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No Yelling And Screaming, But --

Today, some 3-1/2 hours before the first pitch, Manny Acta called his team together and closed the clubhouse doors. Generally, the Washington Nationals' third-year manager holds little regard for such formalities: "You can speak and talk as much as you want," Acta said, "and we still need to hold the leads and need to catch the ball."

But here, Acta addressed a full clubhouse -- the group responsible for the highest ERA, lowest fielding percentage, smallest win total and longest losing streak in baseball. If nothing else, he wanted to remind the Nationals not to lose sight of their ability, despite an 11-28 start. During the half-hour meeting, Acta, according to several players, reminded the team that everyone shares culpability. He also pointed out that just a week ago, the Nationals were coming off a 4-4 West Coast road trip.

"I just wanted to make sure they knew that just a week ago we were a better team than what we are right now, and that the game is not going to be suspended today," Acta said. "We have to play it, and everything can change today. It was more a group thing to pump up the guys that are down right now in our bullpen and stuff, just to let them know it's a long season and they have plenty of time to get it going."

Acta did not lose his temper. No yelling, no screaming.


"A few people feel that that works, but it doesn't," Acta said. "Just try that at home with your own kids. I mean, that doesn't work. You don't need to yell and scream to get your point across to people. I mean, it's so silly, because how many championships did Joe Torre win in New York? Was he yelling and screaming and ripping bases and throwing them all over the place? Did the yelling and screaming that Lou [Pinella] does, did it work in Tampa? It didn't, right? ... I am who am I am and I'm not going to change. I think I can motivate people without getting in their face."

"He doesn't change anything in here," Ryan Zimmerman said. "He's the same person in here as he is in front of you guys."

One player, Ron Villone, spoke up as well. Though the reliever has been with the Nationals for just two weeks, he is a veteran of 15 big-league seasons. Paraphrasing his message, Villone said, "Today is a new day; it's a chance to go up. That's the only attitude to take, and whether I express it or somebody else expresses it, that is what needs to be done."

*

Catcher Jesus Flores, on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder contusion, will take the first step toward his return at the end of the weekend, when he heads down to Washington's spring training facility in Viera, Fla. Flores, who has not played since May 9, could resume swinging by Monday.

*

A little in-the-community note. Tomorrow, the Nats' Dream Foundation will host its inaugural NatsTown Green-Up event, an Anacostia clean-up day that aims to bring attention to the works of the Dream Foundation and its partner, the Earth Conservation Corps. For more information, check out this link.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 21, 2009; 7:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Stammen Starts Strong

Comments

did manny stop talking after delivering 75-percent of his message so he could feel good afterwards and had villone close?

Posted by: surly_w | May 21, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The Nats Dream Foundation Green-up event: get a bunch of people to clean up trash around the Anacostia and take credit for cleaning up the river without getting dirt under a single Lerner fingernail.

My dream would be to toss the whole bullpen in one of the dumpsters.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 21, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Manny Acta is clueless.

Posted by: bupbups | May 21, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I just checked in with this post and saw the first three comments. What is the problem with you people???

Posted by: artvandelay2 | May 21, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Chico, friendly note that your "link" in the last paragraph is inactive.

Posted by: faNATic | May 21, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

sorry, link is fixed.

Posted by: chicoharlan | May 21, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Okey-dokey - Stammen has been staked to a 2-run lead & had his 1st ML at-bat; Let's see ow it goes from here.

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

@artvan:

The sun's going down, so the Trolls & Cranks are coming out.

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

9 in a row for Stammen. Nice start.

We're gonna needs some runs though.

Posted by: FloresFan | May 21, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

*need some more runs*

Posted by: FloresFan | May 21, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Stammen 1st time through lineup - 9 batters faced, 34 pitches, 24 strikes, 8 balls. So far, so good.

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else get the feeling that-with the rotation now bolstered by Detwiler and Stammen-the Nationals are going to suddenly get dominant starting pitching while at the same time the offense goes in the tank? Suddenly, those 9-8 losses will be 3-2.

Nothing would surprise me anymore ......

Posted by: rushfari | May 21, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Are you guys seeing what I'm seeing? I keep rubbing my eyes, shaking my head, rubbing my eyes.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | May 21, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Forget Detwiler. Stammen definitely appears to be a difference maker. Match him up with Lannan and at least you have addressed some of the starting pitcher issues: Martis, Stammen, Lannan, and Zimmerman should do for now. If Detwiler needs more seasoning bring up the guy natsfan denigrates from Syracuse. If he throws strikes and gets people out as he has been with another win last night ... then WTF bring him up.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah ... now you use Bergmann in long relief and as a spot starter. Send Hanrahan back down for more seasoning ... apparently pitching in Syracuse seems to help. Bring up Clippard and McDougal. Get rid of Tavarez and Beimel.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Someone please put a muzzle on Carpenter!!

Posted by: curz | May 21, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"Does anyone else get the feeling that-with the rotation now bolstered by Detwiler and Stammen-the Nationals are going to suddenly get dominant starting pitching while at the same time the offense goes in the tank? Suddenly, those 9-8 losses will be 3-2."

Nah, only on the days when John Lannan starts.

Posted by: Section506 | May 21, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know ... Stammen no-hitter after 4. No walks. A shot in the arm for the pitching staff perhaps?

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The way this game is going ... could see Mssr. Bard playing more and Nieves playing less.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Bard drives in a run to drive home that point.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Easy, rushfari - The current "kiddie corps" that the Nationals have as starters is still greatly unproven; I personally like the moves, but the next few starts will tell the tale.
As far as the offense going "in the tank", that's being partially driven by Dunn going into one of his Pedro Cerrano funks (can't read a breaking ball) - he'll have three or four of those stretches every year. The team will be deadly when he's seeing the ball well & hitting, but has a serious hole when he's in his current mode at the plate.

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Dammit, periculum!

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

There it is....Acta is no different in the clubhouse than he is with the media.....that is what I have been saying for going on two years now....How did I know...the product tells you all you need to know.

Posted by: JayBeee | May 21, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I think I would wait to say this until I see Bard try to catch Cabrera out of the bullpen. Hopefully this will not happen tonight.

--
The way this game is going ... could see Mssr. Bard playing more and Nieves playing less.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 21, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Not worried about Cabrera. He is on his way out ... that experiment is just about over. Especially when a guy comes up from Syracuse and throws a 1 hitter after 5. Something that Strasberg will probably be able to do. They do need left handers. Me thinks they should revert Hanrahan to a starting pitcher in SYR. Mebbe they can draft a closer as they did with Cordero.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

1 hitter after six. Still no walks. 67 pitches. Complete game?

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Its not me ... talk to Dunn that double may have been catchable.

Posted by: periculum | May 21, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Stammen 1st time through lineup - 9 batters faced, 34 pitches, (24 strikes, 10 balls), 3IP, no hits, no runs.
2nd time through lineup - 9 batters, 61 pitches total, (41 strikes, 20 balls), 5.2IP, 1hit, 1run.
Still looking good...

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see some smart Nats fans in the crowd, allowing Ryan to catch that ball. Same thing happened Tuesday with NJ.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 21, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

@periculum:

You said (typed) the words - You broke one of the sacred rules of baseball (Don't mention a no-hitter when it's in play; talk around it, but don't say the phrase). It's ALL on you.

Then you go & talk about no walks - You're a curse, a plague upon our house. Begone, BEGONE, I SAY!

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Crap. We need the bats of Dukes and Jesus.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | May 21, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

poor kid...it all happened so fast.

Posted by: natteringnabob | May 21, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Pie-Rats figured him out in the 3rd go-round; 85 pitches, (57 strikes, 28 balls), 6.1IP, 4 hits, 4 runs.

My joy in having Stammen throwing a very good game through six is mitigated by the top of the seventh. Oh, well.

Posted by: BinM | May 21, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

It was a very good start. What they figured out was that he was throwing a huge amount of strikes -- too many for the majors.

That's not a bad thing, it's something he'll learn to avoid. And with that location, he'll have some quality balls. It's also a pleasant problem to have.

Posted by: Section506 | May 21, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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