Adam Conley’s flirtation with history on Friday night certainly gave the Marlins a welcome lift in the wake of the Dee Gordon suspension saga.
Conley, 25, was bidding to become the sixth pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the Marlins’ 24 seasons.
By contrast, the Milwaukee Brewers have one no-hitter — thrown by Marlins pitching coach Juan Nieves in 1987 — in their 47 seasons.
The New York Mets, who featured the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, a young Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and David Cone, have just one thrown by Johan Santana in 2008.
Nieves recalled his big night of April 15, 1987, a 6-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. The final out came on Robin Yount’s diving catch of a sinking liner by Eddie Murray in right-center.
“It brought back some memories late in the game,” Nieves said. “When you start getting deeper in the game — seventh or eighth inning — you start thinking about it a little bit.”
Nieves was 22 when he threw his no-hitter. In 1987, there were no thoughts about taking him out because of pitch count.
He walked six in that game and his pitch count was believed to be above 130. He also didn’t last past the 1988 season after sustaining an arm injury.
“I think I paid the consequences of that,” Nieves said. “I think that’s why people are so concerned about pitching now. It is a commodity to have great pitching.”
So Nieves was in full agreement when manager Don Mattingly went out to get Conley with two outs in the eighth inning.
He also understood the booing the Milwaukee crowd sent Mattingly’s way.
“The fans told the story, even though it was against their team,” Nieves said.
“It is a rare feat. I know that [Conley] was disappointed. He said to me, ‘If I wouldn’t have walked two guys in the fourth or a walk in the seventh or eighth, you never know.’
“I said, ‘You are absolutely right. You take accountability for it. That’s very important.’ ”
an easy move
Mattingly said after Friday’s game that his decision was not difficult.
“I knew he couldn’t finish,” Mattingly said. “We weren’t going to let him finish. That was really easy, actually.
“If he had an easy inning there, an eight- or nine-pitch inning, we probably would think about it. But when he gets to that point, you know he’s not going to be able to finish the game. This kid has a chance to be really special, so there’s no way, at this point in the season, that we’re going to let him go to 130 [pitches].”
conley gets it
As expected, Conley said he would never want to come out of a game. But he understood.
“There’s a big part of me that did [have a problem with the decision],” said Conley, who improved to 1-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.67.
“I don’t ever like coming out of a game, no matter what the circumstances are. But considering where I was at in the game, I knew what was going on. I knew coming into the eighth I was at about 100, so I was really, really happy he let me go out for the eighth.”
In the end, the Marlins hope it’s a sign of things to come for Conley.
“We know we have a long season, and we feel like we have a chance to go somewhere,” Mattingly said.
“He’s going to have to be a part of that, so we have to protect him.”