Tag: Brad Mills

Brad Mills Faces Red Sox, Looks to Improve Astros in 2nd Year as Houston Skipper

By George Campbell

Astros skipper Brad Mills faced his former team, the Boston Red Sox, for the first of three scheduled 2011 spring training games on Tuesday. Even though his team lost 3-2, he was pleased with the effort his guys put forth in the game.

“I think we’ve played very well this year. I think you saw that today,” Mills said after the game.

It was a split-squad game, with the remainder of the team back in Kissimmee beating the Mets 5-4. Mills could have stayed with the other team at their home park, but he enjoys the opportunity to play against his former team. He spent 2004-2009 as Terry Francona’s bench coach, helping the team win two World Series during that time.

“It’s always fun seeing those guys. It’s a great group of guys, and of course I have a fondness for Terry and everybody over there as well, including the players and coaching staff. I spent six great years over there.”

He and Francona have ties going back to college, when the two were teammates on the University of Arizona team, and then were with the Montreal Expos together.

He left the Red Sox after the 2009 season to take the manager’s position for the Astros. He has a very positive attitude entering his second year on the job.

“I’m pretty excited because of the players we’ve got,” Mills explained. “We’ve got a great group of guys. They’ve done a great job this spring and they did a good job last year, and we’ll continue to build. I’m pretty excited about it.”

There was a lot to learn as a first-year manager.

“It was the experience of going through it, everything, everything is a process,” he continued. “Gaining familiarity with the coaching staff and the players going into the second year is a plus.”

The Astros finished fourth in the National League Central Division in his first year with the team. He is hoping the second year with the team will produce an even better year in 2011.

“The effort we have been putting out on the field has been extremely good this year. We are continuing with that because we have a great group of guys with a lot of talent, and if they are able to keep that going, we’ll have a good year.”

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Houston Astros Play An All-Star Game In September

Baseball, like all sports, is in the age of specialization.

In football, teams have a guy on the roster who is just a long-snapper and a guy who just handle kickoffs. In basketball, teams have guys on their roster who are defensive specialists or three-point specialists.

In baseball, as we all know, teams have left-handed pitchers on the roster just to pitch to one left-handed batter in the game. Well, the Houston Astros took specialization to another level on Wednesday afternoon.

In a 10-inning, 8-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, manager Brad Mills used nine different pitchers. Really? Nine pitchers to record 30 outs?

Mills essentially turned Wednesday’s game into an All-Star Game.

Here is the inning breakdown of the nine starters used:

JA Happ: 4.1

Henry Villar: 0.2

Felipe Paulino: 1.0

Tim Byrdak: 0.1

Mark Melancon: 0.2

Fernando Abad: 1.0

Brandon Lyon: 1.0

Matt Lindstrom: 0.0

Gustavo Chacin: 1.0

Now granted, Lindstrom was used because Lyon naturally blew the save in the ninth and Chacin was used because Lindstrom was dreadful in the 10th. But even if you take Lindstrom and Chacin out of the equation, there is no way a team should use seven pitchers in one nine-inning game when the opposing team hasn’t scored 10 runs or more.

You want to know why games three-and-a-half or four hours these days? Just look at innings five, six, and seven for the Astros. They used four pitchers to get nine outs.

I don’t mind mixing and matching late in the game, but there is no reason why middle relievers can’t pitch two or three innings these days. There’s really no excuse for it.

It might be a while before Mills ever manages an All-Star Game for the National League, but he certainly managed one for the Astros on Wednesday.

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