Wednesday’s match-up between the Braves and Nationals just reached its midpoint but Ronald Acuña, Jr. has already had himself one heck of a night. After leading off the top of the third inning with a single, Nationals starter Tommy Milone had Acuña dead to rights on a pickoff throw to first base. Acuña darted for second base and the throw from first baseman Matt Adams was off the mark, giving Acuña his seventh stolen base of the season.
In the top of the fourth, Acuña padded the Braves’ lead to 7-1 with a two-run home run to straightaway center field. Statcast measured that one at 452 feet.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Acuña robbed Adams of a solo home run to center field.
Acuña, a former top prospect, is enjoying a solid rookie season. As of this writing, including tonight’s action, Acuña is batting .266/.325/.494 with 12 home runs, 30 RBI, and 37 runs scored in 255 plate appearances.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that former Yankees manager Joe Girardi took himself out of the running for the Reds’ and Rangers’ managerial openings. The “industry speculation” is that Girardi is waiting a year for a potential opening to manage the Cubs.
Current Cubs manager Joe Maddon has one more year left on his contract. While the Cubs have played quite well under his tenure, the front office and Maddon haven’t had any discussions about an extension, which means 2019 might be his final year with the club. Under Maddon’s leadership since 2015, the Cubs won the championship in 2016 and compiled a 387-261 (.597) record during the regular season.
Girardi, 54, spent his first four seasons in the majors with the Cubs and another three towards the end of his career. He managed the Marlins for one year in 2006, then managed the Yankees from 2008-17, leading them to a World Series in ’09 and an overall regular season record of 910-710 (.562).