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Manny, Lenny -- and lineups

Two hot topics around here seem to be Manny Acta's attitude about all the losing and the ability (or lack thereof) of hitting coach Lenny Harris. Did some pregame work on both subjects, and will try to get you some info -- if not in the Journal, then in the paper.

Acta's attitdue, in a nutshell: "Don't get me wrong," he said. "I don't like losing." But he doesn't think throwing things around in the dugout is going to change things. He's going to stay positive.

Harris said: "Me, I don't feel any pressure at all." In a lengthy conversation about his role and how his guys are doing, he said it's up to him to try to get them more disciplined.

Again, more on all that later. Lineups for tonight are below, and unfortunately for Washington, Chipper Jones is playing and hitting third for the Braves. Oh, and John Smoltz has 2,996 strikeouts, so there should be a big crowd on hand tomorrow night for No. 3,000.

Washington:
Guzman -- 6
Milledge -- 8
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Estrada -- 2
Pena -- 7
Lopez -- 4
Chico -- 1

Atlanta:
Prado -- 4
Escobar -- 6
Jones -- 5
Teixeira -- 3
Francoeur -- 9
McCann -- 2
Diaz -- 7
Blanco -- 8
Hudson -- 1

Also: Dmitri Young is seeing a back specialist in Miami. That will determine the next step for him.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 21, 2008; 6:08 PM ET
 
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Next: More on Lenny

Comments

Back specialist for Dmitri? how about a new endocrinologist. the only thing with Dmitri's back is his front.

i'm type II diabetic just like Dmitri. i lost 50 pounds and my blood sugar numbers got more in line with normal and i went from taking 3 different blood sugar medicines (7 pills a day) down to one pill a day.

the only thing that's keeping Dmitri from doing it is Dmitri. and $10M he no longer has to earn.

Posted by: Dave at Bottomfeeder Baseball | April 21, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Ted Lerner may see a specialist this week, too -- to see if there's any way he can have his wallet surgically removed from his pocket.

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

A glimpse into Mike Rizzo's dayplanner:

09:00 - 10:00 AM - AM Staff meeting, Nationals Park
10:00 - 11:00 AM - Farm Report, conference call
11:00 - 11:30 AM - Open
11:30 - 12:00 PM - Photo Op with Ahlee Simpson
12:00 - 01:30 PM - Lunch meeting with Jim/Stan
01:30 - 02:00 PM - Open
02:00 - 03:00 PM - Conference call w/RuPaul re: "Funky Christmas" remix
03:00 - 04:00 PM - 2008 Player Draft Status Meeting, Nationals Park
04:00 - 06:00 PM - Candidate interviews for open Advance Scout positions
06:00 - 07:00 PM - PM Staff meeting, Nationals Park
07:00 - 10:30 PM - Nationals vs. Braves, Atlanta
10:30 - 12:00 AM - Work on American Idol audition tape

Posted by: MKevin | April 21, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry. Great gamer today, too. The topic sentence is a classic! I was dismayed that Manny might be reading this blog because it has become a haven for the angry, venomous baseball-ignorant blamers who have nothing to do but await the Redskins exhibition games. I don't know how helpful it was last year to our broadcast teams to open the floor to criticising them. There was just a torrent of nastiness, and now I see the same thing for Manny, one of the most coveted young managers in baseball. Some on this blog want him to lose all dignity and stomp around like Lou Pinela or Ricky Ricardo. I shudder to think that they might be having an effect on him.

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

MKevin, you should replace the "Open" entries with "Work on resume to apply for open '09 GM positions when idiot Kasten doesn't fire Bowden and promote me."

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The nice thing about Acta is that when I watch the Nats on Gameday tonight, I'll be able to pull up his photo and know that he has the same expression all game.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 21, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Back specialist?!? Yeah, so much for the "15 day DL." Might as well put him on the 60-day now and save the 40-man spot. Not that it matters, since we're at 38 now anyway.

Next move: demote Chico and bring up O'Conner, who's lighting it up in AAA. 4 starts, 1.96 era, 1.00 whip, and 20/4 ks/bbs in 23 innings.

Interestingly; they've already demoted Stanford to the pen at columbus, put Bergmann in his place and his first start he got shelled. Clippard is not pitching too well either.

Posted by: Sec131 | April 21, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

JimBo's Day Planner:

8 a.m. -- Fight with girlfriend
9 a.m. -- Call Mark Lerner; tell him he's wonderful.
10 a.m. -- Call girlfriend; tell her she's wonderful.
11 a.m. -- Tell self how wonderful I am.
Noon -- Give Manny today's lineup.
1 p.m. -- Tell self how wonderful I am.
2 p.m. -- Fight with girlfriend
3 p.m. -- Ride Segue around Turner Field.
4 p.m. -- Turn down trades for several players.
5 p.m. -- Tell Manny to play Lopez instead of Belliard; have to make that trade and $4.9 million salary deal look good.
6 p.m. -- Tell Zim how to end his slump with special batting tips.
7 p.m. -- Watch game while sending messages to girlfriend and Mark Lerner about how wonderful they are.
11 p.m. -- Tell Manny that it was his fault the Nats lost.
Midnight -- Go to sleep (after fighting with girlfriend.)

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Again with Zim in the 3 hole? Forever and a day that guy can run out there and he aint gonna just find the stroke (not the anatomy of a slump when it is 700 AB's we are talking about here Barry -- it is anatomy of a poor hitter). Acta is just wrong. Johnson's protection of Zim is yileding a .215 average and Johnson hitting with no one on. It needs to change before Zim and his confidence and the team and its record are cast to the "we'll get 'em next year" heap! Guz, Lastings, Johnson, Kearns, Zim, Belliard . . . Why is that so damn hard for the worst team in baseball to even TRY??

Posted by: dh | April 21, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

as usual, i ended up posting after the new post. sigh...

so here it is again.

on a side note, did anyone notice what the "throw-in" on the soriano for wilky trade has done for two games in detroit?

IP / H / R / ER / BB / SO / ERA
12.0 / 4 / 2 / 2 / 4 / 10 / 1.50

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Sec 131-

Stanford was actually released yesterday, according to Nationals Farm Authority.

Flynnie- I agree with you about the amount of venom our crew is spouting, but then I also realize we need to get real. This is _nothing_ compared to the waves of fickle bile that crash against the shore in NY and Phila. after losses, forget losing streaks. CIL talks about the light media coverage, but someone else could take the name RLAL for Rabid Lunatics are Lacking.

I will join you in sticking out the painful parts, even if it is numbing. I will bet you that Lastings Milledge is feeling pretty relaxed, though, knowing that losing a ball in the sun isn't putting his picture on the back of 3 or 4 newspapers, looking silly. That is why we can trust he has a chance to overcome a handful of mistakes.

Oh, and Ryan Church still will wilt after his first batting slump.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 21, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Why, WHY the constant love for O'Connor? The guy can't hack it in the big leagues. Sorry, but everytime he tries, it's a disaster. He had, what, three good games back in the beginning of '06? The only place that guy can pitch is in the minors, so let's keep him there.

Posted by: Budapest | April 21, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Pinch hitters have to take a very different approach to hitting than do guys who are in the lineup. I wonder if Lenny is having a hard time adapting his mindset to coaching in this respect. It will be interesting to see what he had to say to Barry, and what Barry tells us Harris is doing to try to coach players to get away from some of the bad habits they seem to have adopted.

Lenny should feel pressure though. His head has got to be on JimBo's chopping block. I mean, JimBo needs a fall guy after all.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 21, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Ouch that stings. nondrafted free agent too!

Posted by: BigRoy | April 21, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

nevermind. still stings though doing well for Detroit so far.

Posted by: BigRoy | April 21, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

As long as Acta keeps the quotes like "there is nothing we can do to cut down on the mental errors" he just dropped on Debbi Taylor on MASN....I will keep pointing them out......He is losing perspective...Nothing the players can do about mental errors.....really, that is a hard sell with baseball people....not you all it seems but people who know the game know that is BS.

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

C'mon folks. Zim's not a poor hitter. He drove in 110 runs in '06 as a 23 year old. The guy has all the mannerisms of someone who feels like he has to carry the team and be the face of the franchise. Dealing with increased expectations is a bear. He's a quality person and will adjust. As for his "What me worry?" attitude, I like it. It's what helps him keep his cool and come through in the clutch, often in the spotlight. Those of you burying him after 19 games are being foolish.

Secondly, it takes a lot of guys until they are 25 to fully develop. Lastings Milledge needs at least another three or four months of being in there everyday before we see what he can do. He's basically never failed. Let's see how he deals with it. Will he work hard and correct his mistakes or not?

Others have made this point, but I will reiterate it. This is the FIRST year of a rebuilding program. Last year's team was another cobbled together group with no regard for the future. JimBo should be evaluated after the season on how many of his toolsy OFs actually pan out. Let's see it though for 162 before we start diving off the cliff. The thing here is that those that are unhappy fall in one of two camps. Camp one are those of you that had unrealistic expectations about how good a team full of young, inexperienced players could be. Camp Two consists of those who thought signing a bunch of 30+ FAs would have somehow been good for the future. Neither camp is one I choose to be in

Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

MKevin's list was hilarious, swanni's list was mean and also not funny. swanni, your strength is expose, not a feel good laugh for the whole family. I'm going to put all that on Wikipedia, just so MKevin can point to it being true.

I'm still a supporter of Chico, he has shown the ability to be a major league pitcher, though a five with potential for four or even three on some teams. He's got the right attitude and his career stats are above average, albeit only slightly.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 21, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

i never was fond of camp.

camping, however, is a whole different story.

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

JayB was ranting that Manny should coach 3rd; JayB rants after wins! So for you JayB:Oh, boy, more wisdom from JayB! Just remember the following wisdom, also from JayB:

"My job was to get hit by pitches and I did it gladly.... JayB"

This explains a lot.

Posted by: | April 20, 2008 9:18 AM

Though you all would like that one, git punked to a future 300 game winner once and and scored the go ahead run once....just win bady...JayB"

Either he took a good few of those HBPs to the head, or he's hitting the sauce way too early on a Sunday morning. Just spell, baby.

Posted by: | April 20, 2008 10:44 AM

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

No HD for MASN tonight (again) despite it being billed as an HD game. Thus far, only 2 of the 4 MASN HD games for the Nats have been in high-def.

I asked MASN about this last week and they said they were looking into reports that the last game was not in HD. Looks like I'll be filing a story tomorrow at tvpredictions.com

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Good god even I know not to run on Francoeur!

Posted by: Fire Tim Tolman | April 21, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Two outs. Guzman's speed. You had to try it.

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Dmitri can skip the trip to the specialist. I can diagnose his problem from here. He's FAT!!!!! FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! FAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely you have to send Guzman there. You think we have a better chance with Estrada v. Hudson with 2 outs?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Glad you are still enjoying that one. All you are really showing about yourself is that you know nothing about baseball. But hey enjoy.

Oh and yes Acta should try coaching 3rd. He might would have put the breaks on Guzman.

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

231 + RigRoy - who's the "throw-in" in the Wilky trade and how did he get to Detroit?
Thanks in advance!

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Great call by Tolman to send the runner with 2 out against Hudson. Sometimes it just doesn't work out, but you got to take the chance. That's what Charlie said.

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

swanni beat me to it, but I'll say it anyway.

Memo to MASN:

Just because you stick a "MASN HD" logo on the bottom right corner of the screen and force your cable partners to run your programming on an HD channel, it doesn't mean you're broadcasting the game in HD. You're not fooling anyone. The vertical bars we see on the right and left of our screens are a dead giveaway.

Gotta admit though that the quality of the picture you show on your fake HD channel is better than your standard definition picture. But that ain't saying much...

Posted by: Nelson | April 21, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we run twice successfully on Francoeur this season? I know this is his first success of three opportunities. I respect the call. Great coaching, Tim! See, we're not all about hatin' and second guessin' here!

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Yousa! It just went HD!

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Armando Galarraga.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=8140

he was DFA'd by texas, then traded to detroit in january before his release.

January 25, 2008 Designated for assignment
February 5, 2008 Traded from Texas Rangers to Detroit Tigers for OF Michael Hernandez

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I would agree but that was Jeff F you knew he was out before the throw, he makes that throw all the time he is a gold glove winner....that is not a good call to me.

Oh you can take Charlie as your baseball expert...you need someone Flynnie

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Why does tonight's game already feel as if it's over and the Nats are only two runs down?

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Church just got caught stealing. Probably weighed down by too much noodle kugel.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

rhe braves won't need a postgame spread tonight after feasting on chico's meatballs the first two innings.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Steven - Dmitry weighs what he weighed last year when he was in the running for the batting title. And, Dude, I generally like your posts, and I'm " FAT!!!!! FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!FAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!!"
Cal was skinny and had to retire because of his back. Please, please, stop hatin'!

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Zim --another one of those mental errors that Manny says you can't do anything about.

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

time to see how the caps are doing.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Troll, JayB, troll. How are things in mom's basement?

Posted by: flynnie | April 21, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Man Bobby Cox teams are well coached

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

maybe I'm too hard on him, but I'm just looking at the Dmitri Young bobblehead doll I got, and it seems like he's a little out of shape:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y226/sfx5000/jabba-1.jpg

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, When you are in a hole stop digging....Defending Young's weight as not a problem for him is weak even for you.

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I love how some of the same people who defend Milledge as being "only 23" and needing more time to learn how to play the game (sentiments with which I don't necessarily disagree) also predict that Marrero and Burgess will lead the Nats into contention in 2011. You all realize how old those guys will be in 2011, right?

Oh, right, I forgot...those guys are Nats prospects, so of course they'll be all stars in their rookie seasons. How could I have not realized that?

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Er, make that four runs down.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I like Dmitri and all, but unless the specialist's name is Jenny Craig, I don't think it's going to help.

Posted by: LANats | April 21, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

geez, even the caps are trailing early.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

LAC,

Good point, but one that is wasted on these experts....These guys think nobody ever leaned into a braking ball before to get a rally started.

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

"Man Bobby Cox teams are well coached"

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 7:49 PM

__________________________________________

69 - 93
66 - 94

Bobby Cox's records in his first two years as a big league manager.

Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

so are the zards

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

The difference between guys like Marrero and Burgess and a guy like Milledge has more to do with they way they've been handled, rather than their age. The Mets jerked Milledge around a lot and then brought him up to New York to sit on the bench and more or less watch the grass grow. So he needs more experience playing every day.

The Nats, on the other hand, are leaving their prospects in the minors where they can get playing time. So they'll have some experience when they do come up.

That said, no 23-year-old hitter is going to be as polished as a 27-year-old hitter. But they can contribute to a ballclub's success.

Posted by: LANats | April 21, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

This is why I suggested a few days back they need to carry 12 or even 13 pitchers. Schroder would be nice to have here.

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

chico WALKED THE FRIGGIN PITCHER! hudson has two runs batted in already.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

A curve ball "breaks"; it doesn't "brake."

Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Or just sit on your hands Manny....either way

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I am really enjoying my free stadium. Hope you like the worst baseball team this season. Don't worry it won't get any better for a number of years.

Posted by: T. Lerner | April 21, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I am really enjoying my free stadium. Hope you like the worst baseball team this season. Don't worry it won't get any better for a number of years.

Posted by: T. Lerner | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Or just sit on your hands Manny....either way

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

i'm sorry, there's absolutely no excuse for not throwing a fastball straight down the middle on a 3-2 pitch to the pitcher with the bases loaded. even if you have to take 5mph off of it to make it a strike.

no excuse.

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Or just sit on your hands Manny....either way

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Walking the opposing pitcher to force in a run. That has to be the low point. Really, that's as bad as it can be for a professional baseball team, right?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I'll never forget an interview that Manny did with XM's Home Plate channel shortly after he was hired. Asked by Buck Martinez why he took the job, Manny said -- and I quote -- "somebody had to do it."

He added that he didn't have any chance of being hired to manage the top teams because of his lack of experience so the Nats' job was the best he could get.

Wonder how this affects his view of the club in the long term.

Posted by: swanni | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

chico WALKED THE FRIGGIN PITCHER WITH THE BASES LOADED!

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

i'm sorry, there's absolutely no excuse for not throwing a fastball straight down the middle on a 3-2 pitch to the pitcher with the bases loaded. even if you have to take 5mph off of it to make it a strike.

no excuse.

and wt-eff is WMP doing trying to call off milledge?

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

A curve ball "breaks"; it doesn't "brake."

Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks LANats, I'm laughing out loud at that response. Which I sorely need after watching the start of another Nats debacle. I completely forgot about the extensive track record the Nats have established at developing their prospects. Of course all the Nats' prospects are great and other teams' prospects stink.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

bob carpenter must be second-guessing himself for wanting to come back to witness this disaster. chico WASLKING THE PIYCHER WITH THE BASES LOADED! ai-yi-yi.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Geez, between the 100+ on the DL and what seems to be a ML 100 pitch limit, what's a fan to do. Maybe MLB should shorten games to 7 innings and change the rules for extra innings to a simple 9 batters for each team and count ties.

Posted by: Can't Anybody Play This Game | April 21, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

ok, tolman's really tanking it. badly.

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Tolman is trying to shove aside Lenny on the chopping block. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone recall the idea of having Manny Coach 3rd.....oh that's right I was hit in the head to many times

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Just stopping by to say how much I am enjoying my free stadium and my $40 million profit. Hope you all enjoying the worst team in MLB this season.

Posted by: Ted Lerner | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Just stopping by to say how much I am enjoying my free stadium and my $40 million profit. Hope you all enjoying the worst team in MLB this season.

Posted by: Ted Lerner | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I defended sending Guzman in the first, so I feel compelled to say how idiotic it is to allow yourself to get thrown out down 6. FLop, Tolman, whoever's at fault, that's yet another inexcusable gaffe.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear Tim Tolman:

ur doin it rong.

Posted by: pnut gallery | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals finally break out of their season-long slump with runners in scoring position and get two guys get thrown out at home on plays that weren't close. Buzzards luck.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Manny say something in Spring Training about not giving away outs on the basepaths? I guess these are just more things that there's nothing he can do anything about.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 21, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

It's ok JayB, I don't think most of the posters on this blog have ever stood in against a curveball, much less been hit by one.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

OK... If you're still watching this DEBACLE the Caps game just got interesting. Time to change the channel! Oh... wait... it's the 2nd intermission. Come back in 15 minutes.

Posted by: MKevin | April 21, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I really think Bowden's done in Washington, barring some totally shocking reversal. Like the Karzai government in Kabul, I'm not sure of the timing, but the Bowden era in not going to survive much longer.

And although I still insist that the lion's share of the reason why we suck now is the legacy of the Conspiracy of 29 running our team for the benefit of our competitors for 5 years, I think he's an appropriate scapegoat.

I'm still a little put off by the fact that the new ownership didn't bring in their own guy in the first place. Whether it was inertia, new owners cautiously accepting whatever they happened to get from the old boy's network of Monopolist League Baseball, or actually evaluating Bowden as the guy to implement "the Plan," I think it's a mistake that he's still our GM.

Bowden was a good choice for running the team under MLB ownership, when the salary cap and shoestring scouting budget guaranteed that the veteran scrap heap of free talent was really the only way we were going to improve. Bowden is a good junk yard scavenger, and we reaped the benefits of DY's comeback year, one glorious year of Soriano, and the 2005 first half as a result of that flea market bargain hunter ability of his. But he's not the right guy for a long-term rebuilding, which is absolutely the right approach, notwithstanding the Kyle Lohse lovers on this blog.

And I think Bowden's always seemed torn between the Plan and pressure to win now. I'm thinking of his failure to flip DY, Belliard, or Soriano for prospects, plus the way he irrationally chatted up the team as ready to start winning last off season (the LoDuca intro presser, when he must have said "win," "winner," or "winning" 50 times in 3 minutes, stands out in my mind).

I know enough to know that I don't know who should be the next GM, but Kasten should hire a Kasten guy, whoever that is. Acta was a good call, so I have confidence, but someone has to go, and I think Bowden makes sense. And I think he must have the least support in the organization (since he's only there as a holdover from the Conspiracy of 29 years), so I really think he's as good as gone.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Plan Fans, flip to the Caps, where you can watch a team that successfully implemented a very similar Plan and is on the doorstep of doing something rare, again. And be patient with your very own Washington DC baseball club that did not exist 3 years ago and now has a great new stadium in SouthCap. And do your best to ignore the griping single issue low (baseball) IQ trolls that sometimes dominate here.

AND OVIE SCORES!!!!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 21, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I really think Bowden's done in Washington, barring some totally shocking reversal. Like the Karzai government in Kabul, I'm not sure of the timing, but the Bowden era in not going to survive much longer.

And although I still insist that the lion's share of the reason why we suck now is the legacy of the Conspiracy of 29 running our team for the benefit of our competitors for 5 years, I think he's an appropriate scapegoat.

I'm still a little put off by the fact that the new ownership didn't bring in their own guy in the first place. Whether it was inertia, new owners cautiously accepting whatever they happened to get from the old boy's network of Monopolist League Baseball, or actually evaluating Bowden as the guy to implement "the Plan," I think it's a mistake that he's still our GM.

Bowden was a good choice for running the team under MLB ownership, when the salary cap and shoestring scouting budget guaranteed that the veteran scrap heap of free talent was really the only way we were going to improve. Bowden is a good junk yard scavenger, and we reaped the benefits of DY's comeback year, one glorious year of Soriano, and the 2005 first half as a result of that flea market bargain hunter ability of his. But he's not the right guy for a long-term rebuilding, which is absolutely the right approach, notwithstanding the Kyle Lohse lovers on this blog.

And I think Bowden's always seemed torn between the Plan and pressure to win now. I'm thinking of his failure to flip DY, Belliard, or Soriano for prospects, plus the way he irrationally chatted up the team as ready to start winning last off season (the LoDuca intro presser, when he must have said "win," "winner," or "winning" 50 times in 3 minutes, stands out in my mind).

I know enough to know that I don't know who should be the next GM, but Kasten should hire a Kasten guy, whoever that is. Acta was a good call, so I have confidence, but someone has to go, and I think Bowden makes sense. And I think he must have the least support in the organization (since he's only there as a holdover from the Conspiracy of 29 years), so I really think he's as good as gone.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | April 21, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Plan Fans, flip to the Caps, where you can watch a team that successfully implemented a very similar Plan and is on the doorstep of doing something rare, again. And be patient with your very own Washington DC baseball club that did not exist 3 years ago and now has a great new stadium in SouthCap. And do your best to ignore the griping single issue low (baseball) IQ trolls that sometimes dominate here.

AND OVIE SCORES!!!!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | April 21, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Jimbo going will have to wait until the clear out Lenny....check out these quotes from Washington Times "Blog"

In an extensive interview, hitting coach Lenny Harris said he can't remember a time when he's seen a team struggling across the board like this. But Harris sounded like his hands are tied a little on what he can do to fix it. He's stayed away from making technical corrections with very many players, saying in particular he didn't want to step on Ryan Zimmerman's toes too much. And for players like Dmitri Young and Felipe Lopez adapting to bench roles for the first time, Harris's stay-aggerssive approach to pinch hitting is mitigated by Manny Acta's philosophy on it. "They're taking a lot of pitches because we're down four runs, five runs, and Manny tells them he doesn't want them swinging at the first pitch," Harris said. "They're not used to sitting on this bench. They're in between right now. They come back mad as hell because they don't get a base hit. My theory was, I didn't let nothing hit the mitt. I'll give you a pitch, but I'm not going to give you another one."

He also had some interesting things to say about the differences between this Washington team and the veteran Reds and Dodgers teams he played with. "Our attitude on the bench was different. Every team I played for, we were always encouraged, we were always in the game," Harris said. "We got a whole bunch of young kids. I played on big teams. I never played on teams with young guys like this ... Somebody has to step up and be a leader and say, 'Hey, man, this is how it's supposed to be done.' "

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

low score aside, does it seem like some bats are waking up tonight?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 21, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

@Steven,

I agree with many of your points as to why JimBow should go. In the words of Tony Kornheiser, he's a self-promoting preening schmoe. He tries to interject himself in areas that would be best served being handled by his manager and field staff. And he has no idea how to build a team. We look just like the moribund Cincinnati Reds teams he persided over before his exit - shaky pitching, indifferent defense and too many swing-and-miss guys throughout the batting order. JimBow still wants a pound of sirloin for a pound of ground round in trade talks and while he takes credit for rebuilding the farm system, that's more Mike Rizzo's work. I would like to see him ride his segway into the nearest sunset.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

i canna watch the slaughter anymore... this is heartbreaking...

Posted by: highboom | April 21, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

oh great, the nats score after the horse has been stolen and the barn has burned to the ground.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

calamity colome now on the bump for the nats.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry---

Food for thought...maybe we will start winning when people realize they aren't in Baltimore and stop yelling "O" during the National Anthem.

Posted by: LKitz | April 21, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

try not to laugh too hard, but on nats.com a headline reads: "Harris trying to impart wisdom to Nats"

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry, What is Stan Saying about this run of playing baseball the right way?

Posted by: JayB | April 21, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

stats sites should do a better job of representing "inherited runners scoring" for relievers. looking at colome's ERA, you'd think he'd be lights out.

Posted by: 231 | April 21, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

LKitz,

doubt they yelled "O" in atlanta tonight.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@231 - Wow, isn't that the truth. It seems a bit odd that with the increasing importantace of relief over the last decades, more stats don't exist to more accuratly judge them. Is there anything better out now than the WPA, and to a some extent the WPA/LI stats from fangraphs.com???

Perhaps someone more knowledgable can point to other good info.

Posted by: hlaxness | April 21, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

as for the nats baserunning tonight, somewhere tom emanski is weeping.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Barry's post, Manny doesn't have to throw chairs in the clubhouse. I don't think we're talking about that at all.

Lots of calm but firm ways to get the point across that he's not happy with stupid mistakes, he's not happy with men left on base, he's not happy with chasing pitches, and he's sure as heck not happy with losing.

I have a feeling he vowed to himself to never humiliate or put down his players in public. That's incredibly admirable, gawd love 'im.

But Barry, when he answers you, he's not talking to the "media" or the "public" or even the newspaper. He's talking to ME. I SEE the games. And I'm frustrated as hell when he and Zim answer all la-di-da like that.

Is there no fire in this team at all???

Posted by: NatsNut | April 21, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Dave Jageler is so diplomatic when he says "... that's a tough way to end the inning."

The disparity between the Nats and the Braves ratios of hits to runs says so much.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 21, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

IHW, that's incredible. We practically have the SAME NUMBER OF HITS!!!

AAAAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 21, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

the score may be closer if the nats didn't get guys thrown out on the bases like it was routine.

Posted by: natsscribe | April 21, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Boone's base running error is emblematic of what's going on with this club. Was it a stupid decision? Of course. It can't be chalked up to inexperience. He's almost 40. He wasn't dogging it. He was hustling. It was simply a guy trying to do too much - a guy who is pressing. Folks on this blog who are ripping this team for their "loser" attitude cannot have ever competed in their lives in any serious way. I'm not talking about baseball necessarily. It applies to anything you do. Sometimes you try, and things still are a train wreck. You pick yourself up, and try again. What you don't do is point fingers at other people, panic, or become overly emotional. Good things rarely happen in that case. I was interested to hear Sutton say tonight that he's never been around as hard working a ball club as this one. That's good. When you're in a slump, you work your way out of it - pure and simple. What they may lack is experienced leadership - a Schneider perhaps - who can help keep the wheels on.

Is this a great team? No. But they are better than what they are showing.

Now, get on Giants Gameday and root for Manny Burriss.

Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

good AB by Zim, laying off the slider on the 1-2 count, and eventually fighting to get a baseknock!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | April 21, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Didn't catch it on the radio. Anybody on TV see how fast The Cheif was throwing? Thanks.

My rally cap is on.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 21, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Great post, #4. You've startled me awake with this comment, even outside of baseball, so thanks for that. I'm taking your comment with me to work tomorrow, in fact.

Still. It's frustrating that we don't SEE or HEAR about any of it. Not one bit. All we hear is "i feel good," "they're hitting fine," and "don't worry."

WELL I'M WORRIED, DAMMIT!
________________________________

It applies to anything you do. Sometimes you try, and things still are a train wreck. You pick yourself up, and try again. What you don't do is point fingers at other people, panic, or become overly emotional.
Posted by: #4 | April 21, 2008 9:55 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | April 21, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Wohoo Caps. That takes the sting off another Nats debacle.

Sorry Bob L. Head but comparing the Nats plan to the Caps doesn't do justice to Ted Leonsis. Leonsis is willing to sign players to try to win (see prior to lockout) and Leonsis is willing to discard deadwood in the front office and among the players. I also suspect Caps employees can use Fedex. I went to Caps' games over the past 3 years and before and watched some ugly losses. Nevertheless I had faith in Leonsis based on his prior record.

Now to contradict myself but in fairness to the Lerners, they haven't had much time but they haven't been very impressive so far.

Posted by: DkNatsFan | April 21, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@nattaboy,

The Chief topped out at 87 mph.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"Shoot me now, shoot me now"

Posted by: Daffy Duck | April 21, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

@DkNatsFan

Would have a lot more faith if anyone besides JimBow was the Nats GM. Maybe YOUR Ted L. should have lunch with the Nats Ted L.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

The Chief is done. Stick a fork in him.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

LAC,

If JimBow hadn't wanted the moon and the stars in trade, maybe Cordero would besomeone else's sore arm problem.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 21, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Agreed leetee1955. Of course, we have the most valuable players, and prospects too. Why the other 29 GMs don't realize this is inexplicable.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Well the great thing about baseball is there's always tomorrow.

Wait... we're facing Smoltz.

Well the great thing about baseball is there's always the day after tomorrow.

Wait... we're facing Sanatana

Well the great thing about baseball is there's always the day after the day after tomorrow.

Wait... we're facing Perez (2-0, 2.49 ERA)

Well the great thing about baseball is there's always the day after the day after the day after tomorrow.

Wait... we're facing Dempster (3-0, 3.00 ERA)

Well the great thing about baseball is there's alw......

The great thing about DC is the CAPS just forced game 7!! Rock the Red on Wednesday folks! If they keep winning it won't hurt so much when the Nats losing streak hits 7, 8, 9....

Posted by: MKevin | April 21, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

MKevin don't forget about Zambrano on Saturday. Seriously.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 21, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Also, don't forget that the hockey game is tomorrow, not Wednesday.

Posted by: natsfan | April 21, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Eesh... that could have really sucked. Thanks!

~~~~~~~~~~

Also, don't forget that the hockey game is tomorrow, not Wednesday.

Posted by: natsfan | April 21, 2008 11:03 PM

Posted by: MKevin | April 21, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

It IS unusual that they play back-to-back, and I'm sure you would have realized it between now and then.

Posted by: natsfan | April 21, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

btw tell me again why manny acta is such a great mgr. because every1 said we were gonna be the very worst team in baseball last year but instead we were only really really really bad. and now what?

Posted by: dk | April 21, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

well we might as well root for that historic bad season this year. who wants mediocrity. might as well go for it and lose em all. heres pullin for a 15 game losing streak.

Posted by: dk | April 21, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, at least you didn't get beat by 30 points.

Posted by: Agent Zero, indeed | April 21, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that would be the basketball game Wed. night.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm sure it's been commented on, but did I jinx Chico, or what?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 21, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Plenty of blame to go around, 506, but somehow I can't find it in me to pin this one on you.

Posted by: CE | April 21, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Natsfan1a was right, and You Gotta Have Heart *should* be the song.

Who minds the pop bottles flyin'
The hisses and boos?
"The team is consistent--"
Yeah, we ALWAYS LOSE
But we're happy cuz ...

Posted by: Smokey | April 21, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CE. We do have frustration to share, around here, don't we? Doesn't it feel like when your baseball team is slumping hard everything in your life is going bad? Baseball is the only sport I feel that way about, all the others it's easy to separate from and know that it's really just an inconsequential diversion as far as you're concerned, but baseball just seeps in so much more, it's harder to remember that the important things are often going quite well.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | April 21, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Seems like another practice game. Why leave Chico in forever when he never had "it" tonight. Walking the pitcher with the bases loaded should NRVER have progressed to that stage, actually starting with a 3-0 count on the pitcher should have sent alarms ringing. What signals does it send to the other 24 players when you leave the pitcher in to die like that? The signal that I get from this is this: "We lost this game in the first inning, so don't worry. This is just "lab work" ( to paraphrase Don Sutton) for Chico. As a fan I don't want to see the manager give up or the team give up. However, actions do speak a lot louder than words. Perhaps the managemsnt of this team is operating at a much higher level than I can comprehend. Perhaps this is still so early in the season that all this losing is insignificant and the ways we lose are inconsequential. Perhaps this team can learn to play on a level that is inspiring instead of deflating.
Just where is the leadership on this team? I don't see it coming from the players--each seems wrapped in their own bubbles. The coaches are so calm as to seem eerie. Occasionally one player will rise well above the level of the others but no one seems to want to follow his lead. Lannan's last game is the perfect example. He carried the team through bad fielding in the first inning and blew away the batters until he was removed (prematurely in my opinion) from the game. Once he was gone the game fell apart. Other games Guzman or Milledge will get on base 3 times in a game and they just get stranded by the following hitters. It's like an officer leading a charge but no one in his unit leaves the trenches. In the end it is going to take about 3 players to lead this team out of these depths. Players who night after night play smart, aggressive, whole-hearted baseball. Who will it be?

Posted by: Dale | April 22, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, I grew up a Cubs fan, so losing holds no terror for me. It's like watching Shakespeare -- I already know the ending, it's the performance I'm there for.

Posted by: Builds character. No, really, it does. | April 22, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, I grew up a Cubs fan, so losing holds no terror for me. It's like watching Shakespeare -- I already know the ending, it's the performance I'm there for.

Posted by: Builds character. No, really, it does. | April 22, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Seems like another practice game. Why leave Chico in forever when he never had "it" tonight. Walking the pitcher with the bases loaded should NRVER have progressed to that stage, actually starting with a 3-0 count on the pitcher should have sent alarms ringing. What signals does it send to the other 24 players when you leave the pitcher in to die like that? The signal that I get from this is this: "We lost this game in the first inning, so don't worry. This is just "lab work" ( to paraphrase Don Sutton) for Chico. As a fan I don't want to see the manager give up or the team give up. However, actions do speak a lot louder than words. Perhaps the managemsnt of this team is operating at a much higher level than I can comprehend. Perhaps this is still so early in the season that all this losing is insignificant and the ways we lose are inconsequential. Perhaps this team can learn to play on a level that is inspiring instead of deflating.
Just where is the leadership on this team? I don't see it coming from the players--each seems wrapped in their own bubbles. The coaches are so calm as to seem eerie. Occasionally one player will rise well above the level of the others but no one seems to want to follow his lead. Lannan's last game is the perfect example. He carried the team through bad fielding in the first inning and blew away the batters until he was removed (prematurely in my opinion) from the game. Once he was gone the game fell apart. Other games Guzman or Milledge will get on base 3 times in a game and they just get stranded by the following hitters. It's like an officer leading a charge but no one in his unit leaves the trenches. In the end it is going to take about 3 players to lead this team out of these depths. Players who night after night play smart, aggressive, whole-hearted baseball. Who will it be?

Posted by: Dale | April 22, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I feel I've returned to my second childhood, for these Nats play like the old Nats of the 60's, but I still root for em. GO NATS...please GET HOT. I know, it's entirely to much to ask...but like the old song says....you gotta have heart.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | April 22, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

memo to the top....a closer is not necessary at this time.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | April 22, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry, we don't have one now anyway.

Posted by: The Top | April 22, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

"Well the great thing about baseball is there's always the day after tomorrow."


Screw that, I'm hoping this rain continues.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 22, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks LANats, I'm laughing out loud at that response. Which I sorely need after watching the start of another Nats debacle. I completely forgot about the extensive track record the Nats have established at developing their prospects. Of course all the Nats' prospects are great and other teams' prospects stink.
Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | April 21, 2008 8:15 PM

----------------------


Glad you liked it. I know you're laughing out loud. I also know you think the Lerners are cheap. Picked that up by lurking here for a while.

I remember people throwing out similar whine in a city in Georgia about 20 years ago. There was a guy with a plan there, too. After a few years, the whiners were in the stands doing the Tomahawk Chop. That plan seemed to work out pretty well for them. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?

And to think, that this time, all he has to overcome is the fact that MLB gutted the Nats...not only the major league team, but the farm system. And 3 years in, fair-weather fans are throwing in the towel. Fair enough. We'll see who's right in 2011 or so. For now, I'm satisfied with the progress...top to bottom...in the organization.

Posted by: LANats | April 22, 2008 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Here is Phil Woods' article this morning. He starts by taking a gentle swipe at us, and our message-board opinions:

http://www.examiner.com/a-1353147~Don_t_panic_yet.html

Posted by: Positively Half St. | April 22, 2008 4:59 AM | Report abuse

I have always enjoyed Phil Wood and he knows what he is talking about yet I have to ask how long did he spend on that gem?

Phil is correct that slumps at the plate happen and spread to everyone on the team. For me the issue is how they approach hitting and the sloppy undisciplined play on the field. Phil spent no time on these issues at all.

On a positive note, Acta is correct that when the hitting does come around the focus will be come off the mental and physical errors. That is not a good thing. The poor decision making and sloppy play is the long term problem, not the hitting for the organization. They will hit better but will the play better baseball, that is what I would have Phil to spend some time talking about.

Posted by: JayB | April 22, 2008 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Phil is spot on. I know he probably hasn't had the tee ball experience of some posters here, or the experience of his dad meanly throwing breaking pitches to him in coach-pitch, but he is right. Nobody really knows the truth unless they have much greater access that Nerds Journal folks do.

Posted by: natsfish | April 22, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 22, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

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