Miami Marlins

The Marlins, ‘an easy team to pitch to,’ fire their hitting coach after slow 2019 start

Don Mattingly explains why the Marlins fired their hitting coach

The Miami Marlins announced on April 19, 2019 that they had fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo.
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The Miami Marlins announced on April 19, 2019 that they had fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo.

Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill announced Friday night that the team has fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo after the team’s lethargic offensive production over the first 20 games of the season. Pagliarulo was hired after the 2016 season.

Jeff Livesey has been promoted to interim hitting coach and minor-league hitting coordinator Eric Duncan will be joining the major-league staff as the assistant hitting coach.

“Our offensive approach, we’re an easy team to pitch to,” Hill said. “I didn’t get the feel that we were making the necessary adjustments and battling and fighting the way that we know this team is capable of performing offensively. I felt like it was time for a new voice and subsequently a change needed to be made.”

The news came less than a half hour after the Marlins walked off the field at Marlins Park following a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals that snapped a four-game losing streak but still featured limited offensive production with six hits while going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Two of the Marlins’ three runs came on a bases-loaded walk and bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.

Through 20 games this year, the Marlins rank last among all 30 MLB teams with 51 runs scored. The Marlins are 29th in slugging (.326), 27th in batting average (.215), 25th in home runs (17) and fourth in strikeouts (187).

Since splitting their four-game season-opening series with the Colorado Rockies, the Marlins have gone 3-13 and have had nine games in that span in which they were either shut out or scored just one run. The Marlins had a stretch of 24 consecutive scoreless innings before scoring in the bottom of the second inning on Friday.

Livesey, 52, is in his sixth year as an MLB coach and his first year with the Marlins. He spent the past five years with the Pittsburgh Pirates as their assistant hitting coach.

The Marlins hired Duncan in January to be their minor-league hitting coordinator after spending four years as a hitting coach in the Yankees organization. Duncan, 38, played 10 years of professional baseball — all in the minor leagues — after the Yankees selected him 27th overall in the 2003 MLB Draft.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.