The abrupt resignation of manager Edwin Rodriguez did nothing to help the Florida Marlins end their lengthy losing streak. Returning home doesn’t seem to promise better results - but the hiring of Jack McKeon as interim manager might.
With the 80-year-old McKeon set to return to the dugout, the Marlins will try to avoid matching a team record with an 11th consecutive loss when they face the Los Angeles Angels and Jered Weaver(notes) on Monday night.
Rodriguez quit prior to a 2-1 defeat to Tampa Bay on Sunday, and rumors quickly began swirling that McKeon, who guided Florida to the 2003 World Series title after also taking over in midseason that year, was again a candidate to lead the club.
Those rumors were confirmed Monday, when McKeon became the second-oldest manager in major league history behind Connie Mack. He’ll lead the club for the rest of the season.
“I’ve managed since I was 14 years old,” McKeon jokingly said. “I’ll probably manage until I’m 95. … I look at it this way: Why should experience get penalized? Eighty doesn’t mean a thing. I’m not 80. My birth certificate says that, but I’m not 80.”
McKeon, who was working as a special assistant to team owner Jeffrey Loria and was thought to be eyeing a return to managing of late, inherits a team that has lost 20 of 22 overall and 11 of 12 at home. Florida (32-40) fell to 1-18 in June with a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, a game managed by bench coach Brandon Hyde.
The right-hander has won his last six decisions and earned the club’s only victory in 19 games this month, June 10 against Arizona. Sanchez threw seven innings of two-run ball before the bullpen fell apart in a 5-4, 10-inning loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
This will be the first time Sanchez faces the Angels.
Los Angeles (35-38), a major league-best 53-25 in interleague play since the start of 2007, continues its 12-game trip with Weaver (8-4, 2.06) set to make his first start against Florida.
The right-hander, 2-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his last five outings, matched a career high with 128 pitches in a 4-0 complete-game win at Seattle on Tuesday. Weaver has lasted at least six innings and thrown 103 or more pitches in each of his 15 starts.
“In college, I used to throw a lot of pitches and I think (manager Mike) Scioscia has given me the reliability to go out there and throw more pitches than in the past,” Weaver said Tuesday following his third complete game of the season.
He is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in nine road interleague starts.
“For Vernon to break out is important to us,” Scioscia said after Wells went 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs in a 7-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.
Bobby Abreu(notes) played in one of the three games in New York over the weekend with no designated hitter in NL parks, but he’ll likely get a few more at-bats in this series. Abreu, hitting .373 in his last 18 games, is batting .324 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs against Florida.
The Angels have won two of three in each of their two series with the Marlins. The teams’ only meeting in Miami came June 6-8, 2003.