STONE COLD 'STROS
Looks like the excuses just ran out for Dusty Baker, Astros
Coming off a series sweep from the Seattle Mariners, the Astros still sit 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West. Luckily for Houston, the Rangers were also swept over the weekend. But the Rangers are no longer the only threat to the Astros in the division.
The Mariners are only a half game back of the 'Stros, with a little over a month left in the regular season. It's been a rough stretch for Houston, and Martin Maldonado called a team meeting after the sweep to discuss some issues he believes the team needs to address.
However, one of the glaring issues with the ball club is the poor level of play from the catcher position. Maldy's issues at the plate are well documented, but his decline defensively is getting harder to ignore. Plus, his ability to call a game seems to be slipping as well, with every pitcher in the rotation struggling outside of JP France. Maldonado recently turned 37 years old and don't look now, but the other catcher on the roster, has become one of the team's best hitters.
Yainer Diaz has really stood out recently playing 1st base while Jose Abreu is working his way back from injury. No matter how much Dusty Baker insists that Maldonado is his starting catcher, something eventually has to give. When Abreu returns to the lineup, Diaz can't go back to being a part-time player.
He's become too important to the Astro offense. And if Michael Brantley returns, he and Yordan Alvarez will be playing left field and DH on a daily basis. At least that's what GM Dana Brown said a week ago. So unless Yainer will continue to split time at first base when Abreu returns, playing him most days at catcher just makes the most sense.
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