(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros will take to the field with some new
administrative personnel today when they close out a three-game series with
the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks at Minute Maid Park.
Houston, which dropped Friday's opener by a 3-1 score, found itself without a
manager and a pair of coaches after following the initial loss with a 12-4
defeat to the Diamondbacks in Saturday's second game.
Manager Brad Mills was informed of the decision by general manager Jeff Luhnow
after the game. Mills was 171-274 since his hiring in October 2009 and becomes
the fourth consecutive Astros manager to be fired mid-season, following Jimy
Williams, Phil Garner and Cecil Cooper.
"I love the players, I love the effort they gave every day," Mills said.
"They've been great to me and how they've gone about everything and I love our
fans. The fans we have here in Houston are the best, and they've been great to
me, as well, and I appreciate them an awful lot. I wish the best for the
players and the fans as we move forward."
Hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meachem were also
dismissed amid a stretch where the Astros have won just six times in 35 games
since the All-Star break and only 12 times on the road all season.
Early reports indicate that Houston bench coach Joe Pettini, hired by Luhnow
in the offseason, will take over the team on an interim basis through the end
of the regular season. A pre-game press conference was scheduled by the team
on Sunday morning.
The Astros start day one of the new era with Venezuelan righty Armando
Galarraga, who starts for the fifth time in a Houston uniform since he was
signed as a free agent in late May.
The 30-year-old got a no-decision against Pittsburgh in his first outing on
July 28 and has since dropped consecutive decisions to Atlanta, Washington and
the Chicago Cubs while combining to allow 15 runs in 20 1/3 innings across the
He was touched for five runs on seven hits in five innings against the Cubs on
Aug. 13 and will try again for his first win in the big leagues since a 5-4
win at Cincinnati while with the Diamondbacks on April 19, 2011.
He was 3-4 in eight starts with Arizona last season and is 1-0 against the
Diamondbacks in two career starts.
He's opposed by right-hander Ian Kennedy, who'll try to end a two-start skid.
A 21-game winner last season, Kennedy got to 10-8 this season with a 4-2 win
at Philadelphia on Aug. 3 before consecutive losses at Pittsburgh and St.
Louis dropped him back to .500 at 10-10.
He allowed six runs in four innings against the Pirates on Aug. 8, then was
touched for five runs in six innings against the Cardinals six days later.
Kennedy won his lone career meeting against the Astros after allowing eight
hits and striking out three over 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 1-0 win on May
In Saturday's second game, Aaron Hill capped an impressive nine-run fifth
inning with a three-run home run as the Diamondbacks thumped the Astros.
Chris Young smoked a solo home run among his four hits, scored twice and
finished with three RBI. Ryan Wheeler clubbed his first major league long
ball, while Justin Upton, Paul Goldschmidt and Stephen Drew added RBI for the
Diamondbacks, who have won three straight.
Patrick Corbin (5-4) allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and five
strikeouts to pick up the win, while Houston starter Jordan Lyles (2-10) was
rocked for seven runs - five earned - on eight hits and three walks over four-
plus innings in defeat.
"He had a real efficient last two innings and won another game for us,"
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Chris Snyder ripped a two-run home run and Tyler Greene hit a solo shot for
the Astros, who have lost three in a row and five of their last six.
The Diamondbacks swept the three-game series in Phoenix in July, outscoring
the Astros, 33-13. Arizona won the 2011 season series, six games to one, and
hasn't lost it since 2006.
The Sports Network