Acta not fired. Yet.

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Nationals’ manager Manny Acta is rumored to be out the door, but no one has told him that yet:

today’s game, the elephant remained in the room. Manny Acta has in fact
boarded the team plane, heading to New York for the upcoming series
against the Yankees. But that begins Tuesday. We’ll see what happens

Not quite the same thing as Omar Minaya allowing
Willie Randolph to get on a plane and fly all the way out to California
before being fired last year, but if the reports of his impending
demise are true, I can’t imagine why the Nats didn’t simply fire Acta
after yesterday’s game. Or, better yet, before yesterday’s game.
There’s no percentage in letting a guy twist in the wind like this. And
he is twisting. Team president Stan Kasten had the chance to dispel this rumor over the weekend and didn’t. When you see that, you can pretty much bank on the fact that the axe is ready to swing.

Kasten himself has a good reputation, there is a strong sense inside
the game that the Nationals’ owners are clueless when it comes to
baseball operations. But don’t let me passing along rumors convince
you: the Nats’ baseball operations over the past few years are evidence
enough that they have no idea what they’re doing. Letting a manager
dangle like this — which sends a negative message to anyone else who
may one day want to manager this club themselves — is yet another
example of the Nats simply getting it wrong.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.