CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 30: Home plate umpire Paul Emmel #50 talks with manager Manny Acta #11 and pitching coach Ruben Niebla #33 of the Cleveland Indians after Emmel ejected Niebla during the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Progressive Field on August 30, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
There isn't much left to talk about regarding this Hindenburg of a season, so much of the focus is now on the manager. Should Manny Acta be fired? Should we care who's in charge of this disaster? Are they responsible in any way?
It is, of course, bizarre to focus so much on the manager when it is the general manager who provides the tools with which the manager works. But never mind. The spotlight is on Acta for the moment, who conceded after this game that he has never been through a stretch of pure suckitude like this anywhere -- not in Washington, nor the minors, nor, presumably, at mini golf.
But it's hard to blame Acta for the horror show that has become Justin Masterson's season. Against the Athletics, Masterson was hammered once again. I'd compile more numbers to illustrate what a mess he is, but whatever. I'm tired, the baby is crying, and you already know this.
Jason Kipnis has shown some pep of late, which is nice, as far as it goes. A home run gives him two on the month and 13 on the season. Perhaps this sounds optimistic, but it's not unrealistic to view this season as vitally important in Kipnis' blossoming career, and that includes the mid-season malaise. Young players have to learn to pace themselves for a seemingly interminable campaign.
Shin Soo Choo drove in three meaningless runs, but no doubt Scott Boras will convert each RBI into about a dozen million dollars. So there's that. Strangely, Lou Marson drove in a run as well. His month-by-month OPS looks like this: 495, 500, 1005, 483, 497. I know, I know, small samples, but man, he had a lot of people really saying silly things for a while there.
So it's a four-game sweep to the surging A's, and good for them. And as we ponder Manny Acta's future, it calls to mind the first great film scene of Bill Murray's career, in which he roused an entire room with the rallying cry, "It just doesn't matter!"