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Lannan Leftovers for Breakfast

Hello, folks, how've you been? Chico's traveling this morning and so I thought I'd stage a bloodless coup of Nats Journal. I had a few leftovers in my notebook after interviewing John Lannan for today's column that I thought I'd share.

Last year Lannan was a better pitcher on the road than at home (4-9 at home, 5-6 on the road). He made a point of saying that he's much more comfortable at Nationals Park this year. Lannan's 2.20 ERA at home is sixth in the National League, putting him among a pretty stellar group of pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly, Josh Johnson and Johan Santana. Tim Lincecum is seventh.

"Last year I did really well on the road," he said. "Really well on the road, and struggled at home. So I think last year I had felt a little pressure at home and wanted to do well for the home fans. Now this year I feel really really comfortable at home because the fans have been great. It's become my home, you know? I'm getting comfortable and I love being here."

Another topic: pitch count, one I know has been debated on this forum as well. I asked him at what pitch count he began to feel tired:

"Nowhere? Pitch count doesn't really affect any pitcher. If you think about it, we're throwing over 200 pitches with the warmups and everything like that so if you work hard it doesn't matter how many pitches you throw, you should be able to stay at the same level throughout the whole thing."

Also, Acta had this to say about the changes in Lannan from last season:

"He's really growing fast. He has improved a lot of parts of his game that over the last two years weren't there. When he first came up here he wasn't very good at holding runners. Now he does a very good job at that and also fielding his position. I remember that Randy [St. Claire] used to work extra hard with him to make him a better fielder and he has shown that this year, too, which helps."

By Tracee Hamilton  |  July 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
 
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Next: From Minute Maid

Comments

thanks, Tracee when Lannan pitches he gives us his best effort and makes the most of what he has. I love to watch him pitch. Go, Lanny beat the Astros tonight

Posted by: gengreen17 | July 9, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

As an FYI the link doesn't work. While it does take you to a site, it's not the correct one.

Posted by: BangZoom | July 9, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Link fixed, thanks, BangZoom!

Posted by: traceeh | July 9, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

"Leftovers again?"

Try this link, BangZoom: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/08/AR2009070801684.html

Thanks for the column, Tracee. You brought out Lannan's personality and humor nicely, I thought. Nice to see some props for St. Claire worked in here, as well.

Re. the coup idea, as a member of NJ Supreme Court I recommend that Chico be detained until the NJ Congress can vote on his removal from his post. All in favor? (We kid because we love, Chico.)

All right, home team Nats, let's put up a quick curly W at 7 tonite and go on to take the series opener behind Johnny-boy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Tracee, how does it feel to be the best sports colmumnist on a major newspaper?

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

D'oh! That's what I get for writing such a long post. Tracee fixed it already. She's on top of things, as usual!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Tracee. I love the smell of leftovers in the morning. I'd love to complete that reference but I'll have to save that until after our ace/stopper/stabilizer/joker has his say on the matter tonight.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The horror...the horror...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Nice 1a1.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Will the completion of the suspended game be televised tonight?

Posted by: amorris525 | July 9, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Why is Austin Kearns still playing major league baseball? He needs to be back in Kentucky, selling insurance or something.

Posted by: trezmartin | July 9, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Tracee, it's great to see another columnist writing about baseball and the Nats, and I'm glad to see someone at The Post exposing us to different aspects of the players and their personalities, which the paper has largely ignored for too long.

Even suggesting that Lannan could possibly be considered an ace, however, is pretty far-fetched. Aces dominate games and pitch complete games (even today). They don't just "give your team a chance to win" as even McAtty suggested. Acta actually got this one right--aces are guys the other team is afraid to face. As bad as the Nats are, it's hard to suggest that anyone could be their "ace". For awful teams like the Nats, perhaps Carlton in '72 would qualify as an ace, but such examples are few and far between.

Also, as you develop your voice as a columnist, I hope that you will show us a critical side as well. The Nats are playing like one of the worst teams in baseball history so far this season. Reading your two columns on the Nats so far, however, one would think that things are all sweetness and light in NatsTown. Who cares about the fact that they are playing sub-.300 ball, anyway? Their manager really is a great guy, with a big heart!

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 9, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The suspended game broadcast is scheduled to be on MASN at 7 tonight, amorris.

CiL, so now that we have more than one columnist covering the Nats, we're going to tell them how they should slant their coverage? Geez. Baby steps.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

We already know that they're a bad team. One doesn't even need to read a gamer to know that. Duh.

Better to complain about the Times piece knocking the Baseball 101 event, which is in its second year and has been hosted by other MLB teams. Evidently without doing any background research, Heller used the event to pile on the Nats and revealed his own sexism in the process, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Just making a suggestion and commenting on Tracee's columns, 1a. Nothing wrong with that.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Now, that's a Baseball 101 story:

http://tinyurl.com/kvzdxf

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Fair enough, CiL. At least you didn't get personal, as another poster previously did.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't know which is the more ridiculous proposition, that the Post actually thinks they can turn a Debbie Taylor wannabe into a viable columnist in the short time they have left before their entire operation goes the way of the dinosaur, or that CoverageIsLacking even thinks that anyone at the Post would pay attention to his pompous pontifications on how they should go about their business.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Section 417, you are not welcome here.

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

even with the small sample size, i'm impressed enough with the former blogmom to DFA wilbon, wise and jenkins.

Posted by: surly_w | July 9, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Tracee has been in sports journalism for many years (unlike, I would guess, most of us):

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/05/meet_tracee_hamilton_new_sport.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon, Wise and Jenkins have already DFAed themselves from the Post, moving on to bigger and better things. Wilbon to ESPN, Wise to the new 106.7 sports talker, and Jenkins - well she's been living in NYC for years and literally phoning in everything she's ever done for them. The Post has been hanging on to those guys (and Kornheiser) and their signature writing styles for dear life, and has finally realized that strategy is getting them nowhere. Not to mention that it's very expensive. So they're changing direction. No knock on Tracee Hamilton, the Debbie Taylor style of fluff journalism does have to have some talent underneath it to even have the hope of working in the big city of DC. But face it, folks, it's fluff journalism, not Woodward and Bernstein stuff that the Post is all about these days as it tries to hang on. Just take a look at the rest of the paper sometime. Their big new innovation for the Sunday Style/Arts section? A two-page spread of cutesy stories about how young newlyweds met, with accompanying blog. Case closed. Enjoy Ms. Hamilton's writing, but make no mistake about what it really is.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

It's great to see a pitcher point out that they throw tons of warmup pitches, so "pitch count" is a very odd stat. When I've asked friends about this, some have said that warm up pitches aren't really thrown that hard, so they don't count. Apparently that's not true. Still, there's a really interesting question here. If a pitcher throw 10 warmups an inning, then if he reaches 100 pitches during the 4th innning, he's thrown 140 pitches, but if he reaches it in the 8th, he's thrown 180. So how can the 100 pitch mark be taken so seriously in deciding when to remove a pitcher?

Posted by: Section222 | July 9, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back to NJ, Tracee. I have enjoyed your columns.

1a - are you suggesting that we dump Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) at BWI in his pajamas?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Tracee - I really enjoyed your columns. I think you have a great style, and I look forward to reading more.

Posted by: Section220 | July 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

LOL, lowcountry, that's it. Wonder what type of jammies he has?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Great article

Posted by: Tom8 | July 9, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Here is some baseball news, via Olney's insider article. It is a snippet about Derrick Norris. He looks to be the catcher of the future.
-------------------------------------------
Before the 2007 draft, Nationals official Bob Boone worked out with a high school kid named Derek Norris to get a read on whether he thought Norris had the tools to become a professional catcher. "We had him throw with the equipment on," said Mike Rizzo, the acting GM for the Washington Nationals. When it was over, Boone and Rizzo felt like Norris could make it work behind the plate, and they selected him in the fourth round. "We felt like, if this guy can pull it off as a catcher, he might be something that there really isn't a lot of," Rizzo recalled.

It appears that that gamble could pay off in a very big way. Norris, 20, is destroying pitching in Single-A -- in a four-game stretch over the last week, he clubbed six homers, and now has 20 homers, 64 RBI and an OPS over 1.000 -- and he continues to make progress with his defense. "He has really, really improved as far as being a receiver and working on his game-calling skills," said Rizzo. "The thing we have to see behind the plate is that sometimes, he'll fall asleep for an inning or two -- he'll drop pitches, maybe not maintain his focus. That's a youthful mistake. He's got a plus arm. And he can sure roll the poles; he's a plus-plus power guy, an RBI guy, and he's going to be a middle-of-the-order guy who can catch or throw."

"Derek knows that promotions, fall ball opportunities, and hopefully in the future, Big League Spring Training will come" when Rizzo feels like it's the right time, says Jonathan Mauer, Norris's agent.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 9, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Blogmom -

Just dropped a shout out to you on the Sports Bog in the comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing about the team that is actually in season. It is sorely overdue. If you migrate to the Burgundy & Gold, Wiz and Red Rockers in the fall and winter, you will reach superstar status in no time.

Another voice, along with Boz, writing about the team with the longest season makes an abundance of sense, regardless of how suckriffic the Nats currently are.

Oh they'll read, Tracee. They'll read.

Posted by: WebberDC | July 9, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

OMG!

What a mindnumbingly thick observations.

Tracee has been providing good content to this site and the Post as a whole for years. Her initial columns have been interesting, newsworthy commentary. I must be confused, because my initial reaction is one of appreciation, respect, and gratitude for a job well done. I'm a little unclear on what is lacking in this equation.

It's like a 500 pound man complaining that the 19 oz. Prime Rib was too small of a serving and the plate they served it on was not the best china.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 9, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

(that was pointed at 417, btw). I forget the @yourname thing sometimes....)

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 9, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The warm up pitches thrown before innings are not thrown with the same max effort and velocity as pitched thrown to opponent hitters.

In the bullpen, prior to the game - it's more of a mix. You do need to throw some max effort pitches to get your whole body warmed up. But not dozens.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I see that someone else has already posted Olney's comments about Derek Norris. This is a couple of days after Baseball Prospectus suggested he's the most underappreciated prospect in baseball. That four-game homer binge has finally made people sit up and take notice. I can't imagine that he'll be in Hagerstown crushing low-A pitching much longer.

Posted by: jcj5y | July 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

History pretty clearly shows that overusing young pitching is not the route to take. See Mark Prior.

Posted by: charley42 | July 9, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Nationals Journal began as a remarkably well-run project under Barry (even more remarkable when you consider he was basically a one-man band in 2007) and is even better now.

Tracee has contributed greatly to this improvement.

End of gush. (Except it's true.)

Posted by: Hendo1 | July 9, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I go away to Maine for a weeks vacation and when I come back, NatsTown is still crumbling and the NJ still has our favorite multi-monikered, bloviating buddy, Nunof1 (wearing his Section 417 disguise today.)

There's no limit with you Nunof...sorry...Section417, is there?

Tasteless jokes about Nick Johnson's kid, Fat jokes about Tom Loverro and now boarderline sexist comments about Debbie Taylor and Tracee.

You're a class act.

I agree with 506, don't go away mad just, go away.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I think it was actually Tom Paciorek who once mentioned a really good rule of thumb for pitchers tiring (he said he heard it from a pitching coach, I believe): a pitcher can handle two tough innings in a game. This is a pretty simple yet elegant guideline. It also probably correlates well with the 100-to-115-pitches thing.

Like all rules of thumb, it's not perfect. But watch games with it in mind, and see if it doesn't feel about right.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Flannel, I suspect - being that he is from Pittsburg and all.
____________________
LOL, lowcountry, that's it. Wonder what type of jammies he has?

Posted by: natsfan1a1

Posted by: lowcountry | July 9, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Good point, lowcountry. Maybe with feet in them.

Scooter's Tom Paciorek mention reminds me of when they played the clip of Zimmerman's previous July 4 walkoff before this year's July 4 game. Dibble was laughing at Paciorek's enthusiastic call ("Get out! GET OUT! Wooo!" or something to that effect). Dibbs then stated that he had no problem with that. hehe. The clip was also featured on TWIB as the Big League Blast last weekend.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate anyone who writes about the Nats. I only hope the number of readers does not fall measurably. As an old Washingtonian used to say...its so nice to know so many nice people.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

> Fat jokes about Tom Loverro

Thom Loverro is a fat joke. Your point?

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Tracee, what I love about your columns is that they are about the team and players, not your own navel gazing, like so many other columnists. They are chock-full-a quotions, which is delightful. It is a veritable horn of plenty of quoting. I love it!

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Everyone "report abuse" on 417 when comments are made, or the Post won't bother to even protect their own.

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I just reported abuse on myself at Section506's suggestion. When can I expect the hammer to come down, before or after Manny Acta gets fired?

And just for grins, I also reported abuse on Section506 for making personal attacks on me. Let's see which one of us gets the ax here first! Maybe if the contest is good enough, the Post will let us replace Gene Weingarten, since of course we would work cheap. Or for free, which is even better than cheap.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with Hendo - Tracee, you have been tremendous for NJ, and I thank you a lot.

I also want to give a shout out for Baseball 101 - I attended the first two years, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was an interesting opportunity to see the field(s) from the players' perspective, dugout, batting cages, and the bullpen, as well as hear and learn a lot about baseball from the coaches, including doing some fielding, base running, and batting. I was also quite impressed with the level of baseball knowledge, and softball experience, of the women who attended. I unreservedly recommend attending, and it is a fundraiser for the Nationals Dream Foundation. While I won't be able to make it this year because of travel commitments, I plan to do so again in future years.

Posted by: Traveler8 | July 9, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Is there still registration available for Baseball 101?

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Baseball 101 is a totally sexist thing, and the Nationals should definitely be called out for perpetuating the stereotype. Men as well as women ought to be able to attend. Indeed, most commenters on this board should be forced to attend. Maybe it would knock some sense into them. Although I doubt it.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

506, I'm sure registration for Baseball 101 is still open - I think you should try calling the Nats office for information. I found out the date for it this year (Friday July 17) from a handout at the ballpark at the Foundation's booth or near there.

Posted by: Traveler8 | July 9, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Manny can't be faulted. He is being forced to "showcase" players who may have some value on the trade market. These guys Belliard, Kearns, Harris, Tavarez, Villone, and to a less extent N. Johnson obviously do not fit in the future plans of this organization and need to be unloaded now.

Posted by: Tom8 | July 9, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I went to 101 last year and it wasn't the first one they hosted.

Agree with Traveler about the experience. It was great overall, but the marketing is awful. I don't mind the team targeting women, but targeting them to "teach" them about baseball is pretty condescending, especially since everyone there seemed incredibly knowledgable about the sport (lotta season ticket holders).

My main reason for going was to just interact with coaches and see some behind-the-scene stuff, which was great.

Calling it "Baseball 101" is awful. And making it all pink and fingernail polishy-y is just stupid. It should give women a little more credit and call it something like "Behind the Scenes at Nationals Park."

Posted by: NatsNut | July 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Specifically addressing BB101 to women just seems like a PR issue waiting to happen. Not entirely sure where their heads are at with that one.

At least they called it Baseball 101 and not Baseball for Dummies.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

At least they called it Baseball 101 and not Baseball for Dummies.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2009 12:14 PM |

++++++++++++

No, Rickety, that one's for the guys. he he

Posted by: NatsNut | July 9, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

NN

you and 1a1 should be professors emeritus teaching the grad course. a friend of mine also attended 101 last year and was insulted by the condesceding attitude of the whole thing. she said "there are women on the post (NJ) blog who know more about the game."

Posted by: surly_w | July 9, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The important thing is: will it help my red-headed Cubs-fan fiance to stop grounding out to the shortstop every at bat in my softball league? This may end up threatening our impending marriage, since I am the coach and have not mastered Manny's patience.

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha. Section506 is engaged to Austin Kearns.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

417, you may be annoying, but THAT was FUNNY.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 9, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I was scanning the earlier comments about what is and what isn't sports journalism. Those of you who don't like the kind of writing Tracee does for her column or on the blog better get used to it. This is how the craft is trending for the future. For those of us who grew up reading Shirley Povich, there is a sea change occurring in the field.
Newspapers everywhere are laying off beat writers, editors and fact-checkers in cost-cutting moves. Dead-tree editions are also competing with the Internet and the blogosphere where many people are turning to get their news because it's more real-time. Punditry, or "talking head" journalism is becoming more accepted. The industry is pushing out veteran journalists who still adhere to the old "Elements of Style" tenets as their salaries and benefits exponentially increase. What we're getting now in more cases is less of the factful, insightful, well researched content that we are used to. I worked for the major wire service for more than a dozen years and during that time anything that could even be narrowly construed as opinion or bias would be cut. Now, those writers are being encouraged to add their own commentary in their work much to the consternation of some of their subscribers.
Journalism seems to go through cycles and not all of the evolution is good. Sports writing in the past century has progressed from the Ring Lardner/Damon Runyan school through the Povich/Jimmy Cannon era to the irreverence of the 60s and 70s to the dawn of the electronic journalism age to where we currently find ourselves. Just like Lardner and Runyan probably would recoil while reading, say, Jimmy Breslin, some of us still cling to the same sports pages our fathers read each morning. before heading off to work. Change isn't always easy.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

We already know that they're a bad team. One doesn't even need to read a gamer to know that. Duh.

Posted by: natsfan1a1

Yeah but you have to read the gamer to see who blew the game in which whimsical way as each time it is different

Posted by: SCNatsFan | July 9, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

what's wrong with being sexy? (nigel)

ist, ist. (david)

oooohhhh....

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | July 9, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

malcolmyoung

competency counts too, you know.

Posted by: surly_w | July 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

506, perhaps Eckstein can help her work on her situational hitting.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 9, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

506

or maybe she should stop viewing the "6-4-3 with austin kearns" instructional videos.

Posted by: surly_w | July 9, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If it's any consolation, the Nats have a better record than the Wizards did!

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 9, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

surly, of course (movie quote joke).

I could probably benefit greatly from a baseball 101 type event. I can see if it was open to all, that it would get flooded so having a women only deal maybe is ok. but drop the condescending tone (that is just offensive), or silly pink motif stuff if that is present (mentioned above).

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | July 9, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Was it situational hitting on Austin Kearns by Section506 that started the whole relationship in the first place?

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

For todays continued game how many position players do we have available any ways and who pitchers first if Nyjer doesn't score from first?

Posted by: mintbucket | July 9, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

> who pitchers first if Nyjer doesn't score from first?

Boswell says Lannan. I say someone from craigslist.

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

speaking of austin powerless, this is what grandpa boz had to say in his weekly chat. fill in the missing letters on your own...

Washington, D.C.: Why are the Nats hanging onto Austin Kearns? For two years now he's been hitting around .200 with no power to speak of. Why don't they either send him down or let him go the way of Paul Lo Duca, Felipe Lopez, Johnny Estrada, and other high-priced mistakes?

Tom Boswell: I really don't know. It's sad to watch.

And, for reasons I don't understand, people always seem to want a symbol of failure when a team is having an awful year, a scapegoat, an overpaid failure, so they focus on one person,rather than the larger (and uglier) problem. It's funny, some teams REALLY have to eat big contracts. The Nats are such a discount operation that Austin's $8.5M this year looks like a big mistake. But the Blue Jays just ate B.J. yan's deal yesterday __twice as much dead money as Kearns__ and by MLB standards it didn't leave a ripple.

Normally, I wouldn't bother to write about a 5th outfielder in a terrible slup, but Kerns seems to obsess the Last True Nats Believers. Is there ANY reason to keep him around, other than avoiding the embarassment of admitting you brn soime money? Maybe the Nats have so many trade possibilities, especially if Nick Johnson goes and Dunn/Willingham moves to 1st, that they'd hate to release a 4th or 5th outfielder. If Johnson and Harris were traded, you might have an OF of Dunn, Morgan, Dukes and Kearns.

Kearns is such a pro's pro, in attitude, and he used to be such a decent player, and he's still so relatively young __and he always looks like half the problem is in his head because he appears frustrated, embarrassed__ that they keep dreaming that he will "find his stroke" and hits again so they some value for their $8.5M this year. But sometimes it's better to just move on. Also, Austin has been a good friend of Dunn, Zimmerman and Johnson for a long time, back from the days when they were all roughly equal as players. All believe in a "professional attitude," so they give some balast in a clubhouse that could fall apart. Team's consider that.

Posted by: surly_w | July 9, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

506, if she weren't trying to hit the ball out every at bat, maybe go the other way once in a while, hit to the situation instead of padding her stats, you could be picking flower arrangements now.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Can someone translate this into English for me? I really don't have a clue where this is going.

*******
who pitchers first if Nyjer doesn't score from first?
Posted by: mintbucket | July 9, 2009 12:54 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

mintb, I think this is correct:

Available pitchers: Beimel, Bergmann, Burnett, Clippard, MacDougal, Villone.

According to nats.com, MacDougal will pitch first if needed.

Bench: Gonzalez,

With Morgan in for Dukes, and Bard in for Flores (who went in for Nieves).

Posted by: joebleux | July 9, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Interesting end to the Boz chat, Lannan has volunteered to pitch in both games today. That would be interesting wouldn't it?

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, 506, she IS a Cubs fan. All those years of watching 6-4-3s takes its toll.

My red-with-blond-highlights-headed Cubs fan wife would vouch for that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

It isn't worth keeping Kearns on the roster just because he's a good guy in the clubhouse. About 25 years ago in one of his books, Bill James addressed this when talking about former Oriole Enos Cabell. Cabell, was also known as a "good clubhouse guy" who couldn't hit with the power or consistency needed by a corner infielder. James said players like that are nearly worthless because you can't win a game in the clubhouse that was already lost on the field. Kearns has no trade value and giving him that big contract along with signing Daniel Cabrera will be two of the most blatant symbols of the Reign of Error of J. Gordon Bowden III.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 9, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

There's your new nickname: John "Double-Duty" Lannan.

**********
Interesting end to the Boz chat, Lannan has volunteered to pitch in both games today. That would be interesting wouldn't it?

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 1:07 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Kearns stinks. Keeping him on the team shows that it's OK to suck.

After watching the ineptness that is the Nats over the past three games, I can't see how anyone can defend (pun intended) keeping Acta on as skipper. Playing Dunn at first? He reaps what he sows. It's the manager's responsibility to put the right guys in the right situations. Manny has never shown he can do that.

The sooner he's shown the door, the better. No, so there's no better option to replace him with. But sometimes the best option is addition by subtraction.

Posted by: SavedByZero | July 9, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

OH, OK. Suspended game. Nyjer running for Dukes, bottom of the inning, if he scores the game's over; if he doesn't, who's pitching?

Got it.
-------------------
Can someone translate this into English for me? I really don't have a clue where this is going.
*******
who pitchers first if Nyjer doesn't score from first?
Posted by: mintbucket | July 9, 2009 12:54 PM
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Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Even suggesting that Lannan could possibly be considered an ace, however, is pretty far-fetched. Aces dominate games and pitch complete games (even today). They don't just "give your team a chance to win" as even McAtty suggested. Acta actually got this one right--aces are guys the other team is afraid to face. As bad as the Nats are, it's hard to suggest that anyone could be their "ace". For awful teams like the Nats, perhaps Carlton in '72 would qualify as an ace, but such examples are few and far between."

Oh, Coverage, so right. Tracee should have steered away from such superlatives in discussing a young pitcher who merely shows promise and has had some success on a woeful team.

Putting the idea in the kid's mind that he has somehow evolved into a "stopper" (like Palmer and Mussina when he was with the Os) will twist his brain into a pretzel, I'm afraid. Watch out for crash and burn.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 9, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

FIRE 506! Replace him with Tim Foli (or anyone who will throw a water cooler when RHCFF grounds out.) 506 is cheap . . . (am I leaving anything out?)
______________________________
The important thing is: will it help my red-headed Cubs-fan fiance to stop grounding out to the shortstop every at bat in my softball league? This may end up threatening our impending marriage, since I am the coach and have not mastered Manny's patience.

Posted by: Section506 |

Posted by: lowcountry | July 9, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

At least 506 has fire.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 9, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I've been mulling that over since I read Tracee's article. "Ace" is a subjective term, sure, but it does imply a dominance that I don't think we'll ever see from Lannan. He gets by on makeup more than he gets by on stuff.

But on a 24-58 team, can we say that he's our version of an ace?

Even on a team with a true MLB ace, I like the idea of Lannan pitching second or third in the rotation. This team needs him to take the ball every fifth night.

And you can tell guys like Stammen look up to him already. For the Nats, that kind of influence can be more impactful that having a true ace on the team.

-----

Even suggesting that Lannan could possibly be considered an ace, however, is pretty far-fetched. Aces dominate games and pitch complete games (even today). They don't just "give your team a chance to win" as even McAtty suggested. Acta actually got this one right--aces are guys the other team is afraid to face.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 9, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Baltova1, thanks for the hope.
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joebleux's list didn't include an obvious example: the 1988 Orioles (of the infamous 0-21 start). They had the same 81-game record as this year's Nats: 24-57. I was an O's fan in those days and still believe that team was the worst team I'd ever seen, worse than the Nats this year.

But that team had two Famers on it (Murray and Ripken) along with Fred Lynn, Scott McGregor (who was released in May) and Mike Boddicker. Like this team, that team was horrible in the field, especially in the outfield, had lousy pitching and ran the bases like blind men.

Just to give us hope, remember that the O's broke up that team, traded Lynn, Murray and Boddicker (for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling!), brought in a bunch of good fielding outfielders, drafted Gregg Olson in the first round in June and made a run at the AL East pennant in '89. So you never know...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 9, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Also, if the Nats don't just hurry up and win the suspended game tonight, I hope Lannan pitches. How awesome would that be?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 9, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Of course he does. Anyone who would court a red-headed Cubs fan would have to have it.
_____________________
At least 506 has fire.

Posted by: NatsNut

Posted by: lowcountry | July 9, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I think we can. I'm not sure why some feel an ace has to be a strike-out pitcher. Was Tom Glavine never the ace of the Braves staff?
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I've been mulling that over since I read Tracee's article. "Ace" is a subjective term, sure, but it does imply a dominance that I don't think we'll ever see from Lannan. He gets by on makeup more than he gets by on stuff.

But on a 24-58 team, can we say that he's our version of an ace?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps trade me for draft picks?

You all have been wonderfully amusing this afternoon!

"Ace" cannot be applied to John Lannan for the same reason "slap hitter" is considered an insult. Belief that a certain way is the best way, regardless of the numbers. My dad also can't go anywhere, even to the kitchen, without putting on his boots, because "you're not dressed til you have your boots on." I respect that. But I still walk to Harris Teeter in my flannel pajama pants and flip flops (with socks!) because it gets me my delicious sub just as well.

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

one of the two idiotic MASN commercials on lannan also calls him an ace and that drives me up the wall!

altho, the other one with the funny woman and john smoltz is my least hated of those terrible eerie ads. i will sometimes actually turn the tv volume back on for that one. (guilty admission against interest)

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | July 9, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

From Buster Olney. Only posting it b/c of the on and off again debate as to Kasten's role in the Braves success...

"John Schuerholz was known as an excellent trade partner in his time as general manager, someone who could make a blockbuster, because he would, in effect, broker the deal from both sides. He'd work quickly, he'd work aggressively, he'd know all the players involved and he would understand how to make the trade work for the other team. He didn't walk into the conversation trying to fleece the other team. Among current GMs, Kenny Williams of the White Sox is said by his peers to work as Schuerholz did, as does Jim Hendry of the Cubs, Kevin Towers of the Padres, Milwaukee's Doug Melvin, Oakland's Billy Beane and Cleveland's Mark Shapiro, among others."

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 9, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

> From Buster Olney. Only posting it b/c of the on and off again debate as to Kasten's role in the Braves success...

What does this have to do with Kasten? He's not even mentioned here. And Kasten wasn't the Braves GM then, just as he's not the Nationals GM now. Is Rizzo included in the "among others" Olney mentions?

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I've been wondering this too.

Lannan never got a lot of draft attention and seems to have slipped under the radar every step of the way. But he clearly has *something* special and he keeps growing and learning.

I wasn't around for Glavine's beginning years, or any other "ace" for that matter, but does anyone know how good Lannan does project to be? Would he even compare?

Posted by: NatsNut | July 9, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"What does this have to do with Kasten? He's not even mentioned here. And Kasten wasn't the Braves GM then, just as he's not the Nationals GM now. Is Rizzo included in the "among others" Olney mentions?"

Kasten was the Braves' Prez and Schuerholz was the GM. And so whenever Kasten invokes the Plan as a proven path to dynasty and success, b/c afterall he "built" the Braves, it should be taken with a grain of salt, b/c Schuerholz was making the moves. I just posted that exerpt as something to think about.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 9, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Kasten did build the Braves, in the sense that he headed the operation and hired everyone who did the actual work, e.g. Scheurholz. He has the same role with the Nationals, so only if the article you referenced had some comment on former or current Nationals employees would it have anything to say about Kasten. And I didn't see any mention of anyone related to the Nationals in that article. So I say again, what point does it prove?

Posted by: section417 | July 9, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Nationals have signed another international free agent, Dominican SS Jean Carlos Valdez. Reports are his bonus is between $350-450K. (source Baseball Prospectus' Kiley McDaniel who is plugged into the happenings in the DR).

He also reports another signing of >$100K. That is most likely RHP Cleto Cabral. I got that confirmed through an agent in the DR.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 9, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Kasten's new plan to get people to the stadium

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/baseball_fans_delighted_by_new?utm_source=a-section

Posted by: trezmartin | July 9, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I believe the reason for keeping Austin Kearns is if that DFA him or release him, then they will still have to pay him his 8 million for this year. So they loose a player and loose 8 million dollars. If they can find a trade partner then they still ahve to pay 8 million dollars but also get a prospect in exchange. If they cannot find a trade partner then they keep him as an excellent defensive player to use in late innings when they actually have the lead. Then they pay him 1 million dollars next year to go away.

So I know we can't stand his offense, but his defense is the best except for Morgan. So I saw we keep him unless we can find a trade partner. Why pay someone 8 mil to play for someone else. What if he finds his hitting stroke and the return is a decent low A prospect.

just an opinion

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 9, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the misspellings and word choice, typing on this mini netbook messes me up.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 9, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yuck, trezmartin.

Boz also mentioned in the chat that you can't trade draft picks (or managers). He must have picked that up in reading NJ. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I thought Tracee's column was spot on. Contrary to some suggestions above, she does not argue that Lannan is an ace, only that he's been our best pitcher of late (4-0, 2.40 since June 6, all four wins ending losing skids). The headline after the "jump" in the dead trees edition even begins "Lannan Might Not Be an Ace Yet." Tracee concludes that he might be a "stabilizer" or perhaps even a "stopper" which may be "baby steps" on the way to being an ace. Hard to argue with that, methinks. Also, personally I enjoyed reading a positive story about a young Nat -- if anyone wants the hard-hitting truth about how bad this team is right now, you can simply read the gamers!

Brian thanks for the update on the international signings; more on those can be found here: http://natsfarm.com/

Posted by: BobLHead | July 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@wrw0601

Because at some point keeping an awful Kearns becomes detrimental to your team rather than simply neutral. I think the Nats are past the point where Kearn's presence on the squad creates negatives that outweigh any potential benefits, and jettisoning him becomes the right move.

Screw the $8M. He's gonna sit on your bench (hopefully) anyway. If all you need is a decent fielding OF, there are plenty of those to be had at no added cost.

Posted by: SavedByZero | July 9, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Reading your two columns on the Nats so far, however, one would think that things are all sweetness and light in NatsTown. Who cares about the fact that they are playing sub-.300 ball, anyway? Their manager really is a great guy, with a big heart!

Posted by: CoverageisLacking"

Ahmmm well welcome to the new millennium. The last time we had a ball club Steve Carlton really was an ace!

I'm not sure you've noticed but there are several younger women/female fans who appear to think that the latest crop of brash bald-faced boys on the Nats are cute, hotties, etc.

I suspect that Tracee may be one among many.

At least they get to enjoy something about this current reincarnation. Can't hurt ticket sales ... albeit if the Lerners were as smart as good old Dan-O Snidely Owl they would be selling t-shirts that took maximum advantage of that ... ~smiles~

Posted by: periculum | July 9, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Rizzo should purchase JD Martin's contract and bring him to Washinning after the All-Star break!

Posted by: periculum | July 9, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

BobL!

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

And new post!

O, happy day!

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

As Brian_ pointed out, the Nats have spent in excess of $500K in Latin prospects. While they certainly haven't broken the bank (I don't see why they can't swoop in and get Sano too), it surely must assuage some of the feelings the anti-kool-aid crowd has regarding Lerner cheapness?

This is certainly bigger news than whether or not we like Tracee (I do).

Posted by: goexpos2 | July 9, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Blogmom.

We'll keep the light on for you.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 9, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comments about sports writing by leetee up the thread. Speaking of which, the July issue of Washingtonian has a feature on sports blogs and the "smart analysis, frat humor, and nasty attacks" (their words, not mine) to be found on them. They even mention the Bog (no startling revelations this time).

There's also a piece about the Nats two Zimms.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and stop by any time, Tracee. You're always welcome here.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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