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Fifth Inning: Blue Jays 7, Nats 2

[UPDATE, 2:34 p.m.] -- Final line on Lannan: 4-2/3 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 90 pitches, 51 strikes.

[ANOTHER UPDATE] -- Shawn Hill makes the Padres rotation as the No. 5 starter.

---

I warn you, this is ugly. Picture a team composed of players who woke up this morning at around 5 a.m., boarded a bus at 6:30, and then spent the next 2:45 in transit. Picture a team where two guys (Josh Bard and Pete Orr) are both wearing No. 7, which is really strange when one is at bat and one is on base. Picture a near-empty stadium -- a 1980s concrete cookie-cutter -- where people are cracking jokes like, "But one ticket, get a whole section free."

Yes, that'll give you an idea of things.

And John Lannan is not helping. The Opening Day starter, in his "duel" against Halladay, is having an uncharacteristically sloppy outing. He's not throwing strikes. He's already allowed six runs. The Blue Jays have rocked him for six doubles. He's walked three guys. Toronto has scored in each of the last three innings.

We're in the bottom of the fifth now -- and the Nats are trailing, 6-2.

Wait, hold that. It's 7-2 now. Scott Rolen just tagged the first pitch of the inning over the left-center fence. Mind you, last year, in 31 starts, Lannan gave up more than six earned runs exactly once. And even after that one, he didn't have to take a 2:45-hour bus ride back home.

By Chico Harlan  |  April 1, 2009; 2:16 PM ET
 
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Next: Dukes, Lannan, Bard

Comments

sadly, that was the only game i got to see lannan pitch in person last year.

*sigh*

Posted by: sec231 | April 1, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mike R.

I see where Mr. Hill has made the Padres starting rotation. I know, I know it is waste of time even if he pitches well and wins games sometimes because he is going to get hurt eventually. Meanwhile he is better than at least two of our pitchers.

Posted by: mjames0 | April 1, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, we hadn't really had a ST blowout yet, had we? Better to get it out of the way now.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Shawn.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The Bog has a Grim Reaper post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Make that Zimm Reaper. Sigh.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Chico, if you were a finesse pitcher, wouldn't you think having to undergo something like this before you pitched would throw your finesse at least a little bit off whack?

"Picture a team composed of players who woke up this morning at around 5 a.m., boarded a bus at 6:30, and then spent the next 2:45 in transit."

And the thing about finesse is that if it's the least little bit off whack, it's totally whacked. Unlike, say, brute force 98 mph heat.

Rest assured that if this was a playoff game and not a meaningless ST game, the Nats would have sprung for the extra bucks to send their starter to town ahead of time to get a good night's sleep. Or we can only hope, anyway.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 1, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This is actually good for Lannon. Let him get hit around when it doesn't matter so that he won't freak out when it does.

Posted by: Section506 | April 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"I see where Mr. Hill has made the Padres starting rotation."

In related news, the Nationals today announced a ticket lottery for the July 24-26 home stand against the San Diego Padres. Limit of two tickets per person per game. Premium game prices apply. No refunds if Shawn Hill becomes a patient of Dr. James Andrews prior to the series, and no exchanges if he is not scheduled to pitch on the night for which tickets are held. Disgraced former Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 1, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

eh, lannan hasn't been a "freak out" kind of guy since he came up. i don't think this is a positive or a negative, it's just something that happens. even true aces get shelled sometimes.

Posted by: sec231 | April 1, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Hill went 4 innings last time out and is planning to go 5 or 6 innings on Sunday. Hmmm... I believe I was called "delusional" to even suggest Hill might be going 5 innings by the time the spring training ended.

Good thing we didn't keep Hill around to see what happened. Good call Rizzo.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 1, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Re: Shawn Hill; Remind me what it would have cost the Nats to keep him through the end of ST and see if he actually could string together a few good starts? Plus or minus $60K? So he goes out to SD, produces a couple of good starts and will be in the Padres' Opening Day rotation. Given Boz's comments about rushing young pitchers to the majors and the number of innings asked of them, I still think we cut loose Shawn Hill too quickly.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | April 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Since folks are chiming in on ex-pitchers, I came across this (With apologies if it's been posted before. I really, really care about you guys, and hate for you to have to read things twice.:
"Then something wonderful happened this week for Cordero and his new team. “I could get the extension playing catch, but not on the mound. It was more mental than anything,” Cordero said. “There was a little bit of a fear factor, of getting hurt again. I was protecting myself, and it was like I was shot-putting the ball to the catcher. “Before that bullpen session, I felt like I had nothing on the ball. Once I got the extension, it felt like I added 10 mph right there. I had a big smile on my face. Now the challenge is to repeat it.” Cordero was in the bullpen again Tuesday – and his arm was no longer a concern to him. “I threw about 40 pitches, all fastballs, and my velocity was up. I don't throw hard, anyway – 88-89 mph, and sometimes up to 90-91. I'd say I was throwing anywhere from 82 to 84 mph today. “When I first signed here, I was thinking I'd pitch in June, maybe July. I'm way ahead of that now,” Cordero said. “Now I'm looking at mid- to late-May.”"

Posted by: Section138 | April 1, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

What isn't Flores playing today? Is he still on track to be the opening day starter?

Posted by: andersonone2008 | April 1, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"What isn't Flores playing today? Is he still on track to be the opening day starter?"

What isn't Flores playing today? The game. Why isn't Flores playing the game today? Probably because it's hard to make a decision on which of your two backup catchers you're going to keep when they're both sitting on the bench.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Remind me what it would have cost the Nats to keep him through the end of ST and see if he actually could string together a few good starts? Plus or minus $60K?"

More like plus or minus $650k.

But don't let those annoying levels of magnitude get in the way or your rant. Why not just make $65 so that it will really sound outrageous?

Posted by: joebleux | April 1, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

So does two doubles off of Doc Halladay earn you a roster spot? Josh Bard would certainly be an offensive upgrade behind Flores (brutal road trip is why he's not playing). I also think Nieves would go through waivers, but Bard might not.

Wil did throw a guy out though.

As for Shawny... we're still a long way from his first scheduled start to assume he's actually going to be there. I hope he does make it, but let's all not forget who we're talking about here. You can't count on him, which is why he was let go.

God bless him, but I'd still rather have Martis and Cheese.

Posted by: sec307 | April 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Towers said Walter Silva likely will assume the No. 3 spot, which came open with Cha Seung Baek's forearm strain. Kevin Correia probably will be the No. 4 starter, and Shawn Hill, who will face the Brewers on Tuesday night, is the No. 5 starter, barring a crisis-creating performance."

Since Kevin Towers was supposedly one of the GMs who wouldn't talk with Jim Bowden, I guess he didn't call JimBo to get a second opinion on Hill before he made this assignment. Or did he perhaps call JimBo and then do the opposite of what he advised? It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Get your tickets now for July 24-26. Who says the Nationals don't do any marketing?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Season starts next Tuesday right? versus Fla. in Fla. of course and the terror that is Hanley Ramierez need to get my excuse in early with the new manager third one in three months gotta love it when the son takes over the dad's business after the company's been in business for almost 50 yrs.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 1, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Nope, season starts MONDAY!! Yippee!

Posted by: NatsNut | April 1, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"God bless him [Hill], but I'd still rather have Martis and Cheese."

Posted by: sec307 | April 1, 2009 3:06 PM

---- Yes, but not Cabrera, who sucks and, at present, is hurt. Good thing we saved that money. And its a shame there was no one else to cut to make room on the 40-man roster for Beimel... oh, except they did waive Pena a week or two later. So much for that argument.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 1, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey JB, this was reported in the Times. Don't think it ever made the Post.

"Despite the right-hander's recent positive outlook, the Nationals decided his lengthy history of arm trouble wasn't worth the risk any longer. By releasing Hill, the club is responsible for only one-sixth of his $775,000 salary (about $129,000). Had the Nationals released the 27-year-old after Wednesday but before Opening Day, he would have been entitled to one-fourth of his salary (about $194,000)."

You are correct though on one (and only one) point. It would have cost the Nats $65K to let Hill make a few more starts and make a decision to drop him at the end of ST.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | April 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Some say, "Cabrera (stinks)!!! The Nats should have cut him and kept Hill."

Others say, "We need to protect our young staff by having some guys who can eat up innings."

Hill's IP stats

2004: 9
2005: 0
2006: 36
2007: 97
2008: 63

Cabrera's IP stats:

2004: 147
2005: 161
2006: 148
2007: 204
2008: 180

OK. His ERAs haven't been great, but DC does goes to the post 30 times a year, folks. The Nats need that.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Well, we hadn't really had a ST blowout yet, had we? Better to get it out of the way now."

Yes, let's get this ONE blowout out of the way before the real season starts. This way there shouldn't be any more in the future when the games actually count.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

ANF, as far as I know, Zuckerman's the only source for that 1/4 figure. I don't have any reason to believe that over what's been reported everywhere else -- that Hill was cut on the last day before the Nats would have owed him the entire $775k.

Posted by: joebleux | April 1, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

What really makes this blog so difficult to read is that you all seem to know each other, or actually are the same person, talk in code, and can't spell. The WP Nats blog stinks.

Posted by: uncledak | April 1, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I like Shawn Hill, but ... the point about Hill is that him making it through spring training would have showed the Nats nothing. He had made it through spring training before. The point is that he had been unable to make it through 6 months of pitching for four straight years. They were tired of waiting around to see it happen, particularly given that I cannot think of one pitcher who has ever had his career trajectory and went on to produce.

#4

Posted by: db423 | April 1, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Kearns - $8mm
Pena - $2mm
Young - $5mm

Maybe we might get something out of or for these guys.

Great stuff Jimmy. Well at least we saved 65k on Hill and he is the one that makes a team.

Posted by: mjames0 | April 1, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else worried about how poorly Milledge and Dukes are hitting?

Posted by: Natsgal | April 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

So much for the blowout - Nats score 4 in the top of the 9th to lose 7-6.

A bunch of guys I've never heard of got hits off a bluejays reliever I've never heard of.

Orr had a good game

Posted by: nattaboy | April 1, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, joebleaux, but you blew it. The difference between cutting Hill when he was cut vs. cutting Hill on the last roster cutdown day of the spring is the difference between owing him 1/6 of his salary and 1/5. <4% of $775K, or <$31K. His $775K only became guaranteed if he made the 25 man roster.

So there was time to see if he could have made the rotation. The Padres seem to think he is healthy enough to give it a shot, but he's only making about $400K while in the majors, and would make minor league pay if he gets sent down, so it is a little cheaper for them than the Nats. Also, perhaps the Nats were not ready to pull the trigger on other drops from the 40 man roster, and they needed a slot for Beimel. But the decision to cut him when they did vs. cutting him today was only an extra $30K or so for the Nats.
-------------------
"Remind me what it would have cost the Nats to keep him through the end of ST and see if he actually could string together a few good starts? Plus or minus $60K?"

More like plus or minus $650k.

But don't let those annoying levels of magnitude get in the way or your rant. Why not just make $65 so that it will really sound outrageous?

Posted by: joebleux | April 1, 2009 3:03 PM

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 1, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

cutting kearns, pena, or young wouldn't save the nats $1, since those contracts are all guaranteed. so not exactly any kind of accurate comparison.

Posted by: sec231 | April 1, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

uncledak, if you're talking about my post, "ANF" would be "ArlingtonNatsFan", the person I'm responding to. Not really that hard to figure out.

A more valid criticism of my post would be that the more I read about arbitration and non-guaranteed contracts, the more I think I'm wrong about Shawn being entitled to the entire $775k after March 18, and that ANF is right. Hate when that happens.

Posted by: joebleux | April 1, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@Natsgal: Yes, I too am concerned. It is just spring training, but I am starting to worry about Milledge (not so much Dukes), and I am somewhat of a Milledge fan. He is looking dismal and probably should be hitting 7th for the time being.

I am also a bit concerned about Zimmerman as a 3-hitter. I do not believe he has the average to be hitting third. He seems more like a 5 or 6 hitter to me. I am not liking our lineup at present and, should Nick get hurt, it could be downright awful.

I'm also thinking Alberto Gonzalez deserves a chance to show what he can do while Hernandez is out.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 1, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to argue the odds of Shawn Hill completing a full season are anything other than a long shot. But if he made Memorial Day, that would have allowed us to keep a 22-year old under 162 innings. As it stands now, both Martis and JZimm are slated to throw a low of innings. Boz's point about youngsters throwing lots of innings is worth consideration.

And if I wanted to be really cynical, putting off JZimm's arbitration clock for a year would have probably saved more than enough money to pay for Hill's full salary even if he only made Memorial Day.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | April 1, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Nice that they came back to within a run in the 9th. Also nice to see in the boxscore the names of a number of guys I've seen playing in Potomac. The fact that a number of starters get a break from road trips like this means that the other guys get a chance to play in an MLB game (even if it is in ST). That's cool, IMO.

Thanks for the Cordero item, 138. I'd not seen it.

Also, thanks to uncledak for the laugh (whether intentional or not).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Appreciate the acknowledgement JoeBleux.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | April 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

did that one from memory, but the basic point is that the $775K did not become guaranteed until he was on the 25 man after the final cut down day.

Here is a link - it is 1/6 vs. 1/4, as the Times writer said:
http://www.insidethemajors.com/?p=62

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 1, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

>Is anyone else worried about how poorly Milledge and Dukes are hitting?

Milledge. Especially if he's going to be hitting leadoff - he needs to cut down his swing and concentrate on making contact. I think eventually he'll see how professional the rest of the lineup is hitting and fall in line with them. Hope, anyway.
The thing with Dukes, like Zimm and some of the other young hitters is that they haven't trotted out the regular season lineup (at all?) this spring. The young guys need the protection of the lineup, then you'll see them reach their potential. The veterans usually hit regardless because they're working on specific things only in the spring, like with Belliard - waiting and hitting the ball the other way, so it doesn't matter who's hitting behind him, he's going to swing the same way regardless. The young guys generally try to pull the ball more in the spring, and they're not seeing the same pitches they would see during the season with the lineup protection. i.e., hopefully more fastballs>

Posted by: Brue | April 1, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

And joebleux - we crossed in cyber space 2x. sorry for the extra comment.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 1, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of crossing comments, there's a new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 1, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

testing comments

Posted by: Bob Greiner | April 3, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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