How Astros unexpected hiccups compare to their other opportunities for improvement

STONE COLD 'STROS

How Astros unexpected hiccups compare to their other opportunities for improvement
The Astros will look to get back on track against the Blue Jays. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros had a rough weekend, with Juan Soto and the Yankees coming to town and sweeping Houston. The 'Stros now sit at 0-4 on the season and host the Blue Jays for a three-game series starting Monday night.

So what went wrong?

Some issues from 2023 haven't been resolved, and some new concerns have also arisen, which hampered the club against New York. Let's start with the old problems that still persist. Astros first baseman Jose Abreu had a terrible 2023 regular season, and things aren't going any better in 2024. He's yet to record a hit (0-11), and manager Joe Espada has already dropped him behind Yainer Diaz in the batting order.

Rafael Montero really struggled in 2023 after posting a career-year in 2022. Montero finished 2023 with an ERA over five, and through his first 2 appearances this season, his ERA is currently 5.40. He also surrendered a home run in his first appearance.

Finally, when is this team going to win a game at home? The Astros struggles at Minute Maid Park have continued into the 2024 season. The club is 7-26 in their last 33 home games.

As far as some new areas of concern, let's start with the bullpen. The tandem of Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader hasn't produced the results Houston was hoping for. Abreu coughed up a 3-1 lead on Saturday, and Hader surrendered the go-ahead run on Sunday that secured the win for the Yankees.

At least with these guys, we believe water will find its level, and the backend of the bullpen will be a strength for this club over the course of the season. But for those blaming Abreu's two-game suspension for the first two losses, Saturday's performance was a tough pill to swallow.

Finally, moving Alex Bregman to the cleanup spot hasn't generated the results Espada was hoping for. They wanted Bregman to get more at-bats with runners on base, and so far that's working. The club produced two games in the series with twelve hits or more. They just haven't performed well with runners in scoring position. And Bregman is a prime example, he only has one RBI through the first four games.

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to the Yankees series, look ahead to the Blue Jays, and much more!

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Jose Abreu looks lost at the plate.Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

We're only 14 games into the Astros season, but Jose Abreu is currently hitting .081 and has been moved down to the eight spot in the batting order. Is the end of Jose Abreu's time with the Astros approaching? Should it be already?

Don't miss the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank discuss his slow start to the season, and future with the club.

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