Losses happen. Unacceptable losses? Different story.
When the Astros lost their first eight games to start the season, I heard from many of you who were wondering why Brad Mills wasn’t turning over postgame spreads and screaming at his players to be better.
I wholly disagreed with this, for one reason: the Astros were playing hard, they were playing good defense and they were focused. They just weren’t winning any games.
Mills isn’t the type to scream and throw things (thank goodness), but he knows the right time to admonish the team. And Saturday was a perfect example of when a collectively poor performance needs to be addressed.
The Astros, quite simply, played a bad baseball game on Saturday. It wasn’t just that they lost by nine runs. It’s how they did it. Bad defense. Bad baserunning. Seemingly, a team-wide lack of focus.
That’s when you talk to your club. What Mills said behind closed doors will remain there, but he worded it perfectly when relaying the session to the media.
“What I said in there needs to stay in here,” he said. “You go through times like this, games like this, where guys lose an understanding of how good they are and what they’re capable of. I wanted to reinforce that to them a little bit.”
This goes back to that one buzz word: focus. Its absence was obvious to everyone, whether you were in the dugout, the stands, the press box or watching and listening from home. Lack of focus translates into bad losses, and we all saw it Saturday. The outcome of Sunday’s game is anyone’s guess, but I’m betting the effort will be better.