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First-year manager Brad Mills quietly has Astros playing well

Sep 10, 2010, 10:46 AM EDT

Brad Mills’ managerial career got off to a rough start, as the Astros stumbled out of the gates with eight straight losses, had the majors’ worst record through two months at 17-34, and began trading away veterans a short time later.
However, since the calendar flipped to June the Astros have quietly gone 50-39 for the fourth-best record in the league behind only the Phillies, Giants, and Braves.
During that stretch Hunter Pence (.299/.351/.509) and Chris Johnson (.332/.364/.508) have led the offense, Brett Myers (2.75 ERA in 19 starts) and Wandy Rodriguez (2.99 ERA in 18 starts) have carried the rotation, and the bullpen has been shored up with Brandon Lyon closing and Wilton Lopez setting him up.
They’ll still need a very strong finish to avoid their third losing season in the past four years, but for over three months now the Astros have been playing much better than anyone could have possibly expected and even the future looks somewhat brighter thanks to general manager Ed Wade finally deciding it was time to do a full-scale rebuilding effort.

  1. APBA Guy - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Houston is a tough gig. Reputedly, owner Drayton McLane is the most interfering (he’d say “hands on”) owner after King Peter Angelos. So any quality play from Houston is likely to be short-lived, derailed by the next crazy free agent signing.

  2. BC - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    I actually find this completely unbelievable. I literally thought they’d be worse than Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Seattle before the season started, and then with the 0-8 stat I figured my belief was confirmed. They’ve been playing darn good lately. Ask the Phillies. Unbelieveable.

  3. Ace2000 - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Mills was truly beloved as the Red Sox bench coach for the last several years, and he certainly had a hand in their success over that stretch. I think there was always a sort of wistful sense that he was too good to be a bench coach, and would eventually move on and become a successful manager in his own right. Good for him.

  4. Gary - Sep 10, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    McLane has meddled, but what people forget or ignore is that during his ownership the Astros made the playoffs 6 times from 1997-2005. So, please, no more comparisons to Angelos or the Royals or Pirates.

  5. willmose - Sep 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    The Astros only play well at home with roof closed. I wonder why? Hint, the HR Puljos hit in 2005 playoffs only traveled 351′ with no head wind it would have traveled 450+’ Why is there a head wind indoors?

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