MLB Week in Review (May 15-21)

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Patience is wearing thin in the MLB this year as not even the second month of the regular season has been finished and already two teams have changed their managers.

First it was the Milwaukee Brewers who fired Ron Roenicke and hired Craig Counsell as their manager after a 5-18 start to the season that sent them to the bottom of the NL Central.

The start was not good enough and after years of sitting in the basement they wanted to make a change and were not going to wait for the end of the year.

This week the Miami Marlins followed suit as they announced that Mike Redmond was no longer their manager and instead Dan Jennings was going to take over.

The Marlins had started 16-22 and slipped to the bottom of the NL East and with the Marlins sick of being the doormats of the East they looked to make a move hiring Jennings to try to turn the team around.

The new managers have had some mixed results in their time with Jennings losing his first two games as manager and Counsell going 10-7 since he took over on May 4th.

These changes are some of the strangers in sports as they come right at the start of a season where the former managers are given a very short rope.

It is clear that these teams came into the new season with an idea that their managers were going to get a chance to show they belonged and if they didn’t they were gone.

With both teams struggling over the last two years they were not going to wait too long to make changes in 2015 but still believed that their managers deserved at least a chance to show that they could get the job done.

With bad starts that were only pushing them further from the postseason race after only a month in the season the teams were done waiting.

They made the change and for both teams it is a desperation move that is an attempt by both teams to turn things around before it’s too late.

They bring in new managers that do a number of things for the team as they bring new life into a team that has a losing attitude and send a message to the players.

The new managers, if picked right, can bring a new attitude into the locker room and get the best out of players that have almost gotten used to winning under ad old manager.

It also sends a message to the players that anyone is replaceable and that these teams are not going to wait to get rid of dead weight.

That can light a fire under some players and make them up their game for fear that they might be traded or might find themselves in the minor leagues.

The Marlins and the Brewers are trying to do something to get out of the rut that both teams have been in over the last few years.

They are looking for something to change their fortunes this year before they get too far and so they looked to the bench to fix their problems.

With that need for something different teams are also thinking a bit outside of the box and are no longer looking for experienced managers, or at least not the Marlins or the Brewers.

Both Counsell and Jennings have never managed in the MLB or the MiLB. Counsell retired from baseball in 2012 and spent his retirement as a special assistant to GM Doug Melvin and as a broadcaster before being hired as the manager.

Jennings never played but coached high school ball before becoming an executive in the Marlins organization. He rose through the scouting ranks and became the general manager before he essentially hired himself as the manager with the assistant GM taking over as the General Manager.

Both managers have not risen through the ranks nor did they pay their dues but instead found a way to the bench as teams looked outside of the usual suspects to find their guys.

With the Brewers it may end up being more successful as Counsell is a former player who only left the game a few years ago and can relate to the players in the locker room.

Jennings is a stranger decision though as he never made the MLB, he only got as high as Class A for the New York Yankees.

He is the executive that is coming down to coach players that generally don’t have good if any relationships with the men in the front office.

He won’t relate as well with the players and doesn’t know what they went through although he could bring a different view to the players.

Both teams are looking for a way out of the basement and if these new managers can do it they will be part of some major renovations but they have a lot of work to do as they get almost a full season to get their work done.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

New 400 HR Members
This week there were two new members of the 400 home run club as Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre both hit their 400th and put themselves in some great company that will give them more hope of earning a hall of fame nod when they retire

Furcal announces retirement
He batted for average and created havoc on the bases as Rafael Furcal was one of the more consistent players in the MLB and now after a comeback attempt with the Kansas City Royals fell short one of the great base runners has announced his retirement

Hamilton set to return
Josh Hamilton has had a tumultuous year so far with a relapse and an injury keeping him out of the MLB so far and now as he recovers from both and from the trade that sent him back to the Texas Rangers he seems ready to return and prove he still has what it takes

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Key Series:
Kansas City Royals 2 – 1 New York Yankees
– Two of the best teams in the American League faced off as both teams came into the series leading their division as the Royals proved that they belong beating the Yankees in two of the three games to remain one of the best in the league

Detroit Tigers 2 – 1 St. Louis Cardinals
– They have been two of the most consistent teams over the last few years as the Tigers have ruled the AL Central and the Cardinals have been at or near the top of the NL Central with both facing off and the Tigers taking two to bring them closer to the top of their division

Houston Astros 2 – 1 Oakland Athletics
– The Astros have surprised everyone this year as they shot up the standings to sit at the top of the West division while the A’s have fallen to the bottom after being the team to beat for the last few years and they remained on the bottom only taking one game from the Astro

San Francisco Giants 3 – 0 Los Angeles Dodgers
– The Dodgers are sitting atop the West division while the Giants have climbed back into the race against their division rival helped in large part from this series sweep where they were able to climb even closer to the Dodgers in what has always been a tight battle

Upcoming Series:
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals [May 22/23/24]
– The Cards are the best team in the MLB right now and the Royals are right behind them as an early preview of a potential World Series is here with the Cards and Royals both looking to take the series and continue their strong start to the season

Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs [May 25/26/27]
– The Nationals and Cubs were expected to fight for the National League crown but both started out a little slow and as they face off now both teams are meeting their potential as they face off in a potential postseason preview

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [May 25/26/27]
– The Braves are struggling to continue their run as one of the best teams in the National league and now they have to take on the Dodgers who are truly one of the best team in the NL and looking to remain that way

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics [May 25/26/27]
– The Tigers remain one of the best teams in the league but struggle to find their way past the Royals as they look to do so against the Athletics who have not been able to get back oto their winning ways

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