Conley philosophical about near no-hitter

May 4th, 2016

MIAMI -- Adam Conley truly believes there is a time and place for everything. So when he reflects on his last start, tossing 7 2/3-innings of no-hit ball at Milwaukee on Friday night, the Marlins' lefty is at peace with manager Don Mattingly's decision to make a change.

Rather than dwell on what might have been, Conley critically dissects what actually happened in a game the Marlins ended up winning, 6-3, at Miller Park. He threw 116 pitches and needed four more outs for the sixth no-hitter in franchise history.

"The thing I was happiest about was getting into the eighth inning," Conley said. "The day after that start, I went up to [pitching coach Juan Nieves], and I said, 'Hey, unless you can go punch out 14 guys or 17 guys, something like that, I think most guys don't go out there and throw no-hitters totally on their own.'

"In a way, a no-hitter is something that happens to you. I've had better stuff and pitched worse, had worse results. I've had better stuff and been out of the game in the fifth."

Conley will take the mound on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET in the series finale with the D-backs at Marlins Park. He takes the mound with no regrets or thoughts of what might have been.

One of Miami's promising young starters, Conley understood Mattingly's decision would create controversy.

"I knew it would stir the pot a little bit on TV and Twitter," he said. "We've seen that on 'High Heat' and TV shows, the pot was really stirred up with it, because it's a topic where obviously, the fans want to see a no-hitter. And baseball is here saying, 'We want to win games and be good for a long time and all that stuff.' I knew it would spark a lot of conversation."

A day after his quest for making history, Conley expressed his thoughts on a blog his wife posted. At first, he tapped out his thoughts on his phone and planned to post on social media. But he had too much to say, so he passed along his thoughts to his wife, who edited and presented them in the blog.

"I normally don't write stuff. I'm not a very good writer," Conley said. "But I believe there is somebody out there that needed to read this or needed to see this. I felt led by the spirit to write that."

Conley has a strong religious faith, and he believes things happen for a reason.

In reviewing his start against the Brewers, he points out his pitch count rose for several reasons, among them were four walks.

"That's what I came back to," Conley said. "If I'm going to throw a no-hitter, I'd just do the same thing I did, have the same results, but just pitch better. Eighteen guys fouled off pitches. I walked four guys. There's 20-something pitches right there that I've come up with that didn't help me get any deeper into the game."

Mattingly took some heat for the decision, but he called it an easy one to make.

"As a manager, I think you have a responsibility to the organization to try to keep a guy healthy through the course of a whole season," Mattingly said. "That means not abusing him or overusing him."

Before Friday, Conley hadn't thrown more than 95 pitches in a start in his career. He was at 116 after two outs in the eighth. The manager wasn't willing to allow him to reach 130 or higher.

"You're taking a guy's career and putting it in danger for me," Mattingly said. "And maybe people argue about pitch counts, but it's not something these guys are used to doing."

Call it cockiness or confidence, but Conley believes he could have beaten the odds. He could have gone as far as necessary to achieve the no-hitter and still not been injured.

"That's the tricky thing, because I don't believe that would have happened to me, if I threw 150," Conley said. "But the problem is, that's what every pitcher would say.

"They'd all say, 'I could go do it and I'd be fine.' Even though I completely believe that about myself, that I could have kept going, I understand what was going on, and I'm OK with it. I'm at peace with it."