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Porter links offensive woes to overanxiousness

HOUSTON -- The Astros have been strictly no "O," no go this season. Houston's starting pitching has been commendable, it's hitting, not so much.

After scoring eight runs on Opening Night in a win over the Rangers, the Astros have managed just three runs in their past three games, all losses. They were shut out Tuesday and Wednesday by the Rangers.

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Manager Bo Porter didn't act worried about his team's offensive problems. He said his team may be overanxious at the plate.

"I think that can happen from an offensive standpoint," Porter said. "You get guys who feel they're going to get the team out of it with one at-bat, one swing. I told them, just concentrate, one pitch at a time."

The Astros struck out 56 times in their first four games.

"Get a good pitch you can handle," Porter told his players. "Keep the line moving. That was our focus all spring. Then you get to the regular season and you see guys trying to do more than what they've been doing the whole time. I stressed that to them. Get a good pitch. Get a good swing on it. It will take care of itself."

An offensive slump at the beginning of the season is much more visible than one in June. The Astros are last in the American League in hitting with a .194 team batting average.

"In this game of baseball, with 162 games, you're going to continue to get your at-bats," Porter said. "Do not start to press. Don't hang your head. Even the three games we've lost, we've been in all three games. We're going to figure out a way to win these games. It just so happens that that these three have gotten away from us."

Porter refused to use the youth of his team as an excuse.

"I don't think that's an age thing," he said. "If you allow tough times to get you down, you're not going to last in this game."

Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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