MIAMI, Fla. (KTRK) — If there’s one thing Astros fans might regret about the season, it would be something out of control.
The 68-51 ‘Stros begin a road game in South Florida on Monday when they face the Marlins and a former player who endeared himself to fans for seven years.
Houston’s three-game series this week is the only time this season it faces Miami and first baseman Yuli Gurriel.
At some point this season, former members of the 2022 championship team were able to receive their World Series rings when their new team visits Minute Maid Park. But this series provides the only possible time during the regular season for Gurriel and his former team to meet.
Well, sorry, Astros fans. A roar of applause for “La Piña” getting his jewels inside the Juice Box isn’t happening.
The video above is from a profile on Gurriel in 2017.
The Astros announced they will recognize the 39-year-old during Tuesday’s game.
Before they can get to that, Framber Valdez starts Monday against Braxton Garrett.
Did the Astros really upgrade the position? Here’s what the stats show
Gurriel signed with the National League East team in the offseason after the ‘Stros decided to bring in a free agent Jose Abreu in an apparent upgrade of the position.
Abreu, 36, is currently on the 10-day disabled list with a back ailment, which allowed manager Dusty Baker Jr. to introduce minor league shortstop Jon Singleton, who is set to make his fourth straight start at first base.
Through 129 games in 2023, Abreu played 110, compared to Gurriel’s 76, the result of a timeshare with teammate Garrett Cooper.
SEE ALSO: Former Astros teammates Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman reunite in touching spring training photo
Abreu has also outscored Gurriel 10-3 in home runs, 99-66 in hits and 56-20 in runs.
But Gurriel edges Abreu in efficiency, with a .266 batting average to Abreu’s .234, not to mention Gurriel averaging just half a strikeout per game to Abreu’s 105 strikeouts in 110 games.
Beyond that, though, is each player’s wins above replacement, or WAR. Gurriel is at 0.3 wins over Abreu at -1.
So first base was upgraded? There’s a lot left in the season, but given the amount of money paid to Abreu, which is 19.5 times what Gurriel is making this year, that answer seems to be skewed negatively.
Still, both of these teams will need every hitting or starting pitcher to play down. The Astros are 2.5 games out of the AL West, while the Marlins hold onto the third wild card for the postseason.
Note: Statistics generated by Sports Reference.
More stuff on ‘Tuve
Jose Altuve had just one hit last week during a loss at Baltimore.
But the second baseman played a key role as the ‘Stros reeled off four wins in their last six games, and for that, the American League awarded Altuve Player of the Week.
The 33-year-old had a .520 batting average over the last week, with 13 hits and six runs.
Altuve’s recognition is the second consecutive weekly honor heading to Houston and the third overall in 2023. Valdez was last week AL Player of the Weekdue entirely to his no-hitter performance on August 1st.
Parting Fact: What happened to the Marlins sculpture at home?
Miami’s LoanDepot Park, home of the Astros’ series with the Marlins, is among the newest ballparks in the majors and arguably the strangest.
The ‘Stros have had many hits at the park in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood since it opened in 2012, but among its oddball features is a sea-themed sculpture in the outfield that moves when a Marlins batter hits a homer.
It was one of the most impressive – and perhaps, distracting – outdoor decorations for a park, but it turned out not to be a long-term feature.
Five years ago, a vote moved the sculpture from inside out to an outdoor plaza at the park’s third-base entrance.
Monday will mark the first time the Astros have played at LoanDepot Park since the sculpture was moved.
Well, no, ‘Straus fans, none of the team’s players will get a chance to break a ball to the flying marlins during practice.
SEE ALSO: Yuli Gurriel’s journey from Cuba to the World Series
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