It’s taken less than two months for the list of unemployed managers to reach two as following Sunday’s loss to Atlanta the Miami Marlins fired Mike Redmond. Former GM Dan Jennings has been named as Redmond’s replacement.
The Marlins and their fans hope that history repeats. In 2003, then known as the Florida Marlins, the team got off to an identical 16-22 start. Jeff Torborg was fired and veteran manager Jack McKeon took over. The Marlins went 75-49 the rest of the way, winning the NL Wild Card. They rode that momentum all the way to their second World Series title, defeating the New York Yankees in 6 games.
There is talent on this Marlins team with a strong outfield and a decent pitching staff that will be bolstered when Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery within the next few months. Miami was projected by many to contend for a Wild Card as the Washington Nationals were all but conceded the division title. With more than 100 games still to be played there is plenty of time for the Marlins to get things straightened out and make a run.
As is often the case when midseason managerial changes are made, the Marlins could enjoy a short term positive burst and be a profitable play over the next couple of weeks.
Several other managers are on the hot seat following poor early season starts but the White Sox’ Robin Ventura may now not be on the list. The Sox have played well after a poor April and started this week as winners of 9 of their last 12 games and have gotten back to .500 at 17-17.
Colorado’s Walt Weiss may be the most vulnerable. After opening the season with a series sweep in Milwaukee and an overall 7-2 start, the Rockies have gone 6-19 since and sit in last place in the NL West. Only Oakland and Milwaukee have won a lower percentage of their games.
Terry Francona in Cleveland is probably safe but with the Indians just 14-22 the passionate fans by the lake might be getting a bit impatient if things do not turn around over the next month or so. Cleveland was a fashionable pick to win the AL Central but they start the week in last place, four games behind the fourth place White Sox.
Houston has the best record in the AL and can be considered the biggest positive surprise of the young season but let’s not overlook the Minnesota Twins.
Paul Molitor succeeded longtime Twins manager Ron Gardenhire after last season, taking over a team that had lost at least 90 games for four straight seasons. The prospects for this season were not much brighter as the OVER/UNDER total wins for the Twins were 73.5, lowest in the AL.
Nearly a quarter of the season has been played and the Twins are 21-17 and have rewarded their backers with 8 units of profits. Minnesota has one of the best early season home records, 14-6, and should continue, in the short term, to be undervalued in the markets as one of those well performing, under-the-radar teams.
Wishing a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend here’s a look at three attractive weekend series.
Padres at Dodgers: These Division rivals have already played a pair of series this season. The Dodgers won two of three each time, first at home to open the season and then in San Diego at the end of April. All 3 games of the series in Chavez Ravine went OVER the Total while 2 of 3 games in San Diego stayed UNDER. In their first 6 games against one another 4 of the games produced at least 9 total runs. PLAYS: Padres + 130 or more not facing Greinke or Kershaw; Dodgers -125 or less in any matchup; OVER 7 or lower in any matchup not involving Greinke or Kershaw.
Astros at Tigers: A four game series that starts on Thursday and is one of the most intriguing series of the early season. To be fair, Houston has not faced a very tough early season schedule with 26 of their 38 games against their AL West Division rivals. This will be a major test for the young Astros. We will be able to see how they compete against a veteran, well experienced team that has had sustained success over the past decade. PLAYS: Astros underdogs of any price in a start by Keuchel; Astros +125 in a start by McHugh; Detroit -140 or less in starts by Price or Simon not facing Keuchel or McHugh; UNDER 8 or higher if Keuchel or McHugh oppose Price or Simon; OVER 8.5 or lower if none of those four pitchers is involved.
Cards at Royals: The most attractive of this weekend’s three interleague series is a reprise of the dramatic 1985 “I-70” World Series that is best remembered for umpire Don Denkinger’s blown call in Game 6 that led to the Royals winning the series the next night. This should be baseball played at a very high level. St Louis has to contend with the loss of ace Adam Wainwright due to a season ending injury and may be a surprise bidder for the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, thought to be the best pitcher available for trade. PLAYS: Cards underdogs of any price in starts by Wacha, Lynn or Lackey against any KC starter; Royals -120 or less in starts by Volquez or Young against any St Louis starter; Royals -140 or less in a start by Volquez not facing Wacha or Lynn; UNDER 7.5 or higher if Wacha or Lynn oppose Volquez; OVER 8 or lower in matchups not involving Wacha, Lynn or Volquez.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]