Jennings’ hectic journey to his first MLB win
MIAMI — Getting his first big league win will always be memorable for Marlins reliever Dan Jennings.
But getting to the ballpark on Friday was perhaps even more challenging for the left-hander.
Jennings was called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday night, and the 25-year-old had a 7 a.m. flight out of Reno, Nev., to Miami on Friday morning.
“It was a cold one [Thursday], like 40 degrees,” Jennings said. “Wind blowing. It was a late game. They told me after the games, 7 o’clock flight. You get there at 6. My first thought was, ‘Ok, routine goes out the window.’ “
The whole day actually was a scramble.
His girlfriend, Courtney, picked him up at the airport in Miami, and they headed smack into rush-hour traffic to Marlins Park.
Jennings got to the ballpark about 30 minutes before the first pitch. He played catch a few minutes, starting at 6:55 p.m. ET. “I changed as quickly as possible,” he said. “I wanted to be out there before the game started to throw. I knew if I didn’t, I’d be limited to throwing in the bullpen, which is 65 feet, at best.”
All players stretch out by throwing at distances way more than 90 feet. They routinely progress to 120 feet or more.
So if Jennings didn’t get a few minutes of throwing in before the first pitch, he would have been confined to a much shorter distance throwing in the bullpen.
“I’d throw 120 feet, and for a 7 o’clock game, that’s normally at 3 o’clock,” Jennings said.
Once the game started, Jennings found himself getting ready to pitch in the sixth inning after Josh Johnson was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Jennings threw a perfect sixth inning, recording his first big league strikeout.
The frantic day was worth it, as Jennings picked up his first MLB strikeout and win on the same day.
– Joe Frisaro