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Around the NL East: Marlins make surprising move

May 19, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

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ATLANTA BRAVES 

Were it not for Justin Bour’s ninth inning two-out single, we’d be talking about Shelby Miller pitching the Braves’ first no-hitter since 1994. Regardless, the 24-year-old righty was as dominant as you can be in what was still a complete game shutout of the Marlins. The most encouraging sign for Atlanta is that Miller’s performance on Sunday was no fluke; he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start this year, and owns an MLB-best 1.33 ERA.

Miller, who was acquired in a trade that sent outfielder Jason Heyward to the Cardinals, is quickly becoming one of the Braves’ standout pieces in what the team hopes will be a short retooling period. He’s the classic case of how a change of scenery can do wonders for a talented-but-inconsistent pitching prospect. If he keeps this up, there’s no doubt he’ll be in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game.

As for the team he nearly no-hit? Well…

MIAMI MARLINS 

Everyone in the baseball world is asking themselves the same question this week: What are the Marlins thinking?

Just moments after losing 6-0 to Miller and the Braves and falling deeper into the NL East cellar, Miami fired manager Mike Redmond. It was a dramatic move, but not a super surprising one given the organization was clearly looking for a spark. But who did owner Jeffrey Loria tab to replace him? An assistant coach? Nope. A former player with some managerial experience?  Try again. Instead, he handed the job to general manager Dan Jennings, who has no experience coaching at the professional level at all.

Loria’s been known to make peculiar moves in the past, but this one has to top the list. By giving the inexperienced Jennings the nod, the Marlins have potentially created a sideshow of disastrous proportions. Will the players respect Jennings? Is he capable of managing a major league clubhouse? How will he be able to develop his instincts as a manager, as opposed to his previous role as GM? All those questions loom over a struggling ball club looking to dig its way out of the bottom of the standings.

NEW YORK METS 

The Mets are hanging on to their slim lead in the division, and once again it’s their pitching that’s keeping them on top. The rotation has turned in three straight quality starts, including Matt Harvey’s eight shutout frames Monday night against the Cardinals in a 2-1 extra inning victory. On the season, New York has gotten 24 quality starts, second highest in baseball.

What’s been just as impressive has been how the once-unsettled relief corps has held things together. Going into Tuesday’s slate of games, the Mets own the fourth best bullpen ERA at 2.52. This is new territory for a team that for years seemed to have trouble holding on to leads late in games.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES  

You’ve got to give it to the Phillies, they’re not willing to accept the the title of “NL East cellar dwellers” without a fight. Winners of six straight, they’ve moved ahead of the reeling Marlins and are now fourth place in the standings. Even better, it’s the veteran players that Ruben Amaro hopes to trade later in the season that have helped spark the hot streak. Cole Hamels delivered his third straight quality start Monday night to lower his ERA to 3.24, and Ryan Howard has hit .360 the past week and now leads the club in home runs with seven.

[RELATED: Harper named NL Player of Week … again]

  1. ehay2k - May 19, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    I wasn’t aware that Chip Kelly also worked for the Marlins, but it could explain the moves.

    And, not saying Loria as a short fuse, but didn’t Redmond get a 2 year extension very near the end of last year? I mean, what does that say? The Marlins are a mess and if I were Stanton, I’d have set up a countdown clock for my date to opt out of my contract. He must feel betrayed – either by the extension, the firing, or both, lol.

    • Theophilus T.S. - May 19, 2015 at 1:23 PM

      Luria, Loria — they are the same person.

      • ehay2k - May 19, 2015 at 1:28 PM

        I am not about to add Luria to my dictionary. 🙂

    • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 1:46 PM

      If you trust anything Jeffrey Loria says, you have only yourself to blame.

  2. tcostant - May 19, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    I love the move by the Marlins. Anyone around a team full-time should be able to manage them. I remember when Bobby Cox was the GM of the Braves and he had all these great young players, but the team con’t to loss. Turner finally said, you been telling me all these young guys are great, show me, and he made him the manager. That worked out okay.

    Jennings will have coachs helping him, but he’ll get it. He was smart enough to get a GM job. I also remember Larry Dierker coming down from the broadcast booth and managing the Astros.

    Managing isn’t rocket science, it won’t be the disaster that everyone is expecting.

    • tcostant - May 19, 2015 at 1:39 PM

      Dierker was a broadcast from 1979 to 1996 then was hired in 1997 and won manager of the year in 1998.He made the playoffs his first three years as manager. Everyone said then when Dierker was hired what they are saying about Jennings now.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 19, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        Are you suggesting the Nats should fire MW and hire FP? 😉

      • jfmii - May 19, 2015 at 1:50 PM

        Dierker played (quite well as I recall) at the major league level. Not this guy

      • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 1:50 PM

        Dierker also had a big league pitching career prior to broadcasting. Jennings doesn’t have a big league playing career on his resume.

        On another note, regarding the article’s question about splitting his duties, I read on the interwebz that the assistant GM will be assuming the GM duties.

        “Will he be able to mentally split his duties as GM and manager?”

      • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 1:51 PM

        hmmm…I’d call this one a tie, jfmii. 🙂

      • natsfan1a - May 19, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        FP for hitting coach. 🙂

        “Are you suggesting the Nats should fire MW and hire FP? ;-)”

      • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 1:52 PM

        Right – Dierker played in the majors from 1964-77..

        Cox spend about 2 years as a player in MLB, and was a manager for 6 years in the minors before helming the Braves.

        Very different situations.

      • dhamm6500 - May 19, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        Didn’t Bobby Cox manage the Blue Jays before he became the Braves GM?

      • manassasnatsfan - May 19, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        Yes Cox was Blue Jays manager before he went to Atlanta

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 19, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        And then there’s Jerry Coleman coming down from the booth to manage the Padres, but he, too, had a decent MLB run with the Yankees.

      • Hiram Hover - May 19, 2015 at 3:24 PM

        Cox managed the Braves from 78-81, the Blue Jays from 82-85. In other words, he had 8 years of MLB managing experience before he became a GM.

        If Wikipedia is to be believed, Jennings’ only prior managing experience was as a high school coach.

      • tcostant - May 19, 2015 at 6:17 PM

        Master not FP, but I think Ray Knight could manage this team. No doubt.

  3. Mel - May 19, 2015 at 1:53 PM

    I think one of the issues for the Marlins was thinking the team was ready to compete now, and instead of letting the young talent in the minors progress naturally to point of contributing at the big league level, trading away some of their most promising prospects for immediate help in the bigs.

    Now, they aren’t in contention and lose valuable years of control

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