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The Mets Feel Like The Mets

Especially early in the year, John Lannan will have a lot of showdowns like this, drawing the opposing team's ace. Friday night, in Washington's 4-1 exhibition loss against the Mets at Traditional Field, Lannan met a fellow Opening Day starter he couldn't quite match.

While Lannan turned in his latest quality start -- an efficient six-inning, three-run outing that continues a strong spring (1.50 ERA) -- Santana operated from a different stratosphere. The Mets' left-hander lasted seven innings, retiring the final ten. He breezed through one inning in seven pitches, another inning in six. Sixty-one of his 75 pitches were strikes.

Lannan later said the game had a regular season feel to it. The Mets used their full lineup, with David Wright, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran forming the backbone. Lannan, too, felt in midseason form. Though here he allowed his first runs of the year, Lannan said, "this is the best I've felt all spring."

Lannan was in a good mood after that. A quick Q&A.

Q: How did you feel?

I felt good. It was good to be out there in a night game. This is the best I've felt all spring, and it's getting closer to Opening Day, so... I got into some jams. The guys behind me made some great plays. All my pitches were working. I only threw one curveball, but change-up felt good, fastball, I was able to locate it, and -- did I say change-up already? My slider was working, too.

Q: Against Santana, at night, did this almost feel like Opening Day?

I don't know how Opening Day is gonna feel, but it felt like I was facing the Mets. And I was facing the Mets. So that's what -- it felt like I was facing the Mets. That is the quote of the year.

Q: You're gonna face a lot of aces, and Santana will be one of them. What is it like for you to face a team's top pitcher?

Gotta keep the team in the ballgame, that's it. Because you know they're going to go out there and -- I mean, they're great pitchers, and they've been letting up one run a game for years. So I know I have to go out there, keep the team in the ballgame and not do too much. I have confidence in my teammates to score some runs, and I'm just going to do my job.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 27, 2009; 9:50 PM ET
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Next: Martis, Zimmermann Make Rotation; Pena Placed On Waivers


That was deep.

Posted by: tommy11599 | March 27, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

So, the game was against the Mets, right? Just checking.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 27, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

It's a long season, Cheeks. Don't peak too soon.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 27, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty certain you should also mention that Lastings was the only Nats starting position player to start.

Posted by: JDB1 | March 27, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Considering the Nats had the traveling squad, or mostly the B team tonight, not a bad showing.

Posted by: cokedispatch | March 27, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Lannan is a blue collar player and I love it. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite Nats.

In honor of the NCAA tourny I'll do my best Bill Raftery: "Go get'em Big Fella!! Onions!!"

Posted by: Section505203 | March 27, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Lannan clearly outdueled Santana. Lannan faced the Mets opening day line up. Santana faced the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA). Zim,Dunn, Johnson, Dukes, Harris, Guzman, all MIA. Lannan is second year majors against Santana a nine year veteran. Put Santana in a Nats uniform and Lannan in a Mets uniform and Lannan comes out way ahead of Santana.
Time for a new headline. "Lannan Faces The Mets Santana Faces the Chiefs (AAA)."

Posted by: lawrjoe | March 27, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

> Lannan clearly outdueled Santana

Jeez, talk about being a homer. Three runs in 6 innings is nice, not spectacular. Any 4.50 ERA pitchers in Cooperstown? Did you miss this part?:

> The Mets' left-hander lasted seven innings, retiring the final ten. He breezed through one inning in seven pitches, another inning in six. Sixty-one of his 75 pitches were strikes.

I think we know who clearly outpitched who here, sorry. And if this was the Mets' midseason lineup, it was one of the first chances they've had to play together this spring, so give it up.

Posted by: jmy9595 | March 28, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Looks to me like Lannan and the team performed respectably, given that it was the B lineup against the Mets' A lineup - "outdueling" seems like the wrong word in any case.

505/203 (from the prior posts) you will be interested to know that Tank McNamara once described NASCAR as the quintessential American sport - "loud, pointless, and consumes fossil fuel".

Posted by: Traveler8 | March 28, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

After reading Chico's story on the outfield I have to ask the question that Chico missed asking Acta........Why not put Dukes in CF and trade Milledge or send him to AAA to learn the game. Learn to be a lead off man and a CF. That is what is best for the Team and what is best for Milledge.

OF should be Dunn in LF, Dukes in CF, Willingham in RF and Kearns filling in RF and CF with Harris getting some AB's in CF and LF.....Why is that not the best for the Nats?

Giving Milledge CF and Lead off before he earns it smells so much like Lo Duca and Lopez, Estrada moves to me.......Killed the team last year.....can Acta make the decisions that need to be made? Will Rizzo do it for him?

Time for Acta to go....good managers do what is best for the team and the that what is happening with giving Milledge the job again before he shows he can do it?

Posted by: JayBeee | March 28, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Fire Acta for not sending Milledge to the minors? Thought I'd heard it all...

Posted by: patrick15 | March 28, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

... there's certainly no shame at all losing to santana, no matter what lineup Manny started.

... all in all, I'm getting a little sick of ST; bring on the real thing.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 28, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I think JayBee raises a valid question and it deserves an answer. I think Dukes looks like the better center fielder. JayBee's proposed outfield looks better than the one laid out by Acta.

Posted by: mjames0 | March 28, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Fire Acta is what is going to happen at the end of the year unless this team reaches it potential. My OF is much better in the field and at the plate. Acta has emotional ties to players and Rizzo will remember that if the team underachieves yet again.

Sending Milledge to AAA to pad his stats will make him a tradable commodity. Right now no other team wants Milledge as their CF/Lead Off hitter…..why does Acta?

Posted by: JayBeee | March 28, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jaybee about the OF. Dunn-Dukes-Willingham, with Kearns and Harris in reserve.
I feel like Millege is way overhyped. If we could unload him and get a decent pitcher, I'd be ecstatic.

Posted by: usmc53 | March 28, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm with JayBee too. Milledge is the Zsa Zsa Gabor of baseball -- he's famous for being famous but has never done anything and no one can identify any specifics about why he's considered to be a good prospect.

He does not have baseball instincts. He still breaks the wrong way on routine fly balls. He does not position himself properly making catches so that he can make a good throw without hesitation. He does not read and react to situations at the plate properly -- the lame bunt attempt on the TV game last week was a good example of that. I was at spring training for over two weeks, and Milledge got thrown out almost every time he attempted a stolen base (Chico, do you have stats of Milledge's success rate of stealing in spring training? I'm guessing its about at 15 percent success rate.) His fielding, hitting and base running are all sub par.

I would like JayBee's question asked of Manny as well. Exactly what does Manny see in Milledge that merits him being handed a starting position over Dukes, Dunn, Kearns or Willingham?

Posted by: raymitten | March 28, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

There's a new post. Prepare yourselves, though -- it's not about how bad Lastings Milledge is.

Posted by: Scooter_ | March 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Concerns re. Milledge's play aside, I don't understand exactly how this situation compares to the issue of having played a number of high-priced veterans last year in order to showcase them.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 28, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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