Marlins fire John Mallee, name ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez as new hitting coach

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The Marlins must have been inspired by the quick hook that the Rangers gave to rookie hitting coach Thad Bosley on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Marlins’ official Twitter feed, hitting coach John Mallee has been “relieved” of his duties and ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Perez will take over the gig Thursday.

Mallee was promoted to the role of major league hitting coach in June of last season after spending nine years as a minor league hitting instructor in the Marlins’ farm system. He was drafted as a player by the Phillies in 1991 and hit .208 in 115 career minor league games before hanging up his cleats in ’92.

The Marlins ranked 19th in runs scored, 21st in total hits, 17th in home runs and 15th in team OPS heading into Wednesday’s action and lost to the Braves in extra innings tonight. Rarely would any of that be the hitting coach’s fault, but the front office decided to name a scapegoat and Mallee got the boot just an hour or two after Florida’s defeat. The appeal of adding a “big name” like Perez also probably played a part.

Perez has no major league or minor league coaching experience, but he serves as skipper for Leones De Ponce of the Puerto Rico Baseball League in the winter and won Manager of the Year there in 2008.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.