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Reaction From The Latest Loss

Washington's 8-2 loss today had the feel of one of those test-your-tolerance games. As in, How much more can you take? The Nats made three more errors, yielded four unearned runs, committed one baserunning gaffe, and saw their starting pitcher exit after 2-1/3 innings and 86 pitches. By the third inning, the Mets' HD broadcast was already showing a video montage of Washington bloopers from this series.

That's why I'll give a little sample of thoughts from a post-game interviews. Sometimes, post-game clubhouses are the worst spots to collect genuine, non-cliched thought; guys are in a hurry to get changed and catch the team bus, and they're sick of answering questions that sound like the previous day's questions. Still, maybe this will give you a sense of the temperature in a 3-13 team's clubhouse.

---

First, from MANNY ACTA

Q: Three more errors today. What is the problem with the defense right now?

Acat: I can't pinpoint it, because we work hard at it, but it's very disappointing. Even when this kid (Daniel Cabrera) barely threw 50 percent of his pitches for strikes, he could have done better. We at least could have hung in there better for the first part of the game... That first error (the Dukes E-8) just took the air out of us. It was just, we were out of the inning right there and it cost us three.

Q: What did you think of Cabrera?

Acta: As I said, he didn't throw enough strikes obviously. With a ballclub like that that has such a good lineup, speed, if you put guys on, the way we're playing defense, every time a guy commits and error it's really going to cost you.

Q: What can you do going forward?

Acta: Hey, we've just got to show up over here tomorrow again, chin-up, and be ready to play. Work hard, and continue to try to make improvements, because this one is over with and so are the last 15 games we have played. So we just have to get ready for tomorrow again.

Q: As a manager, is there a point where you try to spark things, throw things, express that this is unacceptable?

Acta: I've been here for three years now, so I can control my emotions, because I know a lot of these kids -- or all of them -- are trying hard right now to do good. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. It's just, things are not working out. It would make a good press conference, but no, I'm not going to throw things; not at least in front of you guys.

Q: What happened with Dukes' error? He just lost it in the sun.

Acta: Go ask him. He's out there (in the clubhouse).

(Note: Dukes declined comment, with several bleep-words mixed in.)

Q: With Cabrera, he's had these control problems for a long time. Do you see anything he can be working on that can point him in the right direction?

Acta: Well, Randy [St. Claire] is working hard with him trying to get him back to a couple years back when he was throwing harder, and we saw some signs today. One at bat with David Wright where he let the ball fly a little bit and threw harder, and that's what Randy wants to get him to.

---

Now, from ADAM DUNN

Somebody opened the interview with Dunn by questioning the team's fire. Dunn immediately objected.

Dunn: Any fire? Explain that to me... Cause we're not playing well we don't have any fire?

The interviewer mentioned the defensive lapses.

Dunn continued: I wouldn't say that's 'no fire.' I think that's a bad choice of words. You know, the plays that we're not making are not lack-of-effort plays. They're not plays for lack of fire, like you like to use. I don't know, I don't know. [Long pause.] I think lack of fire is a horrible word. Because that's not true. I think everyone is out there playing hard, it's just we're making mistakes that obviously a big league team should not make. But we're making them, and that is what's costing us games... It's the same story every single day, it seems like. We do something that leads to them scoring a few runs, and we're not able to capitalize when we get opportunities. And we're going to have to find a way to turn it around. I don't know what it is, but we'll have to find a way.

---

Now, from RYAN ZIMMERMAN

Q: Can things somehow get better for this team?

Zimmerman: Yeah. We're 16 games into the season. You just have to stay positive and things will turn around.

Q: Is it harder to take just because so many of the problems are self-inflicted?

Zimmerman: A loss is a loss. Any time we lose it's difficult to take, but we just have to concentrate on doing the little things right, stay positive, and continue to be supportive of each other.

Q: How surprised are you that the defense really hasn't done the job?

Zimmerman: I'm surprised, but defense is like hitting, I guess. It's kind of contagious, and if things go bad, they go bad. I think in the long run we'll be fine, but it's frustrating now.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 25, 2009; 5:42 PM ET
 
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Next: Some Morning Reading

Comments

This team is so pathetic they couldn't win in Little League.

Posted by: bupbups | April 25, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I think that I covered the expressing part of the equation pretty well in my basement today...

---

Q: As a manager, is there a point where you try to spark things, throw things, express that this is unacceptable?

Acta: I've been here for three years now, so I can control my emotions, because I know a lot of these kids -- or all of them -- are trying hard right now to do good. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. It's just, things are not working out. It would make a good press conference, but no, I'm not going to throw things; not at least in front of you guys.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 25, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I saw the Dukes Error and disgustedly went to work on some things around the house!

Alright, don't yell at them! I would drill drill drill these guys on fundamentals! Come ON! An occasional sloppy or losing it in the sun is one thing but we've had too many games with errors to play like this!

As Cal Ripken Sr. said, Practice doesn't make perfect; PERFECT PRACTICE makes PERFECT!

I'm just frustrated right now.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | April 25, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

No excuse for these kinds of errors. No excuse. None.

These clowns need to take three or four GIANT steps back and work on fundamentals.

Acta is an idiot: "I can't pinpoint it."

Let me help you doofus... IT IS A LACK OF FUNDAMENTALS. Take infield practice. Hit some balls to the outfielders. Teach them how to put their darned sunglasses ON.

Oh, and while you are doing those things, have someone pack your things.

Mr. Acta, you just don't have the tools to be a big league manager.

There, I pinpointed it for you.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 25, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Man, Manny just looked terrible today.

Did you see the way he lost that fly ball in the sun with his sunglasses sitting on the top of his head?

Did you see him fail to throw strikes in 2 1/3 innings on the mound?

Did you see him shotput a ball past Zimmerman?

Did you see him sail a throw into centerfield in an attempt to catch Beltran stealing second?

Man, Manny really is a terrible manager. He just can't seem to field, pitch, or throw well enough.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 25, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

You are absolutely right JohninMpls.

That a team of so-called "professionals" plays like a bad little league team IS ENTIRELY MANNY ACTA'S FAULT.

Almost all of the things you mentioned would likely have been cured by simple fundamental drills.

Face it, Acta is clueless and it is time for him to go.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 25, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

If any one was wonering if Manny Acta has been fired yet, here is your answer:

hasmannyactabeenfiredyet.blogspot.com

Posted by: amorris525 | April 25, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

This goes beyond fundamentals. This guys can all make every one of the plays they failed at today. They have been playing this game for years and years. This is a team that has it's head down. And how should Manny get their heads back in the game? I have no idea because it's obvious to everyone in that club house that none of them have the talent or the youth to be part of the long term plans of this club. So they know they are spinning their wheels at a dead end club waiting for the next phase of their career.

What they need is a talent influx and winning streak. Get their heads up and get some purpose in their game. If I knew how to do it though I'd be sitting in the club house making money and not talking to you.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

WE ARE THE WORST COACHED TEAM IN MLB!!! I say coached because every coach on this team is responsible for this clusterf#ck fellow bloggers please forgive my language and my caps but a fan can only take so much,where are the fundamentals? i've been posting about this ad nauseum for almost a week now, from boneheaded steal attempts to missing the cutoff man to failure to lay down a bunt when needed. The word fundamental is not in this teams playing vocabulary, no accountability whatsoever. I'm wondering, just a guess that no one told Elijah Dukes about the sun and the high sky today, this is his first time playing in that park did Grissom have them out there shagging flies this morning? the throwing error by NJ was inexcusable i don't want to hear it happens, that's bull krap!!. Manny needs to go and the longer he's around the worse it's going to get and he can take Randy St.Claire with him the bullpen, another bunch of pyromaniacs no intensity or sense of purpose get somebody out dammit!! The Lerners need to get a clue do you care that this franchise is the laughing stock of baseball? the next thing you know we'll be the brunt of Letterman and Leno's latenight jokes if we're not already sorry fellow bloggers for my rant but i've had it up to here!.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 25, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I said it before but it's the entire organization's fault. This team just isn't a good team. The players simply aren't getting it done. Well maybe Manny has a little something to do with it. They don't seem to be focused. 3 errors for a team that already has many flaws? I don't expect to win 50 games this year. I think it'll be years until we have a decent baseball team. This is the exact reason why the Caps must win tomorrow, I can't watch the Nats every night, it's a pain. 3-12, what a joke.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 25, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

If pitching (hahahha) and defense (hahahaha) aren't the Nats' strength, then really neither is hitting. Their lineup, with the current injuries, is weap. Anderson Hernandez as a leadoff hitter is a joke. Nick, Zimm, Dunn and Dukes are fine, but in reality they are the same type of player (big, slow, dead-pull hitters, with Dukes being the slight exception, as he has some speed). When Flores plays, there's one more big, slow bat. After that, 7-8-9 are automatic outs, as is Herndandez. So you have four automatic outs, followed by DP-prone pull hitters, who obviously do not hit in the clutch. As I said, I predicated 57-and-105, but they would really have to regroup (probably under a new manager) to even threaten 57 wins. 40 to 45 is more like it.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 25, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Those of you predicting wins and losses should visit my fun little website:

www.natslose100.webs.com

We're going to run a little contest to see who gets the closest to picking which game is the actual 100th loss.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 25, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Er, I think JiMpls has an excellent point. Do we really think that Nick Johnson requires more drills to learn how to scoop a ball? Or that in all his major league time Dunn has not learned to hit a cut off man? Gonzalez has been defending badly, as has Hernandez! This team is just totally demoralized. And needs a input of fresh blood.

Not that I wouldn't be making them go through the paces but, we have to remember that at this point we have no idea what the inside of that clubhouse is like.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Today I canceled Comcast cable. There's no reason on spaceship Earth to pay $450 during the season to watch the zerOs and the worst team in baseball.

I can get my pick of any game for $120 over the Internet.

Please call me when the greater Washington/Charm City area succeeds in landing a major league team.

Posted by: MartinZook | April 25, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I also feel bad for the radio guys, I hear it in their voices, they can't take it anymore either..

Posted by: rachel216 | April 25, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Some of these guys (Kearns, Johnson, Dunn) are millionaires many times over. It boggles the mind.

Posted by: JohnRDC | April 25, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The scary thing is that the Nats are actually one game worse after 16 games (3-13) than last season 4-12. The 3-13 mark ties the worst of any Washington team in my lifetime at the 16 game mark. The 1962 Senators bottomed out at 3-13 by virtue of their 13th straight loss. That team lost 101 games. The '65 Nats were also 4-12 after 16 games but rallied to win 70 games. The teams in my lifetime with the best marks after 16 games were the 1958 Griffith Senators at 10-6 and the '68 expansionistas, also at 10-6. The bad news is that the 58 Nats finished 61-93 and the 68 squad's final mark was 65-96. The '71 Senators were 9-7 and finished 63-96 and the 2005 Nats were also 9-7 en route to an 81-81 final mark. It's gotta get better 'cause it can't get worse.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 25, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one of the Fire Manny folks. But, I see a lot of excuses or defense of him on this blog. Fine.

My question is when does it become his fault? Yes, he's not the one blowing saves and missing fly balls and making mentals errors. But seriously, when does it become his problem?

I'm a long time football coach and I know baseball is different. You can't scream and yell all the time and punch holes in blackboads but, when is it time to get into the players arse.

Personally, I think it's past time. Manny needs to show freakin' emotion and let some young guys know it ain't acceptable to keep screwin' up.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 25, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be THE most dysfunctional organization in baseball. There is no reason for Cabarra to be on this team, you could go down the list and ask the same question over and over about a few others. How much longer until the Lerners realize that they have no clue. Since they made one of the highest profits in the game last year I gather it won't hit them until they start getting some negative returns. Sorry Acta "man lovers" but in this game you can't fire 25 players, so someone has got to take the axe, let it be ACTA!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 25, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Answer me this. And it's not just the Nats, and not just baseball, either. But the Nats are perhaps the most glaring example. -- All this talk of drilling fundamentals. . . HOW IS IT the guys are in the major leagues if they don't know their fundamentals? The "fundamentals" they talk about are things the should be learning in little league.

Cabrera's gotta go. He's done. Let Wells start a few games until we sign Pedro.

Posted by: chekhov1 | April 25, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

@Tippy

Even though the person primarily responsible for assembling this Isle of Misfit Toys roster had to turn in his keys and vacate the premises, there are a several players on this team who otherwise wouldn't probably be in the majors. I'm talking about Cabrera, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Bergmann, Hanrahan, Wells, Cintron, and Hinckley. Then there are guys like Willingham, Kearns, Da Meat Loaf and Belliard who have little or no trade value. It's like JimBow wanted to take other people's trash and made them his treasures. Go down th 40-man roster and honestly how many players are on this team that could play prominent roles on contending teams. Couple that with a lack of promising positional prospects in the high minors and your assertion is accurate.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 25, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

this team is on a 16-game road losing streak since last year.

Posted by: surly_w | April 25, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

leetee

I agree with you to a point. Gonzalez, Hernandez, Hickley and Hanrahan are long shot, but legitimate, prospects. they could be useful and they are possible fits for a Nationals team that could challenge eventually. Sure they aren't prospects that are likely to succeed, but this is a bad team so it's what we get.

The rest are guys who don't belong in the majors.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

@soundbloke

Even though the Nats are just one-tenth of the way into their season, I'm most looking forward to the end of the season regardless of final record or place in the NL East standings. That's because more than $20 million comes off the books with the expiring contracts of Johnson, Kearns, Da Meat Loaf, Belliard and Cabrera. Maybe then Rizzo or the new GM will be able to take that money and put it to better use by building a better-balanced roster.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 25, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Now, I have to question -- who on this team is great? Who's a legitimate all-star? For that matter, other than Dunn, who is a bone fide major leaguer?

Posted by: 6thandD | April 25, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I'll say one thing, they would really be in some trouble if they didn't have helpful advice from this blog.

There is something that concerns me deeply about this team, and it's not errors. St. Louis has two more than the Nationals to reach 17 and are first place in their division, 13-5. Robert Fick a bunch of errors, they make very little difference in whether you have a winning team or a losing team. If you don't believe me, go look at the number of errors by every World Series team in the last ten years. They're all within a standard deviation of the mean for the league. This ain't football, defense does not win championships (that's pitching).

The thing I'm worried about is the batting. Nationals batters are .264/.348/.395, 15 points lower on the average than last week (though that could just be replacing Guzman with Gonzales), but .231/.333/.333 with RISP. They can't get men home. I thought our fancy experienced hitting coach was going to fix all this.

CHICO, can you please have a more in-depth chat with the coaches and veteran players, to determine just what is going on with the hitting with men in scoring position?

Only three men are over .300 with RISP

Guzman, .500 (10 AB)
Austin "I Stink" Kearns, .400 (10)
Dukes .316 (19)


In the .250 - .300 range

Dunn .273 (11) but he's doing his job, because OBP is .556 and SLG is a whopping .818
Lastings Milledge .250 (8)

.200 - .250

Zimmerman .235 (17)
Johnson .222 (9)
Flores .214 (14)

Posted by: Section506 | April 25, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Leetee

Er, yeah me too. I want to see a Rizzo draft, and to see if we can make a trade to get some prospects for the detritus. Other than that, bring on the winter meetings.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

A few thoughts,

1. I dont think we are that bad, I think we are just playing poorly right now...I think this team is much better than last years, especially on the offensive side of things (if certain players can stay healthy)

2. Daniel Cabrera is just awful and needs to go, we should stick Bergmann back in the rotation or sign Pedro to a one year contract.

3.Anderson Hernadez is an awful leadoff man and is a bum. Try Maxwell at second.

4.When is Guzman coming back?

5.I find Ron Dibble to be entertaining.

6. Hannarhan sucks.

7. and at least no one can call us fairweather fans...lets see how Jordan Zimmerman pitches tom..


Posted by: BigCarter28 | April 25, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Nats batting with RISP, in all its ugliness
http://tinyurl.com/d9yaaw

Posted by: Section506 | April 25, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh leave Hernandez alone. He is just over matched at lead-off. He should never be batted there. His defensive mistakes are an abortion and will go away. It is not however his fault that he is being batted in the wrong position, as much as it was not Milledges that he was in the wrong slot.

If only we had some sore of scapegoat for that. Over to you Jaybee...

Posted by: soundbloke | April 25, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Shawn "Dr. Andrews will see you now" Hill is off to a rough start tonight in San Diego. He's given up two runs on three hits in the first inning to Pittsburgh. It would have been worse had he not induced a double-play groundout.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 25, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

More Hill: Pirates leading 3-0 in second inning. Hill has allowed three runs on five hits in his two frames.

Maybe Rizzo letting this guy fly away to San Diego wasn't such a bad move, after all.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 25, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Hill is done for the night. Can anyone say "tightness in the forearm?"

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 25, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

There seems to be a malaise that has set in from Acta on down this early in the season. It's like they are telling themselves "Don't worry, it's still early. We have plenty of time to get our act together." But the words and actions seem to lack conviction as if everyone is waiting for some divine intervention to make everything right. Every team usually wins at least 54 games and loses at least 54 games. It's the other 54 that determines what type of season a team has. Last year, the Nats were 5-48 (one rainout) in those 54 games up for grabs.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 25, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Leetee1855, you are so right. I usually use a 50-50-62 split. Every team (except, maybe this one) will win 50 games with just a pulse. This team shows no inclination to change. That's why a shock to the system--Oh, say, firing the manager 20 games into the season--but actually serve as a notice: No more shlock play, no more mental errors, no more coasting. Then, again, a fish rots from the head. And given that Uncle Teddy is leading the league in operating profit, who really gives a hoot? Certainly not Manny "I'm not going to throw over any buffet tables today" Acta. Time for Tim Foli, I say.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 25, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

> Hill is done for the night. Can anyone say "tightness in the forearm?"

Don't be so cynical. Shawn's forearm is all better now.

From padres.com:

"In his start against the Pirates, Shawn Hill left after two innings because of soreness in his right biceps".

Posted by: joebleux | April 25, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Okay, suggesting that the Nationals aren't even going to win 50 games is just plain stupid. Stop wasting our time.

Posted by: Section506 | April 25, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I think its time to promote another light hitting outfielder from AAA.

The thing with Acta is that I don't see any passion. You dont need a Billy Martin but you dont need the other extreme either. Acta needs to find some of that fire he had when he still coaching in the minors.

Posted by: CountDemoney | April 25, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

From ESPN.com box score:

"PADRES PITCHER SHAWN HILL LEFT THE GAME AFTER THE 2ND INNING WITH A STRAINED RIGHT FOREARM."

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 25, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say they are proud to be Nats fans even though the team is losing. No one can accuse us of being fair weather fans! I'm glad we have a major league team, well let's say a team that plays in the major leagues, and I'll keep watching. But the way they are losing is ugly and sad. Walks, errors, double plays.

Is it Manny? You have to wonder, because they have a better team this year, but they are playing worse. The players would know, but they won't talk to the press or fans about this, at least not on the record. Chico - why don't you try to find out?

I agree with those who want Cabrera to go. He's awful to watch.

In the meantime, how about a little affection for the team? They are underdogs, and everybody loves underdogs. Remember the Mets?

Posted by: JLNash819 | April 25, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

After watching Cabrera today, $5 million for Pedro Martinez doesn't sound so bad....

Posted by: Juan-John | April 26, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, Rizzo and Co. may have made some mistakes but Pattersoning Shawn Hill does not appear to be among them. From the AP:

Shawn Hill (1-1) had to leave the game for the Padres after two innings with soreness in his right biceps muscle. He gave up three runs on five hits.

Mr. Hill, Dr. Andrews will see you now...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 26, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Alright. My frustration is bubbling to the surface now.

I know Manny and the players answer the same questions over and over and over again, but I wish they could see beyond the reporters they're talking to and understand what fans need to know.

Manny, I'm not asking you to humiliate your players in front of me. I'm asking you to speak to me, Jane Public, as an intelligent person so I know that you know what you're doing.

You can't pinpoint it? Really? Holy Smokes, it's what you're there for. To *know* what your team's problem is and to *know* how to get wins out of them anyway.

Maybe you do know, but sheesh, throw us a bone so we can have some confidence in you.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 26, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

THANK GOD WE SENT DOWN [read: scapegoated] MILLEDGE; NOW WE DON'T MAKE ERRORS IN CENTER AND GET GREAT PRODUCTION FROM OUR LEADOFF SPOT!!1!!!11!1!!1!

Posted by: jaycane40oz | April 26, 2009 3:56 AM | Report abuse

I hated the Cabrera signing from the start. I hated the fact that he was an automatic for the starting five. I hate watching him pitch, even when he does not self-immolate. What in the name of Shawn Hill were they thinking when they signed this guy to the roster this winter? Did someone who actually gets paid to make baseball decisions think that a pitcher who has been wild all of his career will suddenly morph into a real starting pitcher? The team's decision making process this spring was so flawed that had Odalis Perez stayed with the club he would no doubt had taken Martis' spot and we still would have to endure Cabrera. And Martis, by contrast, can actually pitch. The signing of Cabrera can be tagged to Bowden, the keeping of him is a Rizzo decision. I blame the setting of the 25 man roster to Rizzo, including keeping the useless relievers on the team who recently got flushed down to Syracuse.

Posted by: driley | April 26, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Watching this team play defense is akin to fan abuse. This team would be so much easier to like if it truly played smart baseball. I can easily root for a team that plays heads up baseball but loses--that is still watching good baseball. What the Nats are playing now is the kind of baseball that drives fans away, even hard core fans.

I can understand getting shut down by Juirgens and Santana, two excellent pitchers. However, when Mike Pelfrey makes your hitters look bad then it is time for some serious reevaluation of your vaunted offense. So many of our hitters swing for the fences with a two strike count instead of battling the pitcher. Why do we routinely strike out a third of our outs? The incredible failure to bring in runners in from third with one out or second with no outs is indicative of what is wrong with our batters. Striking out in such a situation can never be excused.

Posted by: driley | April 26, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I've been a head coach and an assistant coach, albeit in basketball. I'm not on the fire Manny wagon yet, but he's acting like an assistant. That role is to stay positive, connect with the players, talk to them quietly off to the side. Sometimes the coach just has to get after a player or the team once in a while in addition to holding the players accountable.

He, to me, is acting like someone who knows he's going to get another shot at managing because he's young and there was some fanfair about him coming up being young and talented. Time to show he's capable of running a team or he won't get another shot.

Posted by: derwink | April 26, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Is this all Acta's fault...no it is not but he will be fired soon.

Both Rizzo and Acta are going to be gone next year. The question is how does Stan sell as many tickets as he can and that answer will guide when they both get fired. The way I see it Manny gets fired May 15th or so (so back to my Fall 2008 posts and I predicted this but that is another post). This way Stan gets a bump with a new manager as schools start to wind down for the year and Draft talk around baseball heats up.

The only other bump in tickets Stan will get this year is when Strasberg pitches in August-Sept. At that point Stan will fire Rizzo and the whole Coaching staff except Eckstein who is the real deal. Stan will hire a proven GM who will hire a proven Manager and coaching staff and Stan will ride this New Nats into Spring 2010 when he can honestly say this year is all new after the new GM turns over the whole roster over the winter. Only then will the Nats be able to purge the Jimbo do it on the cheap era of Nats V 1.0 – V 1.4. Version 2.0 will be much much different.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 26, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm not on the fire Manny bandwagon at all. I suspect he might have a little more intensity behind the scenes, but my frustration right now is that I need to know more about it.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 26, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Were going to see the B team today. It will look something like this....

Citron SS
Belliard 2B
Zim 3B
Dunn 1B
Willingham LF
Kearns RF
Maxwell CF
Flores C

It Should look like this....

Dukes RF
Maxwell CF
Dunn 1B
Willingham LF
Zim 3B
Belliard 2B
Flores C
Gonzo SS

Posted by: JayBeee | April 26, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are all about low-budget solutions. Cabrera seemed about as good as any at the time, maybe even better. If he does not work out, some other fringe player can be sent in there to take his place.

The task is to develop quality young pitchers. That's why you need to:

(a) Draft the best pitcher available when you have the chance to draft a guy with huge upside.

(b) That means you don't go just for those who are willing to sign for slot (Detwiler).

(c) And once you draft the best one, then sign the guy. Don't worry too much about an extra few hundred thousand dollars.

Saving a little bit on the draft last year, and then turning around and buying Pedro for one year only this year, would show a serious lack of focus.

If the Nats take this route in the June 2009 draft, they could come away with two future high-quality starters, and it will all start to look more bearable. I would rather the Nats signed last year's pitcher than Pedro, whose last good year was in 2005. But looking forward, the focus on youth and the draft is fine, if the Nats turn the corner on how to play the draft up to MLB standards.

Posted by: EdDC | April 26, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Bud Black is quoted as saying Shawn Hill is headed to the DL. He knows the way!

Posted by: Section314 | April 26, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Re Jaybee's post on the B team...

Why put the B team in when your your best shot at winning in the pitcher's matchup is working today?

I would put the best combination of defense on the field that the Nats can muster, even if it means giving Dunn a day off. Above all else Manny would be crazy to put in defenders like Dunn, Belliard and Citron who will cost the Nats runs in plays not made even if they are not scored as errors. Dukes, Kearns and Maxwell in the outfield with Zimmerman, Gonzales, Hernandez and Johnson and Nieves would give confidence to your best young pitcher that someone is on the field who can play defense. Use Dunn as a uber pinch hitter today when we have a situation with two on or bases loaded. The pitcher will have to pitch to him and a walk at that point will be deadly. Not giving 4 outs in an inning is a concept that the Nats might like to try once in a while.

Posted by: driley | April 26, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

driley,

Oh I agree but this is Manny we are talking about here.....Mr preach and teach...Mr I understand what we are doing here....developing players here.....Mr. pull young pitchers before they can fail...Mr. I can get a job anywhere so it really does not matter what I do.....

Posted by: JayBeee | April 26, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I like that line up Jaybee. I think stick with Hernandez because dropping Belliard into this defense gives me night sweats. Other than that I'm a little surprised that line up hasn't been tried.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 26, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

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