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Panic? Or chill?

I know I'm late to this discussion -- and excuse me for skipping over the parts about whether Bud Selig or Omar Minaya or Jim Bowden are responsible for this current six-game losing streak.

The part that interests me: There were two distinct takes in the clubhouse last night. Some samples.

Manny Acta: When the 2007 season started 1-8 -- and the games weren't even competitive -- Acta impressed those around him with his even-keel approach. He didn't throw anything. He just encouraged.

Now, Acta's own standard is that they want to win. They want to win every day. Here's a couple of his answers from last night's post-game press conference.

"We're still in a lot better shape than last year. Or aren't we?" It was pointed out that they were 1-8 last year. "We lost six games. We lost them in a row, that's what's the biggest deal about it. But it could've been that we won one, lost two, won one, lost two, won one, lost two and still we would've been 3-6. So we have to look at the glass half full right now. We're still ahead of last year's record. We'll get out of it."

"There's no need to panic here, because not even one of you local guys have picked us to finish third. So there's no need to panic. We just want to keep working hard and we'll continue to get better and we will get out of it. Six, seven, eight, whatever - we just try to win every single day."

Ryan Zimmerman, the star third baseman, also takes a measured approach.

"The team that's supposed to win 200 games this year hasn't won a game yet," he said, speaking of the Tigers -- who finally won last night. "So let's be honest. We've played good baseball. It'd be different if we were making four errors a game and throwing games away. ... We kind of just got to get it together and just play a couple good games."

Then there was Jason Bergmann, who was extraordinarily hard on himself and wanted his teammates to know it. You can read most of his comments in the gamer, if you haven't already. Pretty interesting stuff. As an aside, here's Zimmerman on Bergmann:

"He's a good pitcher," Zimmerman said. "He's got goo dstuff. He's young, like a lot of us are. He's going to learn from his mistakes. He doesn't want to go out and do that. We all think that he's one of the best guys we have, and we still trust him. The next time he goes up on the hill and it's his turn to throw, we're going to go in there thinking he's going to dominate like he did for four innings this time but learn from his mistakes."

And, finally, here is Capt. Red Ass himself, Paul Lo Duca. Whatever you think of this guy, he is a different ingredient in the Nationals clubhouse. Brian Schneider, who is very tight with Zimmerman, would have fallen in line with Zimmerman's thoughts. Lo Duca clearly comes at things from a different angle.

"Mentally, we got to be stronger," he said. "We should've been 4-0. we lost a tough game in Philly, and we let it bother us, and it's snowballed. And we've played terrible the last six games. This is no sugar-coating it. We played terrible, and we need to play better."

He also said, "I know it's early, but we need to turn it around quick, because this is getting ridiculous."

So is there a right or a wrong here? And if so, whose side do you take -- the ride-it-out calmly side of, say, Acta and Zimmerman, or the we-need-a-kick-in-the-pants side of Lo Duca?

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 10, 2008; 10:57 AM ET
 
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