HOUSTON â" First-year owner Jim Crane believes firing manager Brad Mills and replacing him with interim manager Tony DeFrancesco will help the hapless Houston Astros win more games.
That plan got off to a slow start Sunday.
Houston dropped its first game under DeFrancesco when Aaron Hill homered twice to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-1 win and a series sweep.
DeFrancesco was the manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City before being promoted. The major league-worst Astros (39-83) fired Mills late Saturday night.
âWe need fans in the building and we want to win more ballgames,â Crane said following Houstonâs fourth consecutive loss. âWe think this is a process that will help us win more ballgames. The team was really struggling and the demeanor in the clubhouse wasnât what you want it to be. If thereâs a message to the fans, itâs that weâre going to make good decisions and we want to win.â
Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said he made the move to âbring in a new environmentâ to the National Leagueâs youngest team. But it was more of the same Sunday as the Astros fell to 7-33 in their last 40 games.
DeFrancesco, who has managed in the minors for 17 seasons, said he âalmost fell to the floorâ when Luhnow offered him the position and that itâs something heâs been waiting for his entire career.
âMy first major league managing game didnât work out the way I wanted it,â he said. âBut it was an honor to put the Astros uniform on and be part of the organization. Iâm excited to get it going.â