Manny Acta is fired

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We knew this was going to happen, we just thought it was going to happen sooner:

In the middle of his third season as manager, Manny Acta has been
fired by the Washington Nationals, a source with knowledge of the
situation said tonight. Asked in an e-mail about his job status, Acta
replied, simply, “Thanks for everything.” Acta’s Nationals made it to
the all-star break with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors, finishing
with six losses in their last seven games. During the first half,
Acta’s job status was the subject of much debate, and those in and out
of the organization questioned whether his unfailingly patient approach
matched the needs of a sloppy, error-prone team.

Overall, this is just the latest of several de-Bowdenification moves GM
Mike Rizzo has made with this team. It’s a good move. Acta, for all of
his potential, has not seemed at all inspired in the past few months
and some fresh air is needed. And now is as good a time as any to do
it, mostly because his replacement — who, if previous speculation is
accurate, could be bench coach Jim Riggleman, on an interim basis —
will have a day or two to get his head about him before taking over.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.