First-year manager Brad Mills quietly has Astros playing well


Brad Mills’ managerial career got off to a rough start, as the Astros stumbled out of the gates with eight straight losses, had the majors’ worst record through two months at 17-34, and began trading away veterans a short time later.
However, since the calendar flipped to June the Astros have quietly gone 50-39 for the fourth-best record in the league behind only the Phillies, Giants, and Braves.
During that stretch Hunter Pence (.299/.351/.509) and Chris Johnson (.332/.364/.508) have led the offense, Brett Myers (2.75 ERA in 19 starts) and Wandy Rodriguez (2.99 ERA in 18 starts) have carried the rotation, and the bullpen has been shored up with Brandon Lyon closing and Wilton Lopez setting him up.
They’ll still need a very strong finish to avoid their third losing season in the past four years, but for over three months now the Astros have been playing much better than anyone could have possibly expected and even the future looks somewhat brighter thanks to general manager Ed Wade finally deciding it was time to do a full-scale rebuilding effort.

Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.