"I see them play hard every single day. Every day, they play hard," Acta said. "I couldn't care less what anybody up [in the broadcast] booth says -- on radio or on TV. I can't listen to them, because I manage the team. Everybody has a right to an opinion. That's why I moved to this beautiful country."
Reliever Joe Beimel agreed that much of the blame should be placed on the players. He said it's up to the players to get better on the field.
"I think everyone in this clubhouse should be embarrassed by the way we play and the way we lose games," Beimel said after Friday's 6-5 loss to the Astros on Friday. "We find a way all the time. It's sickening. It's to the point where it's hard to take. We just have to get better."
Asked if a player in the clubhouse should tell his teammates it's time step up, Beimel said, "That's on yourself. The group as a whole needs to look in the mirror and figure out what he needs to do get better -- myself included."
The Nationals will have a chance to turn things around as they face Astros on Saturday evening at Minute Maid Park.
HOU: LHP Mike Hampton (5-5, 4.16 ERA)
WSH: RHP Craig Stammen (1-4, 4.88 ERA)
Despite pitching in a hitter's park such as Coors Field, Stammen more than held his own his last time out as he used his sinker to hold the Rockies to one run in a career-high seven innings. Unfortunately, he was the hard-luck loser as he was outpitched by All-Star Jason Marquis in a 1-0 loss. Stammen has only two quality starts in nine outings this season, but both have come in his last four starts. As a result, he has lowered his ERA by almost a full run (from 5.86 on June 12).
Hampton was masterful once again against the Pirates his last time out. In his fourth start of year against Pittsburgh, he yielded just one run on three hits and struck out three over seven innings, improving to 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA vs. the Bucs this season. Hampton has faced the Washington franchise 18 times in his career, the majority of his appearances coming when the organization was in Montreal. Since their move to the nation's capital in 2005, Hampton is 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts against them. His last start against the Nationals came last year. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and struck out five over seven innings.
Catcher Jesus Flores is having a CT scan on his right shoulder next week. Flores hasn't played in a game since May because of a stress fracture inside his shoulder. Surgery is not required, but the team didn't rule out Flores missing the rest of the season. ... Adam Dunn leads the Nationals with 10 game-winning RBIs. ... The Nationals are 16-31 when they homer in a game.
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Sunday: Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann, 3-3, 4.52) at Astros (Brian Moehler, 5-5, 5.52), 2:05 p.m. ET