Dusty Baker was officially introduced as the new manager of the Washington Nationals on Thursday morning. He said this will be his final managerial job and he's looking to check off the final box on his bucket list -- a world title as manager.
In Dusty Baker, the Nationals get someone who already has worked 20 seasons as a manager in the majors and whose 1,671-1,504 career record ¿ a .526 winning percentage ¿ includes the second-most victories of any active manager.
The side-arming Darren O'Day had his most impressive campaign in what has been a splendid four years in Baltimore. But the Orioles have already shown, with Andrew Miller, they won't pay closer money for a reliever not slated to close games.
When Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced the long-expected dismissal of manager Matt Williams on Monday, he made it clear that the next manager up will almost certainly have previous managerial experience. So, any speculation that the next Nats manager will be Hall of Famer Cal Ripken pretty much ended before it had a chance to begin.
The Washington Nationals were eliminated from the playoffs when the New York Mets clinched the National League East title. Less than 24 hours after that the tension building in the Washington clubhouse was front and center for all to see. While the Orioles' possible struggles may be behind closed doors, it was hard to miss the action in the Nationals dugout on Sept. 27 when pitcher Jonathan Papelbon went for the throat of teammate and MVP candidate Bryce Harper.
One of the side benefits of Adam Jones' persistent back stiffness is that it has allowed the Orioles to take the occasional look at Gerardo Parra in center field, in case there is a future need. Where Parra's future will be, however, is undetermined. But the pending free agent said he has enjoyed his time in Baltimore and would like to come back if there's a fit.
There was some wonderment after Wednesday night's controversial ninth inning at Nationals Park at to why home plate umpire Mark Ripperger did not warn both teams after Jonathan Papelbon threw a pitch close to the head of Manny Machado.
The Orioles reaped their revenge against the Nationals without further incident, sweeping their beltway battle with a 5-4 victory over the Nationals Thursday afternoon in front of an announced 28,456 in the makeup game of Monday¿s rainout.
Manager Buck Showalter has fielded a number of questions from reporters over the past 18 hours about the likelihood that his team will retaliate for the second inside pitch that hit Machado on the shoulder and led to Papelbon¿s ejection from the game.
Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon quickly became Orioles Enemy No. 1 on Wednesday night when he threw a fastball near Manny Machado¿s head and then bounced another one off his shoulder in the ninth inning of the Orioles¿ 4-3 victory at Nationals Park, but it wasn¿t like he was beloved figure in Baltimore to begin with.
Both dugouts emptied Wednesday night in the ninth inning of the Orioles' 4-3 comeback win when third baseman Manny Machado was hit on the left shoulder by a Jonathan Papelbon 93-mph fastball after Machado had hit a go-ahead two-run homer in his previous at-bat.
It was nearly eight years ago to the day when Andy MacPhail stood behind a podium and outlined his immediate plans to fix a once-proud baseball organization that was in a 10-year tailspin. This past week, MacPhail, sounding every bit as assured, vowed to do those same three things as he accepted another significant challenge: resurrecting the Philadelphia Phillies, an organization in steep decline.
A year ago Friday, Robert Andino etched his name into Orioles lore with a ninth-inning sinking liner to left that escaped the glove of Boston¿s Carl Crawford, plated Nolan Reimold with the game-winner, extinguished the Red Sox¿s playoff hopes and helped send that franchise into an unforeseen spiral.
If there's anything fans will remember about the eighth inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game in Kansas City, it'll probably be seeing flamethrowers Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman light up the radar gun one after the other for the National League.
When Jake Arrieta was named the Orioles' Opening Day starter this season, he talked about the magnitude of the honor and the leadership responsibility it carried. But the 26-year-old right-hander has looked lost for much of the season.