|Charlie Manuel and Ron Roenicke are leading major late surges. (Getty Images)|
Let us continue our bi-weekly look at the races for individual awards. It's time for the National League Manager of the Year. Since last time we checked in, a former frontrunner has fallen apart while three managers of unlikely wild-card contenders seriously entered the fray.
Before we dive in, a reminder: These are not necessarily my picks. This is a list based upon historical voting standards. We can't do more than speculate because voters aren't allowed to discuss their votes until the awards are handed out in November.
Dusty Baker, Reds: The Reds went well over a month without perhaps the best player in baseball and actually got better. With Joey Votto now back, the Reds have the chance to bring home the top seed in the National League.
Davey Johnson, Nationals: The Washington Nationals have withstood injuries to Drew Storen and Michael Morse to start the season. They endured the scrutiny of the Stephen Strasburg shutdown. They didn't promote one of their best position players from the minors until a month into the season. Ryan Zimmerman was playing hurt and hitting terribly until about halfway through the season. And the Nationals, who never had a winning season since moving from Montreal, have baseball's best record. I believe this all puts Johnson slightly ahead of Baker.
Bud Black, Padres: On the strength of a 35-22 second half, the Padres have climbed to within 6.5 games of a playoff berth. They were once 22 games under .500. If the miracle was somehow pulled off and the Padres stole a playoff spot, Black would probably steal this award as well.
Charlie Manuel, Phillies: What a difference a few weeks makes. Toward the end of August, we were talking about Manuel maybe being on the hot seat. Now the Phillies have won 15 of their last 19 and are only three games out of a playoff spot.
Ron Roenicke, Brewers: Almost a mirror of what has happened with Manuel, Roenicke has overseen his club to an 18-5 mark since Aug. 19. Like the Phillies, the Brewers are only three games out of a playoff spot after having been completely written off -- and a seller at the trade deadline.
It's worth reiterating, however, that none of these three guys will have a shot at the award unless they make the playoffs. It's a two-horse race between Johnson and Baker right now.
Bruce Bochy, Giants: The Giants are running away with the West and Bochy certainly will get consideration, but he's stuck behind Johnson and Baker, and if any of the three guys in "Stock Rising" make the playoffs, that'll put Bochy fourth in the pecking order.
Clint Hurdle, Pirates: The Pirates are 9-23 since Aug. 8 and now are only two games over .500. They look like they are going to keep the dreaded losing streak intact.