Astros Launch: Struggles continue and Lourdes Gurriel officially a free agent.

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Aug 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) argues a call with home plate umpire Alan Porter during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) argues a call with home plate umpire Alan Porter during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Notes from yesterday

Aug 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) argues a call with home plate umpire Alan Porter during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) argues a call with home plate umpire Alan Porter during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Lourdes Gurriel is Officially a Free Agent

With Gurriel’s playing in his last stop in Corpus tonight, we are a week away from him playing in an Astros uniform next Tuesday versus the St. Louis Cardinals. If you don’t already have tickets, you might want to go to Astros.com to get them. It will be a hot ticket when Gurriel makes his debut even if the Astros are still losing. The Astros don’t usually sign this type of player, but could they do it twice within six months?

Astros writers could soon have the Preston Tucker and Kyle Tucker issue again. When writing an article talking about both Tucker’s, you have to use the first names. The signs point to a similar issue for the Gurriels’ soon as well. Gurriel’s younger brother Lourdes is now officially a free agent. His agent seemed optimistic that the Astros could sign both of the brothers, but Lourdes would have to wait a little longer.

October 19 will be Lourdes’ 23rd birthday and the first chance that all 30 MLB teams would be able to sign the Cuban free agent. Most of the teams have already overspent on their international budget. By waiting, he could earn more money because he will not classify as the typical international free agent because he will be 23. Two Gurriels’ are better than one.

The Power Outage Continues

The Astros earned a nickname last season, Crush City. However, there has not been that much crushing recently. The Astros have a .210 batting average in August with only one home run. That home run was by Jose Altuve off of Marcus Stroman on August 1st. For a team that relies on the long ball, you can easily see why the Astros have trouble scoring. Strikeouts are up, and the batting averages are dropping.

The Astros are slugging .282 with a pathetic .536 OPS in August. They continue to score one run way too often during the past 14 games. The pitching staff has had a few hiccups, but they have pitched extraordinarily well in August. In 78 innings, the Astros pitchers have a 2.42 ERA while striking out 93 hitters.

This team is build to hit the long balls along the low batting average. At this point, neither is happening for the Astros offense. We are missing the power bat of Luis Valbuena and now Colby Rasmus, but the big three have had a little power drought as well.

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Jose Altuve’s Streak of Consecutive Games Played is Over

Altuve probably was stacking cups in the dugout as he missed his first game in a while. In fact, according to Brian McTaggart, Altuve has played in 202 consecutive games played. By not appearing in last night’s game, Mike Trout now has the longest current streak going. Because Altuve is the Astros best hitter and hitting above .400 on the road, you have to ask yourself why was he on the bench?

We have to keep in mind that Altuve is probably getting frustrated with how the season is going just like Astros fans are. He was thrown out of Sunday’s game for arguing a strikeout where he let his frustrations boil over. This was a perfect time for him to get a FULL day off to get his mind back focussed.

Next: Astros Plan For Yulieski Gurriel, What’s His ETA?

The offense missed him last night as they only scored one run on four hits. While the Astros playoff hopes have not sailed yet, the boat is starting to pull away a little. This team needs to perform better offensively, or they will be a spectator in the postseason.

***Stats from Fangraphs***

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