The Nationals have baseball's worst record, so it's not surprising that questions are starting to be asked about manager Manny Acta's job security.
"The manager is judged by how the players react," acting general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post. "The effort level is there. The respect level is there. The evaluation process continues for everybody, including the staff, including the players ... We'll evaluate it and changes are going to be made."
Rizzo made those comments before pitching coach Randy St. Claire was fired. All indications are that nobody blames Acta for the team's woes. At the same time, general manager Jim Bowden resigned under pressure this spring. The roster had been churned. Now St. Claire is gone.
If things don't turn around, you have to wonder how long it will be until Acta is sacrificed.
The Mets have had a freakish series of injuries and illnesses and even a swine-flu scare. Jerry Manuel could hardly believe it when shortstop Ramon Martinez dislocated his finger sliding home on Tuesday night and was subsequently added to the team's lengthy disabled list.
"We lose a backup to a backup. We're getting pretty thin," the manager noted.
The Mets lost three straight to the Pirates. Given all the regulars who are sidelined or playing hurt, that's not surprising. Infielder Alex Cora doesn't want to hear about it.
"To win a World Series championship, you need more than 25 guys," he said. "Whoever is making excuses because guys are hurt or whatever, they don't belong in this clubhouse."
Not much has gone right for the Fish since their 11-1 start. And one of their problems has been an ability to win close games.
Going into last night, Florida had won just six of its last 21 games decided by two runs or less.
Atlanta was willing to trade Charlie Morton (7-2, 2.51 at Triple A Gwinnett), outfielder Gorkys Hernandez (.316 at Double A Mississippi) and pitcher Jeff Locke because the outfielder they got from Pittsburgh, Nate McLouth, is signed through 2012.
"This is a guy who's going to be here 4 years. That makes all the difference in the world," general manager Frank Wren said.