The Houston Astros lead the major leagues in errors this season.
Head coach Bo Porter spent his early career coaching younger players and is determined that his team gets back to basics. Simple mistakes have become too frequent for the Astros. For a professional group of athletes, the concept that ‘these guys just need to learn how to catch the ball’ is embarrassing.
The pitching is definitely the focal point for improvement in the club, and though it is inconsistent, the hitting and overall offense has developed recently. But for any improvements that are made, they are still capable of giving innings and games away by mistakes that pros really shouldn’t be making.
Pitching and hitting are spotty and tough to maintain for every club, but basic defense is something that should be much easier to control with simple practice. Dropping fly balls and diving for grounders way out of reach are not going to keep anyone happy.
The move on Marwin Gonzalez’ contract is a sign of Porter’s unrest. The shortstop is capable of fine moments, but can also cause his coaches to tear their hair out. Gonzalez was optioned down to Triple-A today and has 72 hours to decide to accept the demotion or to seek out a trade. Maybe this will act as a deterrent for sloppy play from his peers, who will see that there is much more to the game than some good hitting.
With things looking up one day then frustrating the very next, it comes down to concentrating on the team’s long-term goal to get better. This is not an established ball club; it is a growing one, and there certainly are pains. But they need to maintain what looks to be promising talent, and not just flashes in the pan.