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:

After
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
tomorrow.

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.

While
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.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.