Astros fire their pitching coach

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The Astros have announced that they have fired pitching coach Brad Arnsberg. He is being replaced by an interim: Doug Brocail, who if you put a gun to my head I probably would have guessed was still pitching mopup duty for someone out west because I tend not to track guys like Doug Brocail very well.

The reason cited for his dismissal was “philosophical differences,” which given that Brad Mills is pretty secure in his job as manager — and should be, frankly — is likely true. It’s usually managers who are themselves on the firing line who use or allow their coaches to be used as scapegoats.

Still, it ain’t all philosophy. Houston has one of the worst pitching staffs in all of baseball. Overall, they give up more runs a game than every other team. On an ERA basis they’re second to last, ahead of only the Cubs. They have up a decent amount of runs to the Braves over the past four days, and that should be enough to have anyone fired, but I’m assuming there is more of a season-wide assessment at work.

As for the exact nature of the philosophical differences, I have an insider who tells me that it was really a grand thing about free will vs. determinism, and that Arnsberg was really fixated on all of that Pierre Simon Laplace stuff, which just drove Mills batty.

Video: Austin Hedges gets a homer with an alley-oop assist from Mallex Smith

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The Padres’ Austin Hedges hit a fun home run in last night’s game against the Mariners.

He was facing M’s reliever Cory Gearrin with two outs in the sixth and drove one to deep right center. Padres outfielder Mallex Smith ranged back, leapt — though he didn’t have to — the ball doinked off his glove, and went over the fence for an alley-oop homer.

The best part was Hedges chuckling and, I think anyway, kinda tipping his cap to Smith. For his part, Smith sat on the ground and looked rather disgusted about it all. Which, you can’t really blame him:

It was the second time in three days such a homer was hit. On Sunday Dexter Fowler did the same courtesy to Noah Syndergaard.

Now, can someone tell me why these aren’t four-base errors? There’s probably a reason but, really, there’s no way these were dingers without the unintended help of the outfielder.