Miami Marlins: Dan Jennings shuffles struggling lineup once again


The Miami Marlins, losers of five straight and National League East basement-dwellers at 16-24, have scored a total of four runs in their last three games. This dreadful slump has prompted new manager Dan Jennings, who has been at the helm for just the two most recent losses, to once again switch up his lineup card in hopes that his slumbering bats will be rudely awoken and actually score some dang runs, for once.

Jennings, who probably has no clue what he’s doing right now, presents this lineup for tonight’s third game of the series with the Arizona Diamondbacks:

The noteworthy changes are the presence of Marcell Ozuna in the two-hole and Martin Prado in the cleanup spot. Conventional wisdom has traditionally suggested that you should bat your best “bat control” guy second, although modern thinking from the sabermetric crowd has recently seemed to lean toward plopping a team’s best overall hitter in the two-hole. At least that’s what some of the “lineup optimization” algorithms has decided.

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Whatever. Dan Jennings has no place on that dugout step, and he could literally throw darts at a board to land on his lineup. Maybe that’s what he’s been doing? Last night, he had Ozuna hitting cleanup–which was initially done by Mike Redmond in his waning days as Marlins skipper–and J.T. Realmuto, he of the .594 OPS, hitting fifth. Fifth! Perhaps he earned the bump up the batting order because the night before, in Jennings’ first managerial game, Realmuto hit his first major league home run. And maybe Jennings hadn’t actually watched this team play many games from his GM perch, and thus when Realmuto provided the Marlins’ only runs in the skipper’s debut, he instantly became the offensive MVP. Is that how Jennings will craft his lineups all year? Blindly swapping positions based on individual performances from the night before?

Probably not. But I won’t back down from my stance that Dan Jennings has no idea what he’s doing.

In his debut on Monday night–a 3-2 loss in which Justin Bour batted cleanup–Jennings essentially recycled Redmond’s lineup from his manager finale on Sunday, with the one change being the absense of Michael Morse. Bour hit cleanup because #ThatsSoMarlins, and because he was still batting .400 (!!!) even after a 1-for-5 performance in Monday’s contest. Naturally, you take your supposed full-time first baseman out of the lineup because he, like almost every other Marlin, has been struggling and had been relegated to the seven-hole in Redmond’s last days. In his place, Jennings batted Bour cleanup.

Dan Jennings has no idea what he’s doing.

Tonight, Jhonatan Solano hits eighth for the Marlins. This is because the front office, led by then-general manager Dan Jennings, prematurely cut the cord on Jarrod Saltalamacchia and bought into J.T. Realmuto’s small sample size, relative-meh-success early in the season, and now the team is screwed. They have no big league-ready catchers on the roster. It’s a pretty sad day when Jeff Mathis returning from the disabled list is considered an upgrade, but that’s where we’re at right now.

At least Morse is in the lineup–Bour is also not big league-ready–and tonight’s cleanup hitter, Prado, is at least capable of producing, as he has done for most of his career.

I don’t hate hitting Ozuna second. All this lineup shuffling could very well be just what the doctor ordered for a lineup that has fallen asleep on the job in recent weeks (Last night, the Marlins’ only runs came courtesy of a Giancarlo Stanton two-run homer.) Maybe tonight Dan Jennings will finally get off the schnide and earn his first major league win. He probably has no idea what he’s doing, but the fact remains that this losing streak is not really his fault. The Marlins have no business losing a four-game series to the lowly Dbacks, but this season is teetering on the brink of being a lost cause, so why not switch things up? It just might work.

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