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Another Blown Save, Another Loss

Oh boy. Right now at Nats Park, the announced crowd (16,974) is heading posthaste to the parking lots; there's just some windblown garbage floating through the air, and a sad baseball team heading to the clubhouse. The Nats just lost again, 7-4. They fell to 1-10. They had a one-run lead entering the top of the eighth and relinquished that with a Cody Ross solo home run. They had a one-run lead entering the ninth and relinquished that, too, when Saul Rivera blew the team's third save of the weekend series, allowing four runs in a 44-pitch meltdown.

The thing is, Washington had every single reason to win this game. By a lot, actually.

You can talk about the runners left in scoring position, all those squandered bases-loaded opportunities. You can talk about the decent start from Daniel Cabrera, who made the right pitch just about every time he needed to. (I'm thinking of all those batters he retired after reaching a three-ball count... it was like everything was going right.) Heck, when Hayden Penn came in during the fifth and walked Daniel Cabrera to load the bases -- it was a four-pitch walk... perhaps the worst-pitched at bat in recent MLB history, given that Cabrera had never reached base in 21 prior plate appearances (17 strikeouts) -- the karma just seemed to be working. The Nats even took their lead in the bottom of the eighth when Dan Uggla threw short of first base on a would-be double play, allowing Anderson Hernandez to score.

But no matter how many opportunities Washington was given to win, the team managed to avoid every one of them. So now, the Nationals trail the Marlins in the NL East by 9-1/2 games. A three-game series against Atlanta starts tomorrow. Then a brutal six-game trip to New York and to Philly.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 19, 2009; 5:16 PM ET
 
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Next: The Bullpen Gets Blown Up

Comments

BRING BACK FRANK!

Posted by: amorris525 | April 19, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Brand new bullpen tomorrow.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 19, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I just don't even know what to say. As currently configured, as a whole, we are a REALLY bad ballclub. While we do have some hitting power, the defense has been atrocious, the starting pitcher dubious at best, and the bullpen is a DISASTER AREA. Send everyone but Biemal down and bring up new arms. How could it be WORSE? Annnnnd as I type this, Manny just did that.

I will say, I'm willing to give Manny, Rizzo, etc. a bit more latitude when it comes to blaming them. The Ass-Clown on the Segway served them up one sh*t sandwich of a roster to make a baseball team with, and I think it's going to take some time to undo the damage done.

I'm trying to take some solace from the fact that A. the Marlins have had our number for some time and B. we don't play them again until June.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | April 19, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

This ain't Manny's fault. This team is like an alcoholic that has to hit rock-bottom before he can pick himself up. Let's hope the sickening displays Friday, Saturday and today is the bottom.

Posted by: thegraneys | April 19, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Shell, Rivera, Ledesma, Hanrahan gone?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 19, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

As Atomic posted Acta just announced that there will be some player moves tonight. Some bullpen pitchers going back to AAA.

Posted by: MKadyman | April 19, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I would seriously love to see Frank Robinson back in DC. He would at least hold our team accountable for their awful errors there making on the field and at the plate.
If anyones interested I started a Washington Nationals message board that has a nice group of members that post there a lot. Visit ExtremeNats.com and come join the community!

Posted by: ExtremeNatscom | April 19, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Why wAs Dukes pulled? Why was Cintron used instead of Willingham ???
This was an extremely poorly managed game.

Posted by: raymitten | April 19, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Fire Randy SC or Randy Knorr or Manny does not really matter to much....my choice would be Manny but someone has to go....they have to make a more to change the status Q.......on the personel side...Bergman has to be recalled at the very least.

Manny getting more AB's for AAA call ups with the game on the line is just rubbing Rizzo's nose in it and daring him to fire him.....I say do it!

Posted by: JayBeee | April 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

fire everyone!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm the last person to say this, but i think Manny has to go. This is UNACCEPTABLE baseball for a supposed "major-league franchise" and the fans (well, what's left of them anyway-16,000-on a Sunday? are you kidding me?) deserve so much better.

Granted, what has transpired isn't entirely Manny's fault, but somebody has got to take the fall, and unfortunately i think it needs to be Manny. Good guy, just the wrong guy for this franchise at this moment. I'm sure he'd probably be relieved to get out of here anyway.

Posted by: enstage | April 19, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"This was an extremely poorly managed game."

Becoming a fairly common occurence isn't it?

Posted by: RickFelt | April 19, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

And what does firing Manny do? This club doesn't have good players. You give the best poker player in the world a pair of three's, and he isn't going to win the hand.

We are not a good team and, that is because we have lousy players. It's not rocket science.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 19, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Scrap the deadwood and trade them for prospects. This team is going to suck all year long, at least that way we will be able to maybe avoid going through this again next year. And next and next.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 19, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Firing the manager is the equivalent of turning off your computer, then turning it back on. Sometimes it works, for no explainable reason. Sometimes you're just playing games with yourself.

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, i understand what you're saying, but in this situation somebody needs to be held accountable and imo that person is the manager of this team. And last years as well don't forget.

Posted by: enstage | April 19, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

rivera down - bergman up

baby steps

Posted by: sjt1455 | April 19, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Start the Manny watch...

It's time for him to go back to whatever he was doing in obscurity before he came here to drive this buggy into the wall...

This is beyond embarrassing, but the bigger factor that will usher Manny out won't be his well established inability -- it will be how few people show up (with the corresponding loss of ducats) to watch the Gnats further implode.

Dump Manny. Dump Rivera. Dump Shell. I don't care what you do with any of them -- they are collectively so bad it is beyond anyone's ability to fathom.

The only funny thing about this season is watching the overly lame MASN commercials where "fans" talk trash about the Gnats upcoming opponents. That takes serious cajones. My gosh, even Yahoo is making fun of Manny and the Gnats on its website.

Ten down... Ninety to go...

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 19, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm staying away from high bridges and tall buildings in the forseeable future.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 19, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo was part of the 2004 Diamondbacks that lost 111 games...I am seeing a pattern here.

Fire Rizzo, Acta, and eveyrone else associated with managing this team since 2007, and bring in Willie Randolph to manage and Frank Robinson as General Manager. They are proven winners in the NL East, and they know the NL.

Acta may be a nice guy, but he's been given way too many chances!! You can't fire the team (although I wish we could), so fire Acta NOW! CLEAN HOUSE LERNERS, if someone was managing your commerical real estate projects with this kind of performance, they'd be looking for jobs elsewhere.

Once again, Willie Randolph Manager, and Frank Robinson General Manager! They are both available...make it happen PLEASE.

Posted by: jim000122 | April 19, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

One and Ten. This blows.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Somebody wake Boswell up and tell him baseball has indeed FINALLY come back to Washington.

Posted by: bundy44 | April 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I am clinging to Earl Weaver's dictum that no team is as good as it looks when it's on a winning streak and no team is as bad as it looks when it is losing.

The frustrations with four blown saves in three games are masking two positive developments: the offense continues strong and the starting pitching, shaky earlier in the season, is now delivering quality starts.

So atrocious as things seem, the margin between winning and losing has actually been narrowed when compared with last year, when they had nothing.

Eventually, this problem will be solved. And this will prove to be a better team than it feels like right now. Earl Weaver is seldom wrong.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson as GM.

Willie Randolph as Manager.

Nuff said

Posted by: jim000122 | April 19, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Those MASN ads are as usual, lame-and i can't believe i'm saying this after thinking it would be a disaster, but i have to say that i find Rob Dibble refreshing. Speaks his mind, clearly seems to be into the game even when it's not looking so good for us, and interesting analysis. Chico, maybe if you see him in the box you can pass that along to him.

Posted by: enstage | April 19, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Manny may not be a great manager, but we will likely never know. The stuff he has to work with is cheap and cheesy. Saul Rivera was a freebie that worked, same for everyone in the bullpen except Beimel. They did not pay a nickel for any of them more than major league minimum. And that is what they pitch like. Major league minimum. Blaming Manny for what the organization gave him to work with is just unfair. That said, he may not be a great manager, but he seems like a reasonable person and might be a good manager in the right situation. This ain't it.

Posted by: Juliasdad | April 19, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Right,

But when you are replacing rubbish players with rubbish players every managing call is wrong.

Willingham should have pinch hit, but then where do you put him? You can't take out Dunn or Johnson. And yet you HAVE to pinch hit Willigham. The man is caught out because his player are craptastic. And leaving Willigham in the field in a tight game is a massive mistake.

But Acta is going to take flack for bringing in Maxwell. Who does he take out? His only three quality players play the players ply the position he would be subbed for. And Kearns was playing well.

Mannys main problem is that he has no pitching, and weak exhausted pen. The fault for that lies at the feet of Bowden, and Stan. Bowden acquired a useless staff, and Stan refused to spend the Lerners precious precious money.

Sure Manny has made mistakes (plenty) but I don't think there is a manager in the world that wouldn't look bad trying to figure out which of these mugs to play.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 19, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Eh not a fan of Willie, his teams in new york blew it all the time and he didn't seem to have any fire in him, I'd like to see a firey manager with good bullpen management, that is my only knock on Manny, I don't think he has a clue about bullpen usage.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

You can talk about why Rivera was still in there pitching, before and after he had loaded the bases.

Fire Manny.

-- Formerly the Manny Acta Fan Club

Posted by: fischy | April 19, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, Frank Robinson fell asleep in the damn dugout. For Gods sake if we want Acta out, fair play but lets be a bit more creative and a bit less ridiculous!

Posted by: soundbloke | April 19, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Rivera had no clue where his pitches were going. No way should he have been in during a tie game with bases loaded.

Posted by: fischy | April 19, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

It does look rather depressing and I think at the end of the day it's Manny that's the weakest link. The starting rotation is settling down and with J Zim about to enter the picture it should get even better. As long as Olsen and Cabrera can pitch something above average we look ok there. Clutch hitting is obviously still a problem but offensively compared to last year this is a far better team. Mission mostly accomplised on that front (as long as the injuries don't keep happening). The bullpen is a shame. Bring up Jason B... he can't do any worse. You can send a whole bunch of people down but who do you bring up? And what about a closer? I think the best they are going to do is make the bullpen barely acceptable unless the make some serious trades and they don't have much proven trade bait they want to let go of.

But the are LOTS of errors and I think Extreme is right on the money. Also the situation with Milledge... you can see that the front office has had coax Manny a bit. I think all the players like Manny but I don't know that he commands respect and motivates the guys to be their best. I think it's more important to focus on player work ethic and performance than worry about a one-time 5 minute late penalty.

Robinson wouldn't do any better. The game passed him by a long time ago. He was great for what the Nats needed at the time but now they need someone who can really drive this team and Manny (so far it would seem) is not it.

The only bright spot is that finally we don't have "Deal Addict" Bowden anymore. Too bad he didn't go earlier. Might have still had a bullpen.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 19, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"It's time for him to go back to whatever he was doing in obscurity before he came here to drive this buggy into the wall..."

He was third base coach for the New York Mets and widely rumored to be waiting in the wings to succeed Willie Randolph.

And speaking of the Mets...

"Scrap the deadwood and trade them for prospects."

Omar Minaya is the only GM in the majors that trades prospects for deadwood. It's a nice fantasy world that you can trade away all your bad players for good ones. If you were more serious, you would say trade Zimmerman, Dukes, Zimmermann, Lannan, and a few others for more prospects. But then you'd have to resign yourself to losing more this year without hope.

"Start the Manny watch... "

If you want a day to watch, it's the off-day after the Philly series. The team's not playing for the pennant this year, so they won't can the manager in the middle of a homestand.

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone suggested starting Strasburg right in as the closer, yet?
I mean, he throws 100mph strikes and has a breaking ball -- what else does a closer need? (besides the nerves of a cat burgler, and I'm sure Boras will tend to that.)

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 19, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Frank Robinson as GM.

"Willie Randolph as Manager."

Okay, that made me laugh. I know you didn't mean it to, but it did.

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Later this evening the Marlins will be coming over to kick my dogs.
Posted by: Section220 | April 19, 2009 5:19 PM
***********

Ev'ry time I go to town
The boys keep kickin my dog around
Makes no dif'rence if he is a hound
they gotta stop kickin my dog around ...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 19, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson is not the answer to this club's troubles. I don't even know if this is a managerial problem. We should have signed a few tried and true pitchers.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 19, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't catch many games what with living in South America and all but has Shell been that bad? It seems like there have been others more deserving of being sent down.

I've always liked Manny but a change is probably due soon. He seems like he'd be a great coach but not manager.

I'd like to see some quotes from the players on the impact of the new batting coach. It seems like he's very different from last year's coach.

Posted by: derwink | April 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I present to you, Willie Randolph, Manager, and Frank Robinson, General Manager:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2be6jGwLoJ0

Hilarity WILL ensue.

Posted by: Section506 | April 19, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The bullpen is a complete disaster but otherwise we've got good players. The offensive stats show a huge improvement over last year. Any way you cut it though Manny just isn't getting the job done. Frank did better than Manny even in years when he had less to work with than Manny.

But not Randolph. He's too aloof, doesn't engage with his players. I don't think you're going to do any better with him. Who then? Got me...

If they can just upgrade the bullpen from absolutely aweful to average with a decent closer things would look a lot better.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The time has come for everyone to share the blame here. This is a top down serious problem. We have had a team for years now. When this club was owned by MLB we were in better shape. The Nats were gritty; they battled. We even had a great half of a season where as the step-children of the league, we had a shot at the post season. What's happened now? We have new owners, a new manager, a new ballpark, a new farm system and we are worse! This team stinks! Its time to get the owner, the GM, the Manager, out in front of some microphones to tell this city that this level of play will not be tolerated. Who is going to go see this team play? Boz has said that after a while a franchise begins to take on a certain reputation. What is the reputation of this team/franchise? 10 losses in the first 11 games where a team needs to win games to get fans to take notice and come to the park is no way to run a baseball team. Note to the Lerners. The Nationals are not a "mall." The team is the product, not the name, not the ballpark, the players. You need good players managed well to win in this league. Its labor, not bricks and mortar.

Posted by: ardano | April 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

>Frank Robinson is not the answer to this club's troubles

How about this - he comes back as interim manager for the rest of this season, and then Davey Johnson takes over. Right? Unless they're waiting for Johnson to say yes up front.

I'd take Frank in the short term anytime..

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Please stop talking about the offense being vastly improved - it is not. A good offense doesn't strand the numbers of runners that this team does. There are incremental improvements here and there, but how many times this year have they failed to score runs when they need them? They're putting an incredible amount of pressure on their awful bullpen and their mediocre starters and it just adds up to drama game after game. There will be very few easy wins this year. Blame anyone you want, but this club as currently constructed is just not very good - better than last year, but nothing to give us any hope for a competitive team anytime soon. The crowds are dwindling and the TV rating are even lower than last year, which is quite a trick. Here's guessing they fail to crack the 15,000 mark tomorrow.

Posted by: bendersx6 | April 19, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree there's lots of blame to go around but I don't think any of it is because of Stan. He's got a proven track record. Getting rid of deal addict was a good start. But I think there may be a huge gap in what the Lerners think they need to pay to field a good team and what they really need to pay. They look at the Marlins who spend the least money on players (and half of what the Nats spend) and think that's the holy grail. Sure... you can sometimes field good teams for a cheap price but not for long. The Nats are still 26th in payroll. That's what Stan has to deal with and I think if anyone has been engineering a way out of this mess it's Stan. The minute Stan walks we are in BIG trouble. He's the only one around who knows anything about running a successful baseball team.

Unfortunately it's a tough time to make management changes. You dump Manny now and there really isn't much out there to replace him with... and who in-house could we turn to?

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 19, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Shell, Ledezma and Rivera going down, Mock, Bergmann and Wells coming up. Stay tuned; I'm sure Chico will be back with more.

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | April 19, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Another thing. A buddy of mine from work was trying a case in Houston, TX. He went to Minute Maid Park and sat behind the plate about 30 feet away from George and Barbara Bush (41). The seat cost $50 bucks. What is up with that? Do you think the Lerner Family would have more fannies in the seats if they priced their tickets like that? For goodness sake, don't you think you can sell a $10 ticket and still make it up in merchandise and concessions?

Posted by: 6thandD | April 19, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chico, you say walking Cabrera on four pitches was "perhaps the worst-pitched at bat in recent MLB history?"

Maybe, but it was soon replaced by Rivera's leadoff walk to Bonifacio to start the ninth.

An active manager would have pulled Rivera right then and there, and rolled the dice.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Manny, out. Tim Foli, in.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 19, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Ev'ry time I go to town
The boys keep kickin my dog around
Makes no dif'rence if he is a hound
they gotta stop kickin my dog around ...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 19, 2009 5:58
============================================
Easy Big Joe. Some people got sensitive feelings!

Posted by: 6thandD | April 19, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Zimmermann, Mock, Kip Wells and Bergmann coming up; Bard, Rivera, and Shell gone (not sure who the fourth is)

Posted by: BGinVA | April 19, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Tracee just said Ledezma

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Pedro Martinez was and is available hell why not he knows how to pitch we need a veteran who knows how to win. I am a big F.Robby fan but he belongs in the front office not in the dugout if i were Rizzo i'd be on the horn to Frank after consulting the Lerners hey two heads are better than one. As i said in an earlier post Rivera would be outta here to Syracuse that was an inexcusable effort he should be ashamed of himself as a veteran pitcher,Manny needs to send a message that lack of focus won't be tolerated they should be 4-7 and on an upswing instead we're grasping at straws!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

benders... "vastly improved" does not mean "great". Last year was so bad that it wasn't going to be hard to improve on it. They may not be the Bronx Bombers but they are competetive. I also think with a better manager in the drivers seat the offense would actually get just that much better to solve that clutch hitting problem and the errors problem to keep the heat of the pitchers.

6thandD... lol! Sadly I think Oddball and Crapgame might be running this show.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 19, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Glad I stayed home today. There was no way I was going to spend another dime on this fiasco going on three days. Of course I'm glued to the tube watching the daily disaster.

Why wasn't Willingham batting late in the game. Why is blah, blah, blah....., oh the bag of whys just continue to eat away at me.

Manny why did you do this, that and the other thing? Ahhhhhh, well ....., I have faith in my team. YOUR FIRED!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

like i said yesterday, the lerners may have paid the money for the team but the nats are OWNED by the marlins.

Posted by: surly_w | April 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Why Shell and not Hanrahan? I didn't think Shell was that bad. Rivera must be hurt. He just is not himself. Doesn't get more discouraging than this. Our section was a ghost town today.

Posted by: longhorn64 | April 19, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

these last three games have me missing the wizards

Posted by: bford1kb | April 19, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

no surprise ledezma is going...going...gone. couldn't throw strikes for detroit, san diego, or atlanta. what made the nats think they were any smarter than real baseball execs? another seduction by tools for the nats made by their former, unlamented general manager.

Posted by: surly_w | April 19, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Is Rivera the best we have with a one lead in the 9th in a desperate win situation ? what has become of the bullpen. Manny is not the problem, I think its still not getting the young hitters to do whats right. Flores with 2 K's and the bases loaded hurt bad.

Posted by: JT2009 | April 19, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

obama should have come to natstown for opening day for his first look as president at a major disaster area.

Posted by: surly_w | April 19, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

>Glad I stayed home today.

You and everybody else. Place was totally vacant. I thought about going -- but why pay?

Maybe they can fire Manny at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon or something. For the good of the franchise. There were probably 8-10,000 fans there today. The franchise is dead. Wake up Ted - find your cajones and fire Acta TONIGHT

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Save Our Team.

A team that carries leads into the ninth against the Marlins is by definition a competitive team and maybe a pretty good one.

One very big, very critical piece needs fixing -- no question. It's like a transmission -- the rest of your car may be great, but if the transmission's blown, it won't work.

Fix the transmission, and that car's suddenly gonna run a whole lot better. Does that mean the clutch hitting couldn't be better, or that the fielding doesn't need a tune-up also? No.

Can the bullpen be fixed by bringing up some guys from Syracuse? Dunno. We're about to find out.

As for Manny? Let's see what happens over the next month or two. By June I think we'll have a clearer picture. Any move made right now would be more the product of frustration than anything else. Look at the Mets. Everyone became convinced Randolph was too laid back, couldnt light a fire under the team, etc. So they fire him, and the exact same thing happens to them the next year under a manager with a different personality.

And now, Randolph is being drooled over by some people as the potential savior of this franchise.

Unlike the bullpen, where immediate action is clearly needed, I think it's time to be a little more patient about the manager.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 19, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Manny's major failing as a manger is his rigidity and failure to adapt to game situations where his pitching is concerned. He would rather stick to his preprogrammed plan than believe what he is seeing transpire on the field. Beimel in the 8th, Hanrahan as closer even though it's obvious those roles could and should be reversed. Doesn't matter how well Beimel pitches if Hanrahan is going to come in and gak up leads. And why should a team that's 60-112 in the past two seasons even HAVE defined roles for its bullpen especially when some of those roles were given and not earned? I remember when the Orioles under Earl Weaver would get slow out of the gate and Weaver would rhetorically ask "What constitutes a slow start? Ten games? Twenty games." So far, eleven games would be about right.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 19, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another Acta/Rizzo failure... will they be able to spell the name of the team right next week??

Posted by: jeff-in-dc | April 19, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Only 90 more losses to go this season!

Posted by: jeff-in-dc | April 19, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Changing Managers doesn't necessarily = Wins. They fired Cal Ripken Sr. 8 games in '88. Frank Robinson took over and they still lost around 13 more games.

Hanrahan was right. While taking responsibility for his poor performance, he still said that starting pitching has to get us to the 6th or 7th. The bullpen not only stinks but its getting over worked.

Who the heck decided to INTENTIONALLY WALK GLOAD to get to Uggla and Hermidia?!!! I usually support Manny but that was a really STUPID STUPID DECISION.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | April 19, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The time has come for everyone to share the blame here.

*******

Absolutely not. I bought the tickets, I bought the gear, I drank the kool-aid. This is in no way my fault.

Posted by: markfromark | April 19, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

On this most miserable of days, Ladson says Zimmie has signed a deal.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090419&content_id=4344682&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 19, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

A fish stinks from the head, and the head here is Manny Acta who has coddled these bozos and made excuses for the most downright stupid baseball I have ever seen. To top it off, he couldn't manage a fish market!

Friday night he removes Dunn in a one-run game and doesn't have him for the late innings. Same game, tied, Dukes doubles with no out and Willingham pinch hitting. My dead dog would know to call a bunt. But the dead dogs running this putrid team had Willingham, hitting about .063 hitting away and into an out.

Sunday, he takes Dukes out and doesn't have him available late.

Cody Ross is in the big leagues because of the Nats pitching staff, which should not be in the Big Leagues.

Oh, Kasten should get the hell out of town, too.

Posted by: IraRAllen | April 19, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Yea so did Perez....how did that work out?

Posted by: JayBeee | April 19, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Lets break out the torches and pitchforks!

Jeez people, with three routine saves we would have swept the Marlins. Calm down and take a deep breath as baseball is a process, not a knee jerk reactionary fan-appeasement.

Our offense has been delivering leads to the bullpen in the late innings. Simple chance is a cruel mistress.

Calm down and think.

Posted by: Mental5 | April 19, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

SaveOurTeam - I also agree with your posts. This team is improved from last year, as hard as that may be to believe right now. They are in an awfully tough stretch where different things are going wrong at the worst possible time, but overall they are closer to fielding a contending team than they were before. Since they are not constructed to contend as is but are trying to build one, I think that you look beyond the won-loss record, which is hard to do when they are 1-10, I admit. There are some promising things going on that they can build around. Despite these heartbreaking losses, they haven't quit. Other than just a couple of games, they have been competitive in every game against some good pitchers, and could or should have won at least half of them. Their lineup has some professional hitters in it now, people who work deep into the count and can produce. The season is a long one, and the law of averages about men left on base and other metrics will even out. The pitching is a work in progress, but even so, lately there is progress. The defense has been puzzlingly bad, which I don't get, and may be the worst area of blame to put on Manny, because with Milledge out of there, Dunn is really the only defensive hole in the lineup now.

Posted by: Willy2 | April 19, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

April 30th looms. Will this team be 1 win and how many losses exclusively against Eastern Divsion opponents? Will that mean the loss of Rizzo and Acta's jobs? Perhaps even Kasten?

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I read every single post above this one, just to read the pulse-of-the-nation.

I've learned that we have a pulse, as opposed to the Nationals.

Let me give you my vision of the Nationals for the rest of the year:

1)Nick Johnson & Austin Kearns are being showcased to be traded, probably in May or June. Because of poor play (Kearns) and injuries (Johnson), there is no way that the Nationals are going to offer them a contract for 2010. The only reason that a team "building for the future" would play two lame ducks is to trade them. When they go, Adam Dunn moves to first (for better or worse) and Josh Willingham takes over in the outfield along with Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge if he's ready, one of the other guys if he's not.

2)All four starters have shown they can pitch well in the last week, and Scott Olsen really impressed me. Add Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals have at least a real chance of winning every time they take the field.

Might Strasburg close for the remainder of the year, giving him MLB experience without taxing his arm????

3)Manny gets fired. Many of you (and I used to agree) believe that he would be a sacrificial lamb for a bad start, but I don't like the way he manages.

For instance, Ryan Zimmerman bunted for (I think) 9-10 hits in 2006, which I thought was great. Manny Says no bunting. But more than that, he seems to always have the wrong pitcher pitching or the wrong pinch hitter hitting.

That, and the fact that his laid-back demeanor seems to have his players asleep at the wheel.

Based on talent, I still believe this is a team capable of winning 77-81 games. I think what we're seeing right now is the opposite of what we watched in the first half of 2005.

In their first year in Washington, the Nationals won - what was it, 13 in a row? - using what seemed to be smoke & mirrors. They shouldn't have won many of those games. Now, they lose three straight games in the 9th when they blow a lead. Three in a row? That just doesn't happen.

Baseball has a 162 game season and things even out. Somewhere along the lines, the Nats will win 7-8 in a row and just about cancel out this dismal start.

It all begins with firing Manny. I remember when the Lakers fired their head coach a decade or so ago and Hired "Magic" Johnson to lead them. His first game, the Lakers won by something like 40 points.

Sometimes, change is needed for the sake of change.

Manny is a dead man walking. And with four gates in a row of less than 20,000, the Lerners are probably talking about a change we can believe in.

Posted by: rushfari | April 19, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I like Manny. He's a great guy. I just don't think he can manage. At least not at this level and not today. Might he ever grow into a good manager? Who knows. How long do we wait to find out? Who knows. Managers get fired for simply not producing results despite what they actually try to do with what they have. Some get fired because they might have done ok but not good enough despite having a solid approach and good management skills.

Manny doesn't even fit into any of those categories and you can see from many of the people posting here that it's way beyond a knee-jerk reaction. My take is usually to be patient and let things take their course. Don't change just for the sake of change or you might make it worse than it already is. I think Manny's had his chance and blown it. Too bad it has to become evident so early in the season.

I haven't really been paying much attention to what Rizzo has been doing so I really can't say how well he's doing. He would seem to be coming from the same "up and commer" philosophy they took Manny from so that might be telling. My suspicion (and again I really don't know) is that it was Stan who prevented Rizzo from being appointed as the permanent GM to at least prove himself before making a committment. That's why I think Stan is at the heart of keep this club afloat. All that hubub with him leaving and having a bad relationship with ownership was probably true. You can see it on his face. He's got new owners who don't know anything about managing baseball, a young manager that isn't cutting it and an unproven acting GM. I think Stan is one of the few that could handle this situation.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | April 19, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

>I like Manny. He's a great guy. I just don't think he can manage

I don't even like him anymore.

Hey Stan - you need to get some cajones and get a grip on this situation and flatter Manny out the door. The same way you flattered the 8-10,000 into the park today. You certainly don't know enough to hire a new GM with his choice as coach.

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

When a team is constructed at Opening Day based solely on who has options remaining as opposed to who is the better player then you get this as a result. I thought the pitchers coming up now were better than the ones kept on the Opening Day roster with the exception of Wells (whom I have no experience with). Rizzo is also responsible for these choices and it would be entirely fair to judge him on the roster choices that were made. The inclusion of a third catcher that had little defense or hitting was just dumb. That roster spot clearly should have gone to another reliever, especially when you have so many unknowns on your starting staff.

And yet Hanrahan remains. Maybe he has enough "gas" to pitch in the seventh inning, but he does not have the control to pitch in the ninth as a closer.

This team is in need of a good psychiatrist now or maybe a big collective binge at a bar. They need to drink away the last week, and purge themselves of their "can't win" attitudes while facing the porcelain throne. New faces send a message but the ones that still are on the team have some serious readjustments to make.

Posted by: driley | April 19, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

rushfari

Great post.

506

This is from way earlier but frankly I wouldn't mind if our team looked like this

Bernadina (sniff)/Milledge - Maxwell - Dukes
Zimm - Gonzalez - Hernandez - Barton
Flores
Zimm - Ballister - Lannan - Martis - Stras

If that was the case I wouldn't mind losing. Development supersedes losing. But the fact that we are arguing over Willingham/Cintron as pinch hitters disgusts me. We are a rebuilding team, and have been promised a youth movement for years, and yet we continue to trot out the same useless flawed veterans as during the Bowden years. Our team lacks the courage to lose in the name of rebuilding, and lacks the talent to win in the name of entertaining. So we lose in the name of... well if anyone can tell me then good please farking do.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 19, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not Manny Acta, or Jim Bowden or Mike Rizzo. The problem is the Lerners. They know how to build shopping centers, they haven't a clue how to run a store. Abner Doubleday himself couldn't rescue this fiasco. I am so thankful I didn't renew my season tickets for a fourth year. I don't care what lies they tell—everybody else should bail also. You are simply wasting your time doing anything else.

Posted by: drrisk | April 19, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I love the Nats and I love baseball but I just can't stand watching this any longer. I feel badly for all the guys getting hits and scoring runs even though we have let plenty of people on base (the huge amount is still unacceptable). But to take leads into the 9th innings and lose every time - totally unacceptable. I am glad Acta is making some changes. Can't be much worse. But until I see some improvement I will find something else to watch. This is just to painful!!!!!!!

Posted by: HossyLady | April 19, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

"It all begins with firing Manny. I remember when the Lakers fired their head coach a decade or so ago and Hired "Magic" Johnson to lead them. His first game, the Lakers won by something like 40 points."
===
No offense, but that's wrong. In Magic's first game as interim coach of the 1993-4 Lakers they beat the Bucks 110-101. Magic coached 16 games that season and only won five of them. The biggest margin of victory was 13 points (twice). The Lakers finished the season on a 10-game losing streak, including a 35-point blowout loss to Golden State.

If anything Magic's coaching career is a great example of how a "change for the sake of change" can blow up in a team's face.

Posted by: hubcap | April 20, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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