The Houston Astros should rest Yuli Gurriel for the season’s final week.
The Houston Astros are in the hunt for a playoff spot and are in the midst of one of the most crucial series of the regular season as they battle the Seattle Mariners. In spite of the stakes, it’s my opinion that the team should take Yuli Gurriel out of the lineup for at least a few days and give him time to rest.
It’s not easy to do without one of your best hitters, but that’s what a healthy Gurriel is for this team. Unfortunately he just hasn’t been healthy lately, as he has a hand injury that’s been bothering him and has caused him to wear a wrap over it. It stems from having jammed it in the ground when sliding into second base over a week ago.
Gurriel admitted the hand is still bothering him and the wrap is uncomfortable. He was already in a slump and the injury seems to have prolonged it, as he’s hit just .157 over his last 20 games with only one home run in that span. He’s seen his batting average drop from .297 to .245 and his on-base percentage fall to .286, which is some cause for alarm.
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Even though the Astros are still trying to clinch a postseason berth, this is the time to give Gurriel a much-needed rest. He’s been hitting so poorly lately that he’s not really doing the team any good in the lineup anyway, and a rested and healthy Gurriel will be much more effective in the playoffs.
The team’s offense as a whole has been struggling lately, so Gurriel is far from the only hitter to be enduring a slump. But in this case, we can see an obvious problem that could be an explanation for why he hasn’t come out of it yet. Let Aledmys Diaz play first base and give one of your best hitters a few days to recuperate. He’s not hitting right now anyway, so what do you have to lose?
There’s no guarantee the lineup will awaken when the playoffs start, but I’ll take my chances with a healthy Gurriel as opposed to one who’s still nursing a hand injury. The Astros will need all the help they can get in October, and they can’t afford to rest anyone then. Take the opportunity now and make sure your guys are healthy.