DETROIT -- Astros manager Bo Porter wasn't shy about giving rookie outfielder George Springer the green light Monday when he had a 3-0 count against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Springer fouled off three pitches before stroking a single in the first inning against the 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner.
The way Porter sees it, pitchers are likely to throw a fastball at 3-0, so it behooves him to give hitters the occasional green light to take advantage of those situations.
"When you start talking about 3-0, there are a lot of variables that go into whether or not you are going to allow a guy to swing or not allowing a guy to swing," he said. "One, [Springer] had been in somewhat of a funk, and you're trying to get him the best pitch he can get given the particular at-bat.
"Scherzer is obviously a strikeout pitcher with great put-away stuff. I didn't feel like it would be advantageous to George to allow him to go 3-0 and [Scherzer] lays a fastball in there, and now he's trying to hit his secondary stuff the next three pitches. I felt that was the best pitch he was going to see, and I wanted him to have the opportunity to put his best swing on that pitch."
Porter doesn't automatically give a green light when it's 3-0, so the players have to look for a sign each time. If the pitcher is struggling to throw strikes, Porter is likely going to have them take at least one pitch to try to draw a walk.
"At the same time, you can't give a guy a green light and now he's swinging at a pitch that is not a good pitch and you go, 'Why did you swing at that?'" Porter said. "You have to trust they're going to look at the pitch they want and they're going to put a good swing on it."