The patient has been in critical condition long enough. It’s high time to add “stable” to the diagnosis and “improving” to the prognosis.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, Bo Porter should set his lineup and his rotation. And be done with it.
Make up your mind on Lucas Harrell. What the heck are your plans for Dallas Keuchel? You know what you have in Erik Bedard, so make the best of it.
A quality team thrives on consistency, cohesiveness and, yes, stability, in the day-to-day routine. Lack of the same makes a bad team even worse. It’s one reason Jeff Luhnow likely gave Brad Mills every opportunity as manager in hopes he would provide some continuity in a tough rebuilding situation.
It’s the very reason that Tony DeFrancesco succeeded down the stretch in 2012. And it’s darn good reason for Porter to take note and provide stability for the next eight weeks.
- Define the rotation. Yes, injuries and number of innings could come into play, but let the guys know who’s starting and who’s going to be expected to pitch in relief.
- Adopt the tandem starter rule with Erik Bedard. It worked in the minors early on. We all know Bedard isn’t going much beyond 90-100 pitches, so match him with either Keuchel or Harrell. That way, the two latter pitchers have some certainty.
- Stop the juggling lineups. After 96 lineups in 110 games, you won’t find the right combination because there isn’t a right combination with this group. Just not enough pieces. Put the best guys out there and let ’em play.
- Stop the merry-go-round from OKC. Okay, this one is probably more for Luhnow than Porter, but by now, everyone knows what each of these players is going to bring to the table. How many times does Jimmy Paredes have to ride that Southwest flight? Barring injury let ’em play, both in OKC and in Houston.
- The next guys up from OKC should be: Asher Wojciechowski, Jake Buchanan and George Springer. Not Paredes, Hector Ambriz or Marwin Gonzalez.
Unfortunately, Porter acts as though he’s managing for his job. Hopefully, that isn’t the case as it would signal desperation on the part of the Astros. Unless there’s something immoral, unethical or downright illegal, the Astros should give Porter his space through next season.
This isn’t a “vote of confidence” for Porter, but Luhnow’s less-than-year-old choice should have 2-3 years to make something happen.
The next step should be stability.