Edwin Rodriguez’s surprising resignation Sunday brings an end to another pretty forgettable managerial tenure in Florida. In 163 games after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez, he went 78-85, and he exits with the Marlins in last place in the NL East at 32-39 this year.
If Rodriguez hadn’t resigned, he may well have been fired soon. It never appeared as though the Marlins had a lot of faith in him, even though they chose to stick with him after interviewing other candidates in the offseason.
Rodriguez, though, did a pretty good job with the Marlins on the field. He was a clear upgrade from Gonzalez there, especially in the way that he ran his bullpen. Gonzalez was all about putting guys in roles and leaving them there until being left with no other choice. Rodriguez was much more proactive. He rode his hot hands in the pen without wearing guys out.
The lineup was the same deal. Gonzalez thought Jorge Cantu was an RBI guy, so he batted him cleanup and let him so often bring the offense to a screeching halt. Rodriguez entered the season planning to use Mike Stanton as a cleanup man, but he showed flexibility when Gaby Sanchez turned in his strong spring. He made lemonade out of lemons by giving Greg Dobbs a crack at the third-base job.
In the end, Rodriguez was undone by the hand he was dealt. There was no anticipating Hanley Ramirez’s horrible season. Plus, Josh Johnson’s injury had taken a toll this month. A bigger problem that won’t get so much attention was that the Marlins had been without their sixth and seventh starters all year. With Alex Sanabia and Sean West sidelined due to arm problems, they had no one to step in for Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, both of whom are sporting ERAs over 6.00.
So now Rodriguez is gone. And spared from the stress of working for Jeff Loria. It’s too bad that he probably won’t be so quick to have another opportunity fall into his lap like Gonzalez did with the Braves. He was an upgrade in the manager’s seat for the Marlins.
Jacob deGrom put together one of the best post-season starts in Mets history, outdueling three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to pitch his team into a 1-0 NLDS lead. The right-hander fanned 13 over seven shutout innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and a walk as the Mets won 3-1.
deGrom’s game score of 79 is the fifth-best by a Mets starter in the playoffs, behind Jon Matlack, Mike Hampton, Bobby Jones, and Tom Seaver, according to Baseball Reference. As Katie Sharp notes on Twitter, deGrom is one of three pitchers to hold the opposition scoreless on 13 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks. The other two are Tim Lincecum and Mike Scott.
In the eighth inning, reliever Tyler Clippard allowed a one-out double to Howie Kendrick followed by an RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez as the Dodgers finally got on the board. Closer Jeurys Familia entered and recorded the final out of the eighth inning by inducing a weak line out from Justin Turner. In the ninth, Familia worked a 1-2-3 frame to wrap up the game.
Kershaw remains winless in the post-season since Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, a span of seven starts. He gave up a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning, then walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning before departing with two outs. Reliever Pedro Baez entered and allowed two of his inherited runners to score when David Wright lined a single to center field. On the evening, Kershaw was on the hook for three runs on four hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts. Though he lost his command a bit towards the end of his start, the lefty pitched quite well and will be on the receiving end of some unnecessary criticism as a result of taking another post-season loss.
deGrom and Kershaw both struck out 11 batters, the first time that has happened in a major league post-season game.
Michael Cuddyer didn’t look too good out in left field for the Mets.
Game 2 of the NLDS will continue on Saturday at 9:00 PM EDT. Noah Syndergaard will start for the Mets opposite Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers over six frames on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and four walks total in 6 2/3 innings.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.