Is Mackanin finally getting his shot?
Mackanin has been an interim manager on three occasions
Pete Mackanin has paid his dues. He's 64 years old and in his 47th year of making a living in professional baseball. Is he about to get his due?
Mackanin is an interim manager at the big-league level for the third time in his career, this time taking over the Philadelphia Phillies 75 games into the season after Ryne Sandberg stepped down.
Mackanin has never been a full-time big-league manager, but perhaps the moment has finally arrived.
The Phillies lost 14 of the first 17 games Mackanin managed, but they are 24-20 since, and scouts have been impressed with the energy the Phillies have shown on the field.
Mackanin is one of four managers who took over a team in mid-season this year.
Craig Counsell's status was never in question. He was given a three-year contract when he took over for Ron Roenicke as manager of the Brewers, a team Counsell grew up around. His father worked on the business side with the Brewers from 1979-87.
Roenicke was fired after a 7-18 start that came on the heels of the Brewers losing 25 of their final 34 games last season, falling from first place in the National League Central to eight games out.
Miami interim manager Dan Jennings, meanwhile, is likely to return to the general manager's job he held prior to being asked by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria to take over for ex-manager Mike Redmond after the Marlins' 16-22 start to the season. Jennings initially lobbied to keep Redmond, but then relented and took the job -- even though he had no professional managerial experience. The Marlins are 40-57 since Jennings took over.
Mackanin and Pat Murphy, who replaced Bud Black in San Diego, figure to at least get serious consideration to return next year, but no decisions have been made.
Murphy is a former college coach who was managing the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in El Paso when Black was fired after a 32-33 start. The Padres are 33-36 since Murphy took over.
And then there is Mackanin, who had interim managerial opportunities with the Pirates in 2005 and the Reds in '07. He took over for Lloyd McClendon after a 55-81 start with the Bucs, and the team went 12-14 the rest of the season. Jim Tracy was hired to take over full time in '06.
A Reds team that was 31-51 under manager Jerry Narron to open 2007 went 41-37 under Mackanin, but Dusty Baker was hired to manage the team in '08.
Will Mackanin now get that chance to be a big league manager without an interim title? Time will tell. First, however, the Phillies will decide on how to restructure the front office. Andy MacPhail will take over as team president in the off season. He has been watching from afar, deciding -- among other things -- whether or not to retain current general manager Ruben Amaro.
Hot bat at the hot corner
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado established his abilities in the field by winning National League Gold Glove Awards during his first two big league seasons. For an encore, he is emerging as one of the game's top offensive forces, and Arenado has a chance this season to lead the NL in home runs and RBIs.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt of the Phillies led the NL in both categories in 1980, '81, '84 and '86, and Howard Johnson of the Mets did it in '91. Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees led the American League in homers and RBIs in 2007, Harmon Killebrew of the Twins led in both categories in 1969, as did Al Rosen of the Indians in '53. Killebrew also led the AL in home runs and RBI in '71, when he was primarily a first baseman, and in '62, when he was primarily an outfielder.
The 24-year-old Arenado, who hit a combined 28 home runs and 113 RBIs in his first two years, went into Saturday leading the NL with 103 RBIs, six ahead of Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, and second in home runs with 35, one behind Rockies teammate Carlos Gonzalez, who had five home runs in his first 50 games this season, but has hit 31 in his last 80 games.
• Saturday is the 97th anniversary of the start of the 1918 World Series, which the Red Sox won against the Cubs in six games -- on six consecutive days. That World Series started early because of World War I.
• Sunday is the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr. breaking Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record of playing in 2,130 consecutive games. Ripken's streak, which spanned 16 seasons, reached 2,632 before he took a day off.
• Friday is the 30th anniversary of Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hit record of 4,191 with a single off Padres pitcher Eric Show. Rose finished his career with a record 4,256 hits.
• Reds closer Aroldis Chapman entered Saturday needing two strikeouts to join Dick Radatz, Duane Ward and Rob Dibble as the only pitchers with four 100-strikeout seasons without starting a game, according to Stats Inc.
• Angels center fielder Mike Trout went into Saturday in a 91-at-bat homerless streak, the longest of his career, according to Stats Inc.
• Boston's Joe Kelly joined Sam McDowell (1969) as the only Major League pitcher to win at least six games in a calendar month for a team that spent every day of that month in last place, according to notes maven Bill Arnold.