A couple of days ago Ken Rosenthal reported that there was serious tension between Astros manager Bo Porter and general manager Jeff Luhnow. I guess “tension” was an understatement, because Bo Porter has been fired.
In addition to Porter, bench coach Dave Trembley has been fired as well. The Astros have named minor league manager and longtime coach and player Tom Lawless as the interim manager. There will be a press conference at 2pm Central time. In the meantime, Luhnow has released a statement, which reads in part:
“Bo’s passion and energy are unparalleled, and his desire to win unquestioned. This decision was not made because of our current level of competitiveness in the Major Leagues. I recognize that our win-loss record is largely a product of an organizational strategy for which I am responsible. Rather, I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse.
The rest of the statement can be read in Evan Drellich’s story at the Houston Chronicle. In it Luhnow clearly implies that the firing was based on communication and disagreements with Porter and/or Porter’s alleged deficiencies in dealing with the team’s young talent. Of course, given that Porter and Luhnow have been reported to have huge disagreements about things, it’s quite possible Porter has another story.
Porter probably had no chance from the get-go. The Astros were a total tear-down job and they were, as Luhnow’s statement suggests, set up to lose. While Porter theoretically had a long leash as a result, it’s hard to think of any other situations in baseball history where the caretaker manager during a rebuild was around by the time the team was competitive. And the Astros’ rebuild has been a longer-than-usual process with some time still left before the team can reasonably be expected to win. Even if there weren’t tensions here, Porter would’ve probably been replaced eventually.
Via Deadspin, a data point that Japanese baseball is a bit different than what we’re used to. Specifically, a high school game which lasted 50 innings and was played over four separate days. It was 0-0 through 49 innings and ended with a score of 3-0 following a 50th inning rally by the visiting team.
The kicker: the same two starting pitchers pitched all 50 innings each. Which, even though it was broken up over four days, is a crazy, crazy workload. One pitcher tossed 709 pitches. The other threw 689.
So, yeah, that happened.
For the first time since July 20, the Brewers wake up this morning with some company in first place. But now they’re getting a bit of a reinforcement: they’ve activated Matt Garza from the disabled list.
Garza will return to the Brewers’ starting rotation on Wednesday against the Cubs. He missed about a month with a left oblique strain. Garza is 7-7 with a 3.58 ERA and a 104/43 K/BB ratio in 145 and two-thirds this season
The Royals best win of the season came on Tuesday night. But because there were only 13,000 people there, Ned Yost took it upon himself to call out the fans for not showing up, saying that the Royals needed their support:
“I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game? . . . We’re in a pennant race, yeah . . . there’s a real need for our fans to be a part of this. We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t.”
So over the weekend, Royals fans came to Kaufman Stadium en masse, selling the place out. Here’s Yost last night:
“The crowds have been fantastic,” Yost said. “I think it’s got them juiced up. They want to really perform for them. And that never works. You’ve got to stay disciplined.”
Maybe Yost should just tell Royals fans the exact number of people he needs in the seats for his team to play at its best.
The Angels swept the Athletics and took a five-game lead in the AL West. Quite a fall for the A’s who, until quite recently, were the best team in baseball. What say you, Bob Melvin?
For those who can’t watch the video:
What can you say? It was embarrassing. Pathetic. We don’t play like that. The last three games here are the worst I’ve seen this team play in… I can’t remember how long. I feel bad for our fans to have to watch that . . . The reason I’m upset is because that’s not who we are. That’s not who we’ve been for three years. And for the last… I don’t know how long, it’s mounted. It’s been frustrating. But that last three games for us is just not who we are. At all. And it’s embarrassing. They all should be embarrassed.
I’m done. Thank you.
The A’s went scoreless for 29 straight innings at one point. In a series that lasted 37 total innings. Yeah, not a great weekend.