8/19/12: Goodbye Brad Mills, Hello AAA Manager De Francesco

All yall,

so sorry I haven’t posted for a while – we’ve been moving and I haven’t hardly had time to check the scores, let alone blog. I see that since I last posted, the Stros managed to win 1 game and got swept, as usual, by the DBax.

Millsie-poo is gone. We all KNEW he was a goner at the end of the season as Luhnow wants all his own people everywhere. There’s only so much blame to pile on Mills – it’s not like he had anything good to work with, mind. I also don’t know how much freeedom he had to play who he wanted when he wanted – all the platooning crap very easily could have been marching orders from Luhnow’s stable of stat geeks. Only difference between Millsie-poo and Cecil Cooper is that best I can tell, the players/pitchers didn’t HATE Millsie-poo and there wasn’t nearly open rebellion.

The AAA manager was promoted – he won’t have to be paid much – as interim manager. Most of the guys on the team know him because he managed them at AAA, so that will work out. The hitting coach is byby and a guy who was the Oakland Athletics hitting coach from 07-08 (go look up THOSE stats, I dare you) and the new first base coach (goodbye Bobby Meacham ???) is another Luhnow petsie-poo ex-Cardinal named Dan Radison who was a special something or other in player development. What that has to do with coaching first base I can’t tell you.

Interesting that Brocail, the pitching coach, hasn’t been fired yet. It’s not like he’s done anything to help improve anyone.

You want to know, of course, if De Francesco was a winnah at AAA. I will tell you that he did fine as long as his lineup was packed with the AAAA guys who are now mostly up here. He has a pitching staff whose starters have ERAs over 6 and relievers who suck. Over the past 2 weeks, they’re something like 2 -12 and have long since fallen out of first place. It’s not that hard to be a winner when your entire lineup has a BA of .300 and OPS over .800 – unless, of course, your pitchers give up 8 runs a game.

It will be interesting to see if De Francesco continues with all the platoon crap – if he does, we’ll know it’s an order coming from Luhnow, not manager’s decision. Amazing how few managers these days have bout any liberty at ALL to make decisions. The Billy Beane Moneyball characteriztion of Art Howe as a robot who is just there to stand on the dugout step and carry out the orders of the stat geek squad seems to be coming true more and more.

Day off tomorrow, which is good, seeing as how tomorrow will be pure heck for me. Then the guys go to Saint Looey and then the Mets. We’re clutching onto those 39 wins and the Rox and Cubs are falling further and further behind in the great struggle to lose. In fact, but Rox and Cubs have already passed the 42 mark, so they won’t get the record – we still can, especially when we have these pitchers who are so good at giving up 5-9 runs over one inning. And lots of errors and misplays, too – that helps.

Will be very interesting to see who Crane and Luhnow can lure with their miserly ways, to come and manage this team next year. They’ll find SOMEbody, seeing as how there are tons of guys who would gladly manage in the Bigs even if it was a team full of GRRRRLs.

8 Responses to “8/19/12: Goodbye Brad Mills, Hello AAA Manager De Francesco”

  1. Becky says:

    I liked Brad Mills, and I think most of the guys did too, but this is an HISTORICALLY BAD team. We have NO HITTERS, and NO PITCHERS. If the only guy who gets hits is Altuve……..he’s gonna be one tired little guy next year.
    Speaking of next year……man, we’re in BIG do-do. The AL hitters will knock these guys into next year, when they get a chance. I watched (I know, I know) the Rangers and Yankees last week………these guys are G O O D !! Made me shiver!
    I think Crane will spend more than “we” think. He *HATES* to lose, and hopefully
    he will spend some cash in the off season to get SOMEBODY who can pitch and HIT!!! We all knew you were busy…..kids and school! Thank GOD I’m retired!!!

  2. zagger says:

    Hi all! I was at the game last night and had a fleeting moment of fame; far less than the 15 minutes I’m supposed to get according to Woody Allen or somesuch.

    My grandson, who was sitting next to me, caught TWO foul balls and MLB posted it today on the Astros website. Here is the link. Its really neat.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=24031459&c_id=hou&partnerId=aw-7285198507074210370-1032
    Go to playlist and click on “Houston fan takes home two souvenirs”

    It was so fun to be in the stadium again. I love watching the games on TV from a pitcher/batter perspective, but seeing the balls soar to Crawford boxes is exciting.
    I go once a year when my son comes home and hosts the family. He gets tickets in what he calls “the fat boy seats”. (I guess that’s because he IS fat).

    To his credit, Brad Mills left as a gentleman. No acrimony. No backbiting. No whining. No blaming. I hope he gets a job on a winning team somewhere.

    I always feel sad about this time of the year because I love baseball and its almost over, even if it was the stinkiest of seasons.

    Love, love this blog, Lisa’s amazing wit and wisdom, and the good folks who are so baseball savvy and share their love of the game here. Thanks to all of you. You brighten my life.
    zagger

  3. Lisa Gray says:

    becky

    1 – the older kidz get the MORE work they are and the MORE time they need. babies are easy

    2 – crane might could spend SOME money – we know he has to sign SOME kind of FA or the MLBPA will scream like they did with the marlins and their crap. however – seriously, what GOOD FA, not some repeat yearly sign like reggie sanders at the end of his career, is gonna sign HERE? it doesn’t look as if we are last year’s nats with a team full of great young players. it looks like we are the royals part 2

    if you HATE to lose, you don’t buy a clownshoes team like this and not spend money when you still could.

    zagger

    there is absolutely NOTHING like being AT the ballpark. tv doesn’t even begin to really show a game because you miss everything that happens except for the pitch and the swing, then the flight of the ball. no movement of fielders, no movement of runners except for the pickoff/steal stuff. it’s like listening to a band and muting everything except the bass line

    how KEWL for your grandson!!!

    i’m really torn about whether or not to go to the last game to say good-bye to the team. i won’t give crane so much as a nickle, and i hate to boost the attendence figures.

  4. Eric says:

    I wonder if it’s not too late to start an all female MLB league so Houston can get a better team than what they currently have.

    Oh wait, Houston isn’t really a baseball town. (for the record, neither is the rest of Texas. This is a football state, my bad)

    The good news is that football is less than 10 days away to relieve us of our mutual misery…if you’re a fan of football of course.

    This year will be the first ever that I haven’t attended an Astros game in person in a good while. I’ll miss the Astros once they move to the stinkin’ AL where they presumably will once more contend for the MLB loss record in 2013.

  5. Peabo says:

    The platooning defintiely wasn’t an order from Luhnow, unless you think that he would be foolish enough to continue Wade’s terrible marching orders. Mills sucked at platooning or the last two seasons as well. Wallace and Bogusevic never got their shots against lefties. Jason Michaels and Matt Downs started games. Carlos Lee never sat against righties.
    Mills’s pitching decisions were just as backwards, putting in a LHP to face a lefty hitter, even when that batter hit .50-.100 better against a lefty over a righty. He would foolishly double-switch, putting guys on the field in positions they had no business playing.
    Mills was terrible. He might not have had a lot to work with, but he squandered most of what he was given.

    As for Luhnow bringing in a bunch of stat-geeks and ex-Cardinals-staff, I’m all for it and I don’t get why you deride him for it. In the last 12 years, the Cardinals went to the playoffs 8 times and won the World Series two of the three times they went. I’m happy to have the people that helped make that kind of reign possible.

    As for Dan Radison, yeah, he was a roving hitting instructor for the Cardinals farm system. But a simple trip over to wikipedia could have told you that he’s a former minor league catcher/shortstop, and also a former minor league manager with a 622-552 record, and that he was the first base coach for the Nationals in 2010. I think he can handle being the first base coach of a team that usually only has a half-dozen people reaching first base in a game.

  6. Lisa Gray says:

    eric,

    i’m not a football fan. in my opinion, the football everone is so caring about is high school football, not really the pro teams.

    a few baseball people i know keep talking about trusting Luhnow and The Process (kind of like what Royals fans bin dooin with dayton moore and HIS process – and you can see where it’s gotten them) and how the team will be great again in 5 years. then again, it’s not my problem, as the divorce will be final October 4.

    it’s like i keep reminding everyone – in the world of MLB, you can make tons of $$$ even putting a terrible team on the field with minimal attendence, year after year – see Marlins – that is, as long as you don’t gamble your team’s entire assets with bernie madoff. crane has no incentive to actually make the team any better. he has to just show the MLBPA, who don’t give a damm about the minor leaguers, how they are actually spending all their drafting money on prospects, and how they sign some crappy matt downs/darin erstad FA or 2 every year. There isn’t a minimum payroll and crane can use every penny of the 80 mill a year he’s getting from the new TV deal to pay off his enormous debt, while still putting 25 players on the field with the $$$ he gets from MLBAM/revenue sharing/the corporations who, for some reason, still sponsor the Astros.

    peabo,

    these days, unless i hear tell, i have NO way of knowing whether the manager makes out lineups or the GM does. in my opinion, platooning every player not named altuve is beyond stupid. we’re playing with a bunch of utility AAAA guys, is the truth. But refusing to see if brett wallace can actually play first base as an every day player is crazy. Why waste the guy? It was Luhnow who refused to have him called up the day after he traded Clank, mind. WHY? Why play an Old Guy with no future?

    and luhnow’s obsession with ex-cardinals is no different to me than fast eddie’s obsession with ex-phillies. you need to have a little felxibility in your hiring, otherwise you get an organization which can’t deal with foreigners and gets all tied up in its own The Process.

  7. Peabo says:

    I feel that Luhnow’s ex-cardinals and Wade’s ex-phillies are different. Luhnow is bringing in front office guys and coaches that were part of a successful organization. Wade brought in fringe players that barely contributed to the team’s success.

    I think that Luhnow was trying to keep Wallace at AAA for a little while for two reasons. First, Wallace probably should have spent the whole season at AAA last year, and he needs the experience. Second, that team needed Wallace so they could stay in first place and make the playoffs and make it look like our minor teams are already successful.

  8. Lisa Gray says:

    peabo

    there were (so i hear) 2 very separate factions in st looey – luhnow’s guys and mozeliak’s guys. i’m not sure who was “responsible” for success. and i am very wary of “leaders” with posse. it bugs me that luhnow doesn’t/won’t bring anyone from any other Organization who can bring another viewpoint/ideas. it’s what i mean by yesmen – sort of like drayton/tal smith got to be.

    wallace spent most of the year at AAA last year and in fact has spent most of the past 4 years at AAA – more experience??? cmon. especially when you look at the crap we were running out there as soon as clank got traded. any one of all these AAAA guys could help the AAA club – and they aren’t winning because their pitching is unspeakably el-stinko.

    bruce.

    yeah, stealth mode all right. i would guess that most baseball people don’t blame millsie-poo for all the losing. i would bet he can and will get another job – maybe not as manager, but certainly as a coach. i didn’t notice the showing less of millsie-poo. but your wife is prolly right and everyone basically knew. prolly even millsie-poo his own self.

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