Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stopping the Skid

As we found out earlier in the season in Arizona, firing the manager does not guarantee success, as AJ Hinch crashed and burned in his debut. It helps to have one starter that the players trust and will rally behind. Right now, that guy is Shairon Martis, who has been their rotation stopper. The Nats are 5-2 when Martis starts, and I'll let you break out the abacus to calculate their win percentage when he doesn't. Today, he'll face off against the Pirates and Jeff Karstens; this is about as money-in-the-bank as the Nats will get given their current predicament.

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of watch the first home complete game in Nats Park history pitched by Martis (sad it took nearly 100 home games to get one). He attacked hitters and forced players to put the ball in play. He is capable of getting to the 8th inning because the players and the coaches are comfortable with his approach. They know he is not Pedro Martinez, but he isn't Daniel Cabrera either. He should have no problem attacking a light Pittsburgh lineup tonight. They are below league average in slugging and walks.

Regardless, the Nats have the Orioles coming to town Friday. It will be embarrassing to have the place packed with 75% O's fans. If they are going to make a move on the manager, which is inevitable because they never renewed Acta's contract, the time would be right now. Most smart fans know that most of this mess isn't Manny's fault, but given the situation, he has done little restore a sense of order. The team is playing worse each game and THAT is his fault.

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