The Florida Marlins have told interim manager Edwin Rodriguez that he’ll remain with the team throughout a series in his native Puerto Rico.
There are no guarantees, however, that he’ll remain the Marlins’ manager for each of the three games there.
Looking to gain any edge in the competition for the team’s full-time job, the majors’ first Puerto Rican-born manager will try to impress during the series against the New York Mets that begins Monday night, but red-hot starter R.A. Dickey(notes) could spoil his homecoming.
Rodriguez won his debut Wednesday in Baltimore after taking over for the fired Fredi Gonzalez, but the Marlins (35-40) have dropped four straight since then. Reliever Brian Sanches(notes) gave up a two-run homer in the eighth inning to suffer Sunday’s 4-2 loss to San Diego.
Florida hasn’t lost five consecutive games since May 10-15, 2009, and reaching that mark Monday could hurt Rodriguez’s seemingly faint chances of taking over the team full-time. Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is reportedly the front-runner for the job, and former Marlins coach Bo Porter, currently with Arizona, is also being considered.
“Right now, Edwin is the manager,” owner Jeffrey Loria said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Leading his team past Dickey (6-0, 2.33 ERA) could help Rodriguez distinguish himself. Dickey, a knuckleballer, limited Detroit to four hits and two walks over eight innings in a 5-0 victory Wednesday, missing a chance at his second career shutout only because closer Francisco Rodriguez needed some work.
According to the Mets’ official website, Dickey is the team’s first pitcher to go 6-0 in his first seven starts with the club.
“It doesn’t feel surreal. It feels like something I’ve been capable of doing,” Dickey told the team’s site.
The right-hander now has a chance to become the first Mets pitcher to win seven consecutive outings since Steve Trachsel(notes) from June 9-July 14, 2006. Dickey gave up three runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 4-3 win over Florida on June 4.
Another win Monday could give the Mets (43-32) a shot at first place in the NL East as they moved within a half-game of Atlanta with Sunday’s 6-0 victory over Minnesota. That win - highlighted by home runs from David Wright(notes), Ike Davis(notes) and Jeff Francoeur(notes) - helped New York to its sixth series victory in seven tries, a run that began with a three-game home sweep of Florida earlier this month.
Monday’s scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco(notes) (6-6, 4.92) did not get a decision in the finale of that series but enters the opener against the Mets fresh off his first win in four tries, the 7-5 victory in Rodriguez’s debut.
Nolasco allowed four runs in the second inning but kept the Orioles scoreless from there to pave the way for his team’s comeback.
He has given up three earned runs in each of his last five starts against the Mets, going 2-0 with a 4.02 ERA. Nolasco earned one of the victories May 16 at home, but was denied another win June 6 at Citi Field when the Marlins’ bullpen blew a three-run lead.
Angel Pagan(notes) had two hits and drove in two runs in that game, and is set to return from muscle spasms Monday. Fellow Puerto Rican outfielder Carlos Beltran(notes), however, is expected to continue his recovery from right knee surgery.