The Houston Astros have dismissed manager Brad Mills following a 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. The Astros also dispensed with first base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Mike Barnett.
The Astros are 39-82 in 2012 sitting 34 games back of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. On May 25th, the Astros were 22-23. The following day the Astros began an eight game losing streak and their season was effectively over. Since the Friday before Memorial Day, the Astros have gone 17-59. To make matters worse, the Astros have been 7-38 since June 28th. Suffice it to say, the Astros have the worst record in MLB.
Yet I am surprised that Mills was fired today. I mean it's not like the Astros can win the NL Wild Card at this point. It would have made more sense to dismiss Mills after the season.
Despite their poor record, the Astros were a competitive ballclub. Yes, they usually lost but were generally not blown out by their opponents. Ask the Washington Nationals what they think of the Astros. While the Nats swept a four game series from the Astros earlier this month, they won three of the four games by one run and two of the games went into extra innings.
The Astros will announce Mills' replacement tomorrow morning. I'm not sure if it will make much of a difference now. Things won't get any easier for the Astros in 2013 as they move from the NL Central to the AL West with such powerhouses as their intrastate rival Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels and the resourceful Oakland A's.
Mills took over as Astros manager prior to the 2010 season and was 171-274 in his tenure. The Astros lost 106 games in 2011. Yet keep in mind that the team was undergoing a change in ownership and has shipped off the likes of Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn and Wandy Rodriguez. Mills hasn't exactly had a lot to work with and neither will his successor.
Prior to becoming manager of the Astros, Mills was the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox under Terry Francona. The two knew each other going back to their days in the Montreal Expos organization in the early 1980s.
UPDATE: The Astros named Tony DeFrancesca interim manager. DeFrancesca has been managing the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. The Astros lost 8-1 to the D'Backs. A full-time replacement will be named after the season.
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