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Eighth Inning, Still Scoreless

We have a little rain here and no runs. In the last inning, some gray clouds rolled over Osceola County Stadium, but the Kissimmee faithful aren't going anywhere. (Well, at least they're not leaving; many have scattered to the upper rows, protected by an overhang.)

Anyway, it's 0-0 in the eighth. Both the Nats and Astros, within the last two innings, have had pinch runners erased by pick-offs. The Astros and Nats have combined for just seven hits. At one point, 11 Washington batters were retired in a row by Houston pitchers Brian Moehler and Jeff Fulchino.

Nats starter John Lannan scattered four hits in six innings, and three times finished innings with double plays. He looked about as sharp as one can hope for an Opening Day starter. For all the Jordan Zimmermann love here -- and it's deserved -- let's not forget that Lannan has not allowed a run now in 12 spring training innings.

His line today: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.

Wil Ledezma is now pitching for the Nats.

Update -- Ledezma just got out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the eighth (created by two hits, one walk) by striking out J.R. Towles looking. So, we go to the ninth...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 22, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
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Next: Nats Lose 1-0 (And Other Notes)


Bourne on thrid. 1 out. Reached on E4. Zeke Zinicola pitching.

Posted by: thom202 | March 22, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Diving stop at 2B but Bourne scores. Astros win 1-0 in bottom of the ninth.

Posted by: thom202 | March 22, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, thom. Sounds like Lannan had a good start, at any rate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 22, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The Astro's radio announcers seemed impressed with Lannan. Lots of double play grounders though but he's been solid in other games.

Posted by: thom202 | March 22, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Strasburg, should he sign, would be up immediately. I've seen a lot of folks talk about him in the rotation whenever he signs. Is it more likely that he would be put in the bullpen for the remainder of the season, and then have a spot in the rotation next year? Or does he go to the rotation immediately?

I'd love to see Lannan, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Martis and Olsen as a rotation.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | March 22, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 22, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Lannan, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Martis and Olsen as a rotation.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | March 22, 2009 3:43 PM

And so would we all, and we will come August, unless Boras cements his posturing, or heaven forbid Strasburg gets hurt.

Posted by: BinM | March 22, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

So sorry that I missed out on the fun in the last post. The fact that Chico would say some of that stuff to the Washingtonian is pretty incredbible to me. The statements themselves, however, don't surprise me in the least. The fact that Chico doesn't like sports has been apparent throughout his coverage of the Nats, and has been a big problem in my view. He doesn't know baseball, doesn't love it. Is he still trying to figure out why baserunners hold batting gloves in their hands? Chico lacks that ingrained appreciation for and understanding of the game that a good beat writer should have.

The bigger shocker to me is how The Post hired a guy like that to take over the Nats beat. It is extremely rare for a big-city paper to hire a guy to cover baseball who has never had a baseball beat before. Barry covered the minor leagues. Look what Marc Carig is doing now--he is covering the Yankees for a second-tier paper; the next step for him will undoubtedly be a beat covering an MLB team for the city's major paper. That's the way it usually works. The Post, meanwhile, hires a guy who knows nothing about baseball, has never covered it before, and who "doesn't like sports." Some commitment, there. Thanks, Emilio.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 22, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This quote still blows me away. Any response Chico?

From the Washingtonian article, titled "Harlan Would Rather Write About the Real Hot Dogs"

Chico Harlan - "I don't like sports, I'm embarrassed that I cover them. I can't wait to stop. It's a means to an end and a paycheck."

Posted by: thom202 | March 22, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Carrying backward:

I just read Harry Jaffe's April 2009 Washingtonian Post Watch piece (plus or minus 500 words, I'd say). I wanted to read the entire piece, with the quote in context, before commenting.

In addition to NatsNut's comments, I'd note that Jaffe opines (1) that Harlan's distance from the team might make for tough reporting on the team and (2) that such reporting is sometimes missing from Post coverage of local teams. Jaffe goes on to comment on Boswell in the context of Nats coverage.

To counterbalance the "control freak" comment about Kasten that was quoted in a prior post, Chico also stated that if he owned a sports team, he would want Stan involved.

It's worth picking up a copy of the magazine (or taking a gander at the local library's copy, if they have one) to get the rest of the story, IMO. (Wonder whether the folks at Washingtonian are happy that NJ could be driving up their sales today?)

I would think that the phrasing of the paycheck comment could strike a negative note for those who are out of work and would love to be getting a paycheck at all. Overall, though, I did not find the piece to be alarming. As a hardcore fan, I enjoy reading pieces where the author's love of the game comes through. But I've also come to appreciate aspects of Chico's approach, particularly as displayed in some of his most recent feature stories.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 22, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

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