concern in the rotation though has to be Hunter Brown. And while JP France hasn't been great, he's at least pitched well enough to keep his team in the game. Unlike Brown, who gave up an early five spot on Friday night that led to a blowout win for Texas.

With Justin Verlander hopefully ready to return in the coming weeks, who will be the odd man out in the rotation? If we had to decide today, the answer appears to be Hunter Brown.

Speaking of pitching issues, Josh Hader, Ryan Pressly, and Bryan Abreu have all struggled this season. But we're not too concerned with only ten games in the books. These guys are proven high-leverage pitchers. And Hader did record his first save of the season on Sunday, but even that didn't come easy. Hader gave up a run in the ninth inning before securing the win for Houston.

Rafael Montero and Seth Martinez are both pitching better than expected, so the bullpen could be a real force to be reckoned with once they're firing on all cylinders.

What about the offense?

We're still waiting for Alex Bregman and Jose Abreu to get things going, but the Astros offense is hitting better than they're getting credit for. They currently have the 7th-best OPS in MLB, they just need to be a little more consistent.

Don't miss the video above to watch the full conversation!

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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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