Let it be said that Manny Acta is holding everyone on his roster accountable to the same rules. When the Nats’ original lineup was posted this morning, Ronnie Belliard was at second base and batting sixth. But the final lineup that has now been submitted shows Anderson Hernandez in his place.
What happened? Belliard was late for batting practice, according to a team source. And since Acta made it clear a couple weeks ago that sort of thing won’t be tolerated after Elijah Dukes reported late, Belliard will take a seat this afternoon.
Another, far bigger name is also not in today’s lineup for the Cardinals: Albert Pujols. No, the reigning MVP was not late to the park. With a quick turnaround from last night’s game and plenty more to come, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa decided this was the right time to give his slugger an afternoon off. Pujols generally gets only about four days a season off, barring injuries, so this is indeed a rare event.
The question now is: Can the Nats take advantage of Pujols’ absence? He was an absolute terror the last two nights, going 5-for-8 with two homers, three RBI, three runs, a walk and a stolen base.
One other note: You may have seen Joe Beimel’s pitching line from his rehab appearance last night with Class A Potomac: 1 ip, 7 h, 5 er. Yeah, that’s right. Beimel, starting the game, retired the first Frederick hitter he faced on a bunt attempt, then allowed seven straight hits, picked off one runner and then retired the No. 9 hitter for a most-bizarre inning. He threw 17 pitches, 15 of them for strikes.
Beimel could only laugh about it afterward, while pointing out he was happy the way he felt and threw.
“Those guys came out hacking and weren’t taking a whole lot of pitches,” he said. “So the line doesn’t look too good, but I felt pretty good. I just had my feelings hurt a little bit, I guess.”
In a strange twist, Beimel will start tomorrow against against Frederick, seeking some revenge of course. When’s the last time a pitcher started two games in the same series?
“I don’t know,” Beimel said. “I think Cy Young.”