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TAMPA BAY — With the team slipping from his control more and more every day — and amid a season-high 10-game losing streak — Edwin Rodriguez decided Sunday morning that he had seen enough. The soft-spoken Marlins manager notified Larry Beinfest and others within the organization of his resignation shortly before the Marlins were scheduled to play the Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale.
In a move that came as a “shock” to some within the organization, this move appears to be Rodriguez’s best managerial decision since taking over as skipper in June of last year. Through all the negativity swirling around the organization over the last three weeks, the consensus was that Rodriguez’s job was safe — but Edwin knew better.
Earlier this season, Bob Geren was fired as manager of the Oakland A’s after the team went on a 9-game losing streak and fell to last place in the division. Rodriguez’s team also was on a 9-game losing streak and had also fallen to last place when his tenure was cut short. Only Edwin left on his own terms.
So what direction do the Fish go in now?
For starters, “Trader Jack” McKeon is returning to the dugout for the Fish, his first managerial job since 2005 when he was with, well, the Marlins. The 80-year-old skipper is most known for taking a young Marlins team all the way to the World Series in 2003, where the Marlins beat the Yankees in six games for the second World Championship in franchise history.
McKeon has been named the interim manager for the remainder of the season. It is widely assumed that the organization is seeking to hire a “big name” manager for the 2012 season, when the team moves into its brand new ballpark.
Hopefully there’s a little magic left in that Centrum Silver bottle of his because the Marlins are free-falling. The team has made terrible look amazing, plummeting from one game out of first place on May 26th to 13 games out as of yesterday. The Fish have gone 1-18 so far in June and its current 11-game losing streak has set the franchise record for futility set back in 1999.
The team was looking to avoid its first double-digit losing streak in more than 10 years on Sunday as Brandon Hyde took over for the recently resigned Rodriguez. Normally, interim managers are a lock to win their first game, but this is not a normal team.
Since 1990, new skippers have won their first game 73% of the time. Now, since we know that 85% of statistics are made up, don’t take that last one to the bank. I have no idea, it just seems to happen a lot. Can someone get Elias on the phone for me?
The Marlins did manage to keep this one close, but for the second time in a month, James “Big Game” Shields shut down the Marlins offense, once again on a Sunday. Coincidentally, the Marlins are 3-9 this season on Sundays, losing their last six straight. Fittingly, this past Sunday was Father’s Day and Shields proved once again that he indeed is the Marlins’ daddy.
Shields went the distance against the Fish, allowing only four hits while striking out 10. Shields fanned 13 Marlins back on May 22nd. Shields and teammate Wade Davis used this weekend to showcase Tampa’s continued dominance in the pitching game. Davis has had an up and down season so far, but the Rays’ right-hander put together his best outing of the season when he allowed only one run on six hits in Friday’s affair.
Sunday’s loss marked back-to-back sweeps against the Fish, and the Marlins have now been swept in four of its last five series. Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Philadelphia all swept the Marlins. A lone win against Arizona back on June 10th is the only thing standing in the way of five consecutive sweeps.
So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
Hopefully for the “Friends of the Fish”, Jack McKeon will be able to breathe a little Marlins magic back into this club before the season is completely lost, because that time is drawing near. Yes, Hanley is still lost in hopelessness. Yes, Josh Johnson is still on the DL with no return in sight. Yes, the team’s ERA has ballooned in the last month and the club has forgotten how to win. Jack and the rest of the Fish will just have to figure it out because after all, Bobby Valentine’s not waking through that door — yet.
News and Notes:
Albert Pujols suffered a slight fracture in his wrist after colliding with Kansas City’s Wilson Betemit on Sunday. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, opening the door for the Pirates to take over the division lead. Now let’s try the Scooby-Doo ending…Rory McIlroy won his first career major at the age of 22 on Sunday. Tiger Woods reportedly sent the young Irishman a congratulatory gift basket which included, among other things, a $50 gift certificate to Hooters and a coupon good for a free full-body massage at some place called “Amen Corner”…The NBA draft is on Thursday and the Cleveland Cavaliers once again have the 1st overall pick. With only two days left until the draft, Cavs fans sit anxiously and wait to find out whose jersey they will be burning four years from now.
About the Author
Written by Jon Melton
Born in the Northeast and now residing in South Florida, I've traveled the country in search of truth, justice and the best hot dog. A regular contributor for the Miami Herald, I cover all the sports that SOFLA has to offer. Have questions, comments or cleverly constructed insults? Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org