Dan Jennings was welcomed into the Marlins clubhouse Monday with a special necktie ceremony in the dugout, an idea future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki came up with.
“I knew players, fans and people would think that this was a unique situation, a little different than the norm,” Ichiro said through his interpreter. “I thought by doing this we could laugh about it. Also at the same time, put an end to his general managing thing.”
Ichiro put his favorite tie around Jennings neck and had him go around the clubhouse shaking every players hand. Once he did, he could take his tie off, a symbol his days in the front office were over.
“It was great,” Jennings said. “It was almost a feeling of acceptance. It was a special moment coming from a Hall of Famer. It was a warm feeling for me and made me feel a part of the group, and a moment I’ll always remember. He delivered it very well. We had fun doing it.”
After a tough Sunday in which they saw manager Mike Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary get fired, the Marlins put on their best faces Monday. In the end, though, they couldn’t reward Jennings with a win, falling to the Diamondbacks 3-2 in 13 innings.
David Peralta delivered the game-winner, a two-out RBI double off Steve Cishek.
“I feel like I was throwing the best I’ve thrown all year,” said Cishek, who was trying to atone for his previous mistakes this year, blowing four saves. “All it takes is one pitch and, of course, I left a cookie over the middle. I’m not getting away with much and it’s just continuing to cost these guys. They deserve better.”
The Marlins wanted better when they fired Redmond and believe Jennings will eventually be that new voice to deliver that. But on Monday there was no immediate payoff.
The Marlins (16-23) fell behind 2-0 early when Cuban import Yasmany Tomas doubled home two runs off Dan Haren in the fourth inning. But Haren settled in and gave the Marlins eight solid innings, matching Rubby De La Rosa, who went nine, and made his only mistake to Marlins rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto in the seventh.
Realmuto’s first career home run — a line shot over the left field wall — tied the score at 2 and ended a run of 15 consecutive scoreless innings for the Marlins. But alas, there wasn’t enough offense on this night for the Marlins.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Ichiro had a pair of singles Monday to match Babe Ruth for 38th on the all-time major-league hits list with 2,873. He drew a walk in 13th but was thrown out trying to steal second.
▪ Pitcher Tom Koehler will start Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks after Jarred Cosart was scratched and sent to the disabled list with vertigo. Koehler said Monday it’s time for the Marlins to start winning.
“I don’t know if this was supposed to be our wake-up call, but we have to get going here because two good guys just lost their jobs,” he said. “It’s tough because I have a lot of respect for Red and [bench coach Rob] Leary. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that we put them in. We didn’t perform the way we were capable of. We kind of have to look ourselves in the mirror now and move forward from it. It’s a really good ballclub in here — really talented — and we know that.”
▪ Slugger Giancarlo Stanton, now playing for his seventh different manager since being called up in 2010, said it was only natural for the players to wonder exactly what the front office was thinking when it fired Redmond and moved Jennings into Redmond’s old job.
But Stanton says people have to look at the positives — namely Jennings knows the players well and was a big part of bringing them together.
When the Marlins got off to their 3-11 start, Stanton said the team wasn’t playing with enough fire. Asked if he thinks Jennings can bring that out in the players, Stanton said: “Well, he’s an Alabama guy from the South. He’s got some fire in him.”
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Koehler (2-3, 4.29 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 5.92), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (2-0, 2.68) vs. Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson (0-1, 2.81), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.