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Nationals held players-only meeting after being swept by Red Sox

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On Wednesday, the Nationals suffered a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox, who completed a series sweep and handed the Nats their fifth consecutive loss. The 42-43 Nats have also lost 17 of their last 22 games. The preseason favorites to win the NL East are now seven games behind the Braves and 5.5 behind the second-place Phillies.

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that a handful of veterans on the Nats’ roster called a players-only meeting. Max Scherzer made a speech. Outfielder Adam Eaton said, “I think anytime Max holds the meeting or holds court, there’s going to be some yelling. … In baseball, you don’t have that type of intensity all the time, so it’s a little different. I think guys gravitate towards that. I think everybody has a kind of intensity bone in their body, and sometimes things need to be said in that fashion.”

The Nationals’ schedule going forward looks a lot better, though. They open a four-game series with the Marlins tonight, then will also play games against the Pirates, Mets, and another four-game set with the Marlins. August will feature games against the Mets, Reds, and Marlins.

Jeremy Hellickson will get the start tonight against the Marlins in an attempt to stop the Nationals’ skid and turn things around.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.