After spending the second half as the Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell stepped down from the position last month, citing the need to spend more time with his family and the longer-than-expected hours involved in the job.
Today the Astros announced that Mike Barnett will replace Bagwell as hitting coach, putting him in charge of an offense that ranked dead last or second-worst among NL teams in runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, walks, and homers.
Barnett has spent the past two seasons as the Astros’ minor league hitting coordinator, so he’s worked with most of the young players on the roster already, and before that he had multi-year stints as hitting coach for the Royals and Blue Jays.
Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.
Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.
Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.