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5 skipper switches that led to playoffs

MLB.com

The Reds on Thursday became the first team in 2018 to replace their manager by dismissing Bryan Price in his fifth season at the helm and naming bench coach Jim Riggleman interim manager.

Cincinnati had lost 10 of its last 11 games to begin the year 3-15, the franchise's worst start since 1931 (2-16). But as the Reds begin the search for a long-term replacement, Riggleman will get to work as skipper with hopes of righting the ship. The odds are against the struggling Reds, who weren't expected to contend in the National League Central this season, but a turnaround under new leadership wouldn't be unprecedented, particularly this early in the season.

The Reds on Thursday became the first team in 2018 to replace their manager by dismissing Bryan Price in his fifth season at the helm and naming bench coach Jim Riggleman interim manager.

Cincinnati had lost 10 of its last 11 games to begin the year 3-15, the franchise's worst start since 1931 (2-16). But as the Reds begin the search for a long-term replacement, Riggleman will get to work as skipper with hopes of righting the ship. The odds are against the struggling Reds, who weren't expected to contend in the National League Central this season, but a turnaround under new leadership wouldn't be unprecedented, particularly this early in the season.

Below is a look at the last five managerial changes during the season that resulted in a postseason berth:

2009 Rockies: Jim Tracy (replaced Clint Hurdle)
The former Pirates and Dodgers skipper earned a promotion from bench coach and helped guide the team from last place to a Wild Card berth. The Rockies started the year 18-28 under Hurdle, but finished the season with a franchise-record 92 wins. Colorado lost in four games in the Division Series to the eventual NL champion Phillies, but Tracy earned NL Manager of the Year Award honors after the Rockies' remarkable resurgence.

2008 Brewers: Dale Sveum (replaced Ned Yost)
Sveum spent six seasons on the Brewers' coaching staff, including a 12-game stint as manager when Yost was dismissed near the end of the 2008 campaign. The move was a surprise for a team in postseason contention, but an eight-game slump that dropped Milwaukee into a tie for the NL Wild Card spot prompted a change. Under Sveum, the Brewers went 7-5 and reached the postseason for the first time since 1982. Milwaukee clinched its postseason berth on the final day of the regular season, eliminating the Mets, who made a midseason managerial change of their own from Willie Randolph to Jerry Manuel.

Video: Rosenthal on Reds' future after firing Bryan Price

2004 Astros: Phil Garner (replaced Jimy Williams)
With their eyes on a World Series run, the Astros loaded up in 2004, signing free-agent pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and acquiring outfielder Carlos Beltran in a June trade. But the club didn't meet expectations in the first half; sitting at a 44-44 record at the All-Star break, Houston dismissed Williams and replaced him with former Brewers and Tigers skipper Garner. Under Garner, the Astros finished out the season 48-26 and reached the playoffs. They defeated the Braves in the NL Division Series before losing to the Cardinals in seven games in the NL Championship Series. Garner also led the club to the World Series the next season.

2003 Marlins: Jack McKeon (replaced Jeff Torborg)
In perhaps the most successful instance of a new manager turning around a struggling season, the Marlins replaced Torborg with McKeon after a 16-22 start in 2003. The Marlins finished out the rest of the season by going 75-49 and advanced to their second World Series in seven seasons by defeating the Giants in the NLDS and the Cubs in the NLCS. The Marlins then took home the franchise's second title by besting the Yankees in six games, and McKeon, at age 72, became the oldest manager to win a World Series.

1996 Dodgers: Bill Russell (replaced Tommy Lasorda)
Russell had very large shoes to fill when he assumed managerial duties for the Dodgers in the wake of Hall of Famer Lasorda's retirement. In the midst of the 1996 campaign, Lasorda stepped away from the dugout due to health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family, handing the reigns to Russell, who helped the Dodgers finish the year 49-37 for a second-place finish in the NL West and a Wild Card spot. Los Angeles' postseason run didn't last long, however, as the Dodgers were swept in three games by the Braves.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.