Definition of Hustle: To move or act energetically and rapidly (e.g. Not Ben Francisco)
Last night, as the Astros were once again trying to make a comeback, (well most of them were) a single event jump out and I hope hit everyone in the organization in the face......"elephant in the room" in the 9th.
Now, I understand that talent is limited (at best) on this team and the season is wearing on the players, coaches and fans. But the inexcusable act occurred last night. The 9th started meekly; Astros down 2. Corporan started things off by grounding out...no big shock there. But then things started getting a little interesting. Brandon Barnes gets his first hit in the majors. He was moved to 2nd on a fielders choice when Gonzalez grounded to 2nd...out two. Here's where the wheels feel off (and I came uncorked). Ben Francisco hits a sinking liner to LF and trots up the line. He watched the play instead of running. Brandon Barnes scored from 2nd before Francisco got to 1st. The ball was dropped in left when Bernadina made a diving attempt. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR FRANCISCO NOT BEING ON SECOND! Altuve gets up and singles moving Bogusevic (running for the Francisco) to second, and then to third on a throwing error (Altuve to second) and Downs grounds out to end the game. If Francisco is playing with a reasonable level of hustle he's at second and ties the game on Altuve's single. While it is true, that would have only tied the game, it would at least have given the team a chance to send the game to extra innings.
There are ways to offset a talent deficiency. Patience at the plate, playing hard and executing the fundamentals of the game are three of those ways. plate discipline is learned over time. Fundamentals should be worked on daily and hopefully were instilled in the minors. But playing hard and hustling is a mindset. If Francisco or any other player is just going through the motions; regardless of the standings, they should not be on the field.