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ACTA REMAINS AS THE NATIONALS ENTER THE LIONS DEN

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Manny Acta survived the Tampa Bay series and now will travel with the Nationals (16-45) as they head to New York to meet the Yankees  (36-27) in the new Yankee Stadium.

Acta’s employment status with the Nationals is rather surprising given the Saturday report from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the skipper would lose his job within the next several days. Acta has lost all his games since, and even survived a day off after a road trip to Tampa.

Now he will lead his last place Nationals, armed with the worst pitching in baseball, into what has quickly become one of the best hitters parks in the game.

This could get ugly folks.

The Yankees are currently two games out of first place in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox. However the club is bouncing back from a very rough April and early May in which they were forced to play without their star third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Before Rodriguez’s return, the Yankees put up a 16-15 record, a disappointing performance considering the teams’ offseason spending spree. Since his return they have put up a 20-12 record, launching them into contention for the top of the AL East, and the second record in baseball.

The Rodriguez effect is coming out not just in the teams victories but in the his teammates individual performances.

Mark Teixiera
March and April: .200/.367/.371, 3 HR, 10 RBI
May: .330/.391/.748, 13 HR, 34 RBI

Derek Jeter
March and April: .287/.350/.457, 4 HR, 12 RBI
May: .321/.397/.473, 3 HR, 13 RBI

Surprising however is despite the apparent boost provided by Rodriguez’s return, the controversial slugger is not producing at his normal rate. Through 35 games he is batting .230/.386/.500 with nine homers and 26 RBI. For whatever reason, despite Rodriguez’s struggles, the Yankees appear to be playing better with him in the line up.

Rodriguez’s struggles are not that surprising given the star’s offseason. Before the team got to camp it was leaked that the slugger had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs during an anonymous 2003 survey of Major League Players.

After his admittance of the steroid use, and the media circus which accompanied it, Rodriguez was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right hip to remove a cyst. The injury put him out for all of spring training and through April.

Today’s Pitching Matchup

Shairon Martis (5-1, 5.04) vs. CC Sabathia (5-4, 3.68)

Shairon Martis continues to baffle people; scouts that is, not batters. The thing about Martis is, he has no real out pitch, yet at the age of 22 he is a junkballing right hander. He has an ERA over 5, yet has a 5-1 record and puts out performances like he did Wednesday against the Reds. He walks more batters than he strikes out, he lets up lots of fly balls, yet he tends not to lose ball games. In his last 2 starts he has a 2.25 ERA and a .154 batting average against him.

Sabathhia had a rough start in the Yankee pin stripes, going 1-2 in April with a 4.73 ERA. He was able to rebound however in May, where he went 4-1, posted a 2.5 ERA and even recorded a shut out.

Sabathia bounced back though in June, his two starts this season have earned him no wins and a 4.80 ERA. 

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