After a bit of a slow start in the majors, Astros rookie outfielder George Springer is beginning to figure things out.
Springer homered in his fourth straight game tonight while going 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, a walk, and five runs scored in a 9-2 victory over the Royals. The 24-year-old has five home runs and 11 RBI during this recent stretch and is now batting .268/.348/.500 with eight home runs and 25 RBI over his first 35 games in the majors. Among players with at least 150 plate appearances, he’s tied for 14th in the American League in slugging percentage and ranks 17th with an .848 OPS.
Springer scuffled to the tune of a .170 batting average through his first 12 games in the majors, but he’s hitting .319 over his last 23 games. Strikeouts have still been an issue for him even during his recent run of success, but there’s reason for Astros fans to be very excited here.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.