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8/31/07 Travel Day Musings, Thoughts or Notes, Which Are All Really The Same Thing...Vol.2

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     So what started out as a promising road trip with the Washington Nationals taking three of four from the Astros in Houston, ended with the Nationals (3-7) on the trip, their once-vaunted bullpen no longer able to hold a lead and the baseball press just then, for some reason, beginning to take notice of what Manny Acta and his team have accomplished so far this season.

     It wasn't all bad news on the road. Tim Redding, Joel Hanrahan and John Lannan were all impressive on the mound in Minute Maid Park in the Nationals three wins, in fact Redding looked untouchable in Houston before getting hit hard in Colorado, and Jason Bergmann looked good in his return in LA.

     The Nationals offense clicked in Houston and Colorado, plating 27 runs in the four game set with the Astros, and scoring 11 more runs in the three games at Coors Field. Ryan Church in particular had a good road trip, going 8 for 25 with a home run and 2 doubles, his 36th and 37th doubles of the season to place him 5th amongst NL batters.

     But what helped the Nationals bats in Colorado also helped the Rockies. Chad Cordero came on in a non-save situation, a (5-1) Nationals lead in the first game, and it's been fairly well established that if Cordero warms up, he pitches, Manny Acta has done that all year, but after surrendering 5 runs on four hits and a walk without recording an out, and getting yanked for Jon Rauch, it might be time to reconsider the Manager's stance. Or was it just the Mile-High air?

     Personally, I never like bringing in a closer when there's no pressure on. Most closers seem to thrive on the typical end-game scenario they're used to and i've seen far too many come on with a big lead that dwindles before they can even get break a sweat.

     Then again, I'm no Manager, I just watch games, and Manny Acta knows what he's doing, and the press corps is starting to take notice of his work. YahooSports writer Tim Brown had a featured article on the website espousing Acta's accomplishments. Buster Olney's blog pointed me to an article by Washington Times baseball writer Mark Zuckerman, who claims Manny Acta should be considered in the running for Manager of the Year, though he admits Acta probably won't be. Buster Olney, on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, also said, to paraphrase, "The Nationals aren't as bad as you think!" High praise indeed.

     Manny Acta does deserve it though, and everyone who swore that the Nationals would drop 100 games this season had better hope that they go (4-24) over the last month of the season. Nothing like playing the spoiler, and those Mets look like they need to be taken down a peg...

Acta Articles...

Yahoo sports...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AjcvDF3GHkbhuqxeIOCBgcgRvLYF?slug=ti-acta082807&prov=yhoo& amp;type=lgns

Mark Zuckerman in the Washington Times...

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070827/SPORTS02/108270073/1005/SPORTS

Nationals still 58-76.