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QotD: Manny Acta on Masterson’s Mastery

Justin Masterson

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Justin Masterson pitched six innings against the Mariners today, allowing only one hit and no runs, but six walks. He did so despite throwing more balls [51] than strikes [49], a distinction that Manny Acta couldn’t help but marvel at:

This is the greatest game ever. When you think you’ve seen it all, you continue to see new things. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy [Masterson] go six scoreless, give up one hit, and throw more balls than strikes.

Funny, because the last time it happened in the major leagues, Jerome Williams was the pitcher and one Manuel Elias Acta was managing just his 24th game for the Nationals.

Perhaps he can be excused for his lapse in memory. The team had already lost 15 of 23 games in the young season behind a forgettable rotation of John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann, and Williams.

For Williams, a former first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants, it would be his next-to last big league start.

He had thrown only 80 pitches through six innings, allowing just four walks and a single, before coming to bat with one out in the bottom of the sixth. From ESPN’s game recap:

Williams hit a shot to left field and trotted out of the batter’s box, admiring the trajectory and smiling, as if to say, “Hey! That’s my first big league homer!” But the ball hit the base of the wall, and Williams wound up with a single.

He sprained his ankle on that swing, forcing him to the 15-day disabled list. In his next start on May 15, he lasted only two innings in a battering by the Braves before returning to the DL.

The Nationals released Williams later that year. Despite bouncing from the Twins to the Dodgers to the A’s in subsequent seasons, he has not appeared in another major league game.


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