I was excited when the Astros hired Bo Porter to be their manager. Porter was highly regarded by baseball people around the league as one of the top candidates to guide a Major League club. I was even more impressed when Porter welcomed his players to spring camp with a multitude of motivational T-shirts, posters, and gadgets in an effort to change the culture in an organization that had become used to losing.
But as the season has unfolded, things haven’t progressed as smoothly as most of us would have hoped. Porter has routinely made curious in-game moves that have been questioned by many, including yours truly. He has also had run-ins with players (most notably Lucas Harrell) that have spilled over into the media.
Astros manager Bo Porter (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Let me take a quick shot at Porter’s latest decision that didn’t make sense to me. Then I’ll pass along some info on what others who are close to Porter may be thinking.
In Monday’s 12-inning win over the Rockies, Porter missed an opportunity in the eleventh. A 2-out walk to Carlos Pena advanced Jason Castro to second base. Porter sent Brandon Barnes in to run for Castro. So far, so good. With Trevor Crowe due up next, I thought the obvious move would be to send Carlos Corporan in to pinch-hit. Corporan leads the team with a .902 OPS and Crowe has been hovering around the Mendoza line since being called up from Oklahoma City.
Even if the move doesn’t work, Corporan is going to come in defensively in the next inning to replace Castro. So why not get your best hitter in the game with a chance to win it?
Well, Crowe managed to reach on an infield hit but the Astros still didn’t score. When Barnes, who leads the team with a .405 OBP and probably should have started the game instead of Crowe, finally got a chance to hit in the 12th he came through with a ground rule double to win the game.
I hate to have to keep questioning Porter’s moves but sometimes I just can’t help it. Obviously I’m not the only one. Take a look at this article by Ken Rosenthal that suggests even some of his coaches are getting frustrated with Bo.
*Tip – There are 2 Astros articles about halfway down the page on the Rosenthal link.