Will Astros' lineup change with Alex Bregman, Jeremy Peña actually make a difference?

Joe Espada made a change. But will it work?
Houston Astros infielders Jeremy Pena, Alex Bregman
Houston Astros infielders Jeremy Pena, Alex Bregman / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Houston Astros needed to shake things up. The top of the lineup card remained the same when Houston took the field this week — Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez took their usual spots slotted 1-2-3 in the batting order.

But Astros manager Joe Espada decided to make a change in the cleaup spot. On Tuesday, Jeremy Peña was batting fourth in the Houston lineup and was followed by Alex Bregman. Prior to the change, those two were flip-flopped with Bregman batting fourth and Peña hitting fifth. The same was the case for Wednesday and Thursday.

With Bregman struggling and Peña hitting .307 on the season, the move made a little bit of sense. But both Bregman and Peña have been in a slump recently with neither player really able to rack up some hits or even reach base. Over their last 15 games combined, Bregman and Peña are hitting just .215. Will this lineup change really make a difference?

Will Astros' lineup change with Alex Bregman, Jeremy Peña actually make a difference?

Seeing as how the Astros scored a grand total of three runs in the two games since the lineup change, it's hard to argue in favor of making such a move. But that's a very small sample size and rather unfair to be so critical just a handful of games into the switch.

This season, Peña has been the fourth-best hitter on the Astros roster behind Altuve, Tucker, and Alvarez. One could make the argument for Jake Meyers, but it's difficult to trust the outfielder given his career .675 OPS heading into this season.

While flipping Peña for Bregman isn't necessarily something that's going to make a dramatic difference, Espada had to do something. On the season, Bregman is hitting .213/.276/.333 with a 76 OPS+. Bregman's .610 OPS is nearly 250 points lower than his career average.

Despite the slow start to their 2024 campaign, the Astros are not out of the AL West race by any stretch of the imagination. But the fourth spot in the Astros lineup, where Bregman would oftentimes find his name, ranks last in the American League in OPS (.624). Something had to change.

The top three spots in the Astros batting order were all among the top five in the AL in OPS, so you see now why Espada had to do something. Will it work? That remains to be seen.

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