Who was wrong about the plans to fire Manny Acta?

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You may have noticed that, contrary to the reports that circulated last weekend,
Manny Acta still has a job. Clearly, then, those who reported his
imminent dismissal are eating crow today, right? Not on your life. Via D.C. Sports Bog, here’s Ken Rosenthal on his report:

“If my story was wrong, then the Nationals should simply say Manny
Acta is our manager for the rest of our season. If what I wrote was
indeed something that had no basis, as Mike Rizzo suggested, well, make
him your manager for the rest of the year. If the story is right,
however, and of course I believe it was, then the Nationals should fire
him today, tomorrow, whenever. Just leaving him dangling like this is
not fair to Manny, not fair really to the team itself. So what I’m
saying is, one way or the other, they need to make a decision.”

Rosenthal is saying he was right and, though he says he really doesn’t
know, thinks that the Nats held off on doing what they had planned to
do (i.e. fire Acta) because they didn’t want to appear as through they
were pressured by the media. Based on some of the Nats’ previous moves
and what people whisper about Nats’ ownership, I’m totally willing to
buy this. Except it wasn’t media pressure that set this all off. It was
someone in the Nats’ front office leaking their plans about Acta. I’m
not saying that the media hasn’t forced this kind of thing in the past,
but Ken Rosenthal breathes tips. He doesn’t go after managers for a
living, and I’m inclined to think that Rizzo’s statement that there was
“no basis” for this report is bunk.

Angel Pagan body-slammed a fan on the field

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Angel Pagan #16 of the San Francisco Giants argues with umpire Jerry Meals #41 after a called third strike during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park on September 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Don’t interrupt Angel Pagan in the middle of a wild card race. Better yet, don’t interrupt him at all.

A fan learned that the hard way during Friday’s Giants-Dodgers game. In the fourth inning, a group of fans ran onto the field with white flowers in their hands, presumably to hand to Giants players. According to eyewitness accounts, one player was reprimanded by San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, while Buster Posey fended off another.

Angel Pagan, however, took more extreme and inventive measures.

On-field security started closing in on the fan as he approached Pagan, but didn’t appear to pick up the pace until the outfielder dropped him on the field.

Vin Scully, who was wrapping up the third-to-last game of his career, provided play-by-play of the incident.

A couple of kids, trying to steal a moment, slow down the game, running on the field and just taking a big moment on the big stage. They’ve got one of them in right field, and the other one is nailed down by Pagan in left field. And the crowd loved that! They went up to do something with Angel Pagan, but [Pagan] grabbed him and slammed him to the ground, and they’re taking him off the field. […] Doesn’t that bring you back to the ’60s, and the flower children? Oh what, you don’t remember the ’60s? Okay.

The next time you want to send a message to a player, maybe try a tweet (throw in a flower emoji or two if you feel so inclined). Just don’t make a showy display of affection in the middle of a game. It’s bound to go badly, at least where Angel Pagan is concerned.

The Rangers have home-field advantage through postseason

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Thanks to Yu Darvish, the Rangers will enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the American League.

Darvish was outstanding on Friday night, pegging the Rays with a 3-1 loss on three hits, a run, and 12 strikeouts over six innings. It was the crown jewel of performances for the right-hander, who is carrying a 3.53 ERA and 2.3 fWARP in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015.

The Rangers, who have gone 1-5 on days when they’ve offered Darvish fewer than four runs of support, eked out a two-run lead against Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese. Adrian Beltre roped an RBI single in the first inning, followed by a pair of solo shots from Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor in the third and sixth innings.

With the win, the Rangers clinched home-field advantage through the World Series, thanks to a 4-2 win in the All-Star Game back in July. Getting to the World Series will present another challenge entirely, though Darvish figures to stay in the mix with Cole Hamels as the Rangers build toward the Division Series on Thursday. If they advance against the wild card winner in the ALDS, they’ll face either the Indians or the Red Sox in the Championship Series.