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The Phillies beat John Lannan, again

John Lannan is the Nationals' most reliable pitcher, the one who pitched the most innings -- by more than 100 -- and won the most games of Nationals hurlers last season. He was an easy choice for opening day. Lannan, though, is not quite an ace, not quite among the league's very best. The one thing keeping him on the cusp may be the Phillies.

Lannan has been mostly excellent against the league and mostly a piñata against the Phillies. Lannan's career numbers broken down:

Overall: 20-31, 3.99 ERA
Vs. Phillies: 0-7, 6.32
Vs. rest of league: 20-24, 3.70

Forget about the win-loss record; for a pitcher saddled with Washington's defense and lineup for the past two-plus seasons, it's irrelevant. His 3.70 ERA shows how good he's been against everyone but Philadelphia. It would rank 20th among active starting pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched -- right in front of Zack Greinke, Erik Bedard, Ben Sheets, Jered Weaver, Mark Buerhle, Ubaldo Jiménez and John Lackey.

The Phillies ruined Lannan's second opening day start. Of the 28 starters who opened their team's season, only Carlos Zambrano and Vicente Padilla, judging by ERA, had a worse start.

There are two reasons for Lannan's struggles against Philadelphia. First, the Phillies are the two-time defending National League champs and they habitually score more runs than any team in the NL. Second, they are one of the most left-handed teams in the majors, and the majority of their power -- Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raúl Ibáñez -- is left-handed.

For Lannan, a lefty, only the first part should be a problem. But Lannan might be one of the shakiest regular starting pitchers -- left-handed or right-handed -- against lefties in baseball. Left-handers have an .840 OPS against Lannan in his career. Among left-handed pitchers, only Brian Burres, of the Orioles, has allowed a higher OPS versus left-handers since 2007. His OPS against left-handers is .843, and he only pitched 6 1/3 major league innings last season.

One of Lannan's primary focuses this offseason was developing his slider in a way he could utilize it against lefties. He threw one Monday to Howard, and he launched it into the upper deck in right. The home run gave the Phillies the lead and led to a short day for Lannan.

From The Post

Dave Sheinin writes that Ian Desmond's first opening day as the Nationals starting shortstop was the most significant thing that happened all day.

Boz asks if Donovan McNabb can pitch.

The game story focuses on a familiar feeling.

From around the Web

That quick outing by Lannan was a surprise.

It was a great afternoon until the game started.

The game itself was a buzz kill.

The bullpen had its share of problems, too.

Roy Halladay had something to do with it.

With Placido Polanco hitting second, the Phillies might have a dream lineup.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 6, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
 | Tags: John Lannan, Opening Day, philadelphia phillies, washington nationals  
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Next: Bog: Kasten on the Philly fan takeover

Comments

Shouldn't Lannan's pitching totals add up? Is Lannan 23-31 or 20-31?

OVERALL: 23-31, 3.99 ERA
VS. PHILLIES: 0-7, 6.32 ERA
VS. EVERYONE BUT PHILLIES: 20-24, 3.70 ERA

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | April 6, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

We need to learn more about why Phillies fans were able to buy bus trips with opening day tickets in January, but Nats fans (non-plan holders) were given 7 minutes of general sale months later.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"It seems to me that Zimm and Morgan are the only two position players who do not have huge, obvious flaws either offensively or defensively."

I'm pulling this out of the last thread because I saw the sentiment bandied around several times yesterday, sometimes with Pudge's name thrown in there also. But it's simply not true that Morgan had a great game yesterday. Aside from the electric first inning, it was a pretty rotten game for Tony Plush, actually.

But that happens. What concerns me most was that he showed absolutely zero patience at the plate. Talk about Guzman-itis, the Phillies spent, what, 6 pitches on him in four at bats? When facing a great pitcher that you and all of your team save two have never seen before, take some pitches! Give the other guys a chance to look at him. A chance to feel him out.

Heck, give Halladay a chance to hit 100 pitches before you get to extra innings.

Just please, somebody in the entire lineup, and especially our leadoff man, show some patience.

Posted by: Section506 | April 6, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I am still sick to my stomach about yesterday's game. And not about the game on the field; it is just 1 of 162 as we all know.

But Adam, I do hope that someone at The Post is going to look into how the Nats rolled out the red carpet to Philadelphia for Opening Day. Group ticket sales were marketed to huge tour bus groups coming down from Philadelphia *in January*. That's before individual Opening Day tickets went on sale to the general public. Seriously? That should never happen. All you had to do was look up at the scoreboard for all the group tour announcements for Philly-based groups, it was ridiculous. And meanwhile, Nats fans here in DC were shut out from buying tickets, which supposedly sold out in 7 minutes.

Opening Day is supposed to be special for home-town fans. The Nats ruined that by selling tickets to these huge groups of fans and making it easy for them. Boz had it exactly right in his column about classless Philly fans. The Nats' organization should not be bending over backwards enabling them to come down here and boo the home town team on Opening Day. Disgusting. Stan Kasten makes me sick.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 6, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....well, another year starts. Seeing lots of new names here at NJ-great!- but seeing 506 leads me to join in-in agreement. Yea, sitting there with my 16 y.o. (surrounded by Phils fans), who's a ballplayer-he noted that even though Tony P had a hit to start things off, why wasn't he looking at a few? The only patience around here comes from us Nats fans....you already know where I'd be going with that line if it wasn't so dang demoralizing.....Oh Well:
Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | April 6, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

We should go easy on the Nats. It is not their fault.

Payrolls are out, and according to USA Today, the Nats' team payroll is $61.4 million, near the bottom of course in MLB. The payroll increased by just $1.1 million from last season.

Atlanta has a payroll of $84.4 million, the 16th highest payroll in MLB and just below the median. The Nats are $30 million below Atlanta! How can the Nats compete given the disparity?

Of course, many believe the Nats are properly focusing on the future, not this season. OK, then stop saving money in the draft! And trade for young, talented players EVEN IF they make MLB-average salary or higher. (The Nats have never done that under the Lerners.)

http://content.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/teamdetail.aspx?year=2010&team=24

Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

In fairness to Lannan, he has absurdly good splits against righties, despite his 1:1 K/BB ratio.
http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=7080&position=P&season=

Makes you wonder if teams will start to stack lefties against him? The ballpark probably helps him a bit too, as RF is the easier home run direction. If you go with a normal righty heavy line up, then your pull direction is away from the easier to reach side. Probably has something to do with his HR/9 last year v. RH batters.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 6, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, the Nats are $20 million below Atlanta in payroll. (A good RF and a couple starting pitchers below Atlanta.)

Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

I agree with CiL. Please do some investigative journalism into the group ticket sales to tour bus company's in Philly.

Flat out ridiculous if true. I tried, but failed, to get Opening Day tickets with one of those 5 game flex plan in late Feb.


Posted by: Section505203 | April 6, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why Adam would show a stat to make a point, and then say it's meaningless in the next sentence, but the larger point holds with more informative stats.

Lannan career numbers, from baseball-reference.com:
OPS against: .745 overall, .935 vs. PHL
37 PA/HR overall, 17 PA/HR vs. PHL
WHIP: 1.37 overall, 1.70 vs. PHL
K/BB is the same, 1.38 vs. 1.38, as he has some serious control issues against all the NL West teams for some reason.

Posted by: natinbeantown | April 6, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Way too many asshat Phillie fans. Nats front office is way too accommodating with the tickets. Given a fair chance to buy tickets, I've got to think many DC fans would buy tickets for Opening Day. Heck, as a STH, I recognize this as one of the only tickets I could have unloaded if I couldn't go.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | April 6, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

505203, check out the results from a Google search for "Phillies Opening Day 2010 bus trip." I haven't checked out all of the hits that come back, but one of them is for a site called philliesnation.com. Below is the link to their January 21 announcement peddling packages, including tickets in a specified section. January 21 was several weeks before single game tickets went on sale, as you no doubt know. Here's the link:

http://bit.ly/7WUN2k

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 6, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, the Nats are $20 million below Atlanta in payroll. (A good RF and a couple starting pitchers below Atlanta.)

Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 10:00 AM

And $20mil below the Orioles. What an embarrassment. Time to hold ownership's feet to the flames on this. Unacceptable. If I had any part in setting up that debacle yesterday, I'd be ashamed to show my face in public. Oh wait, the Lerners never show their faces in public.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

And on that philliesnation website one of the comments directs Phillies fans who were shut out to another group that has even more tickets. (Note the date):

# JT Clements Says:
January 28th, 2010 at 6:23 pm

If these guys are sold out or if you’re looking for a larger group of tickets, I would check out Phillytailgate.com. They have sold out 6 full buses already and say they have a ton more tickets. There package is $99 and includes bus, ticket, tailgate. Beer and snacks on the bus. A fully catered all you can eat and all you can drink tailgate party with live entertainment or a dj or both, i don’t remember off hand. I even think the Mummers are going to be there to lead a parade to the stadium pregame. they have lower level tickets together. I’ve travelled with them before too and the tailgate is incredible.

Posted by: mojo6 | April 6, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I fully agree with the posters above. We need more information on the Phillies Opening Day Bus debacle. Why were the Phillies allowed to buy so many tickets? We all can understand selling some tickets to them, but it's looking like they bought thousands of tickets before they went on sale to Nats fans.

Please look into this and get it in the paper.

Posted by: cassander | April 6, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and OH-after giving up my STH status after the 1st 100 loss season-some misguided notion of not supporting the Slow Lerners until they showed US some support-I had to go to Stub Hub for tix for me and the boy. Now, one of my hats is "bar owner". Lots of chances there for freebies. But none to be found after entreaties to lots of pals in the same industry. And to think, I was actually buoyed by optimism when I heard we had a sell out.Moving in the right direction lead to a resurgence of interest, blah blah blah.So I didn't mind having to shell out extra via a ticket broker. When we got to the vicinity of the Park, the scalpers were actually ASKING for tix rather than offering them!
Guess I know why now....what a shame...and once again, I feel like a stooge.I know, it's only one game. But Lannan-who I'm a big fan of- OR Marquis as your number #1?
SIX YEARS IN???
I'll recover...probably be there Wednesday, too (got PLENTY of free tix offers for game #2, undoubtedly with more to come after yesterdays' debacle)
After all, like any addict, I need my fix. And one day MAYBE I'll get something that's better than the worst bunk they sell on the street to desperate junkies.....but jeez....
O.K.: I'm downgrading my prediction from 85 wins to 84
Go Nats!!

Posted by: zendo | April 6, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those posters making a big deal of the number of Phillies fans at the opener. I've never seen or heard anything like that at an opener. It would be good to know how far the Nats went to actively sell those tickets to Phillies fans.

The other embarrassing thing? Watching the pre-game show, the MASN spent probably five minutes of a half hour show on two guys who aren't even on the team: Strasburg and Storen. If it's the first game of the season, and you think it's more important to talk about guys who won't play than those who will, what are trying to tell us?

Posted by: baltova1 | April 6, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, the Nats are $20 million below Atlanta in payroll. (A good RF and a couple starting pitchers below Atlanta.)Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 10:00 AM

And $20mil below the Orioles. What an embarrassment. Time to hold ownership's feet to the flames on this. Unacceptable. If I had any part in setting up that debacle yesterday, I'd be ashamed to show my face in public. Oh wait, the Lerners never show their faces in public.Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2010 10:12 AM |

Kev29: I actually meant to say the Nats are $23 million below the median MLB payroll, not $20 million.

Most people see the payroll data and say, yeah, people without patience want the Nats to go out and get more free agents and think only about the upcoming season. But that's not it. The Nats save huge amounts of money by not trading for young and talented players who make decent salaries. Surprisingly, by focusing on slot and blow-slot draftees, the Nats also save money in the draft as well--the very worst place to save money. And of course the Nats do not show up on on lists of international players who sign for pretty big bucks.

In every area of baseball operations, the Nats get the leftovers, the bargains.

This has nothing to do with yesterday's game, just one of 162.

Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

You can understand (even if we don't like it) that Kasten would want to boost attendance at games with the Phils later in the season, as long as DC fans aren't filling the stadium, but opening day would have sold out in any case.

It's pretty sad when the team president goes out of his way to make the Nats a national laughing stock -- the AP wire story was full of how the Phillies fans seem to have taken over NP.

Posted by: nats24 | April 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

CiL,

Looks like you've done most of the work for Adam. OK Adam, please ask some tough questions to the Lerner's and StanK and don't let them off easy. StanK will try the used car salesman fast double talk BS and the Lerner's are going to hide under their desks so, good luck finding them.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 6, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...lets see: StanK said "you get the attendance you deserve...", right? And for those excoriating Nats fans for not purchasing tickets-hey, the Phils HAVE a team worth following to other locales. Kudos to them. But to blame Nats fans for not buying tickets after having to watch this team day in and out....and to then have the owners AVOID getting the "attendance they deserve" by unloading huge numbers of seats possibly before the local fans even got a chance....it's a bit disingenuous, I think.
And as I've noted before, if it were widgets the Slow Lerners were selling-hey, no problem. But owning a sports team is unlike most other businesses.It's like the unwritten "rules" in baseball-there is an unspoken compact between the team and the fans. Granted, DC may be full of transients with allegiances to other locales.But as anyone who experienced 2005 can tell you, we WILL support a team. Even a mediocre to poor one, in a decrepit stadium-see 2006.And then for the ownership to BREAK that compact with an abysmal product-and to then escape the consequences by drawing in fans from a team that is honoring theirs (and further damaging the bonds with your family)....
It's like going to a bar every night...even though service is slow and prices high, you like the joint-love it actually!-so you continue going, supporting it warts and all, waiting for the day.....and then one day you arrive to find your seat taken, discounted drinks and great service-for people who've never been before!
"HEY-tough luck!" an interloper says,"you had your chance, you should've shown more support". And hey, look-now the place is making money!"
And the owners say,"Look-improvements are coming-really"....$61 million payroll, huh?Anyone for another defective widget-or a cocktail with no booze? >Sigh<
Go Nats!!

Posted by: zendo | April 6, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I would be rather surprised to find that the Lerners had actually set aside tickets for the Phillies Phans that the bus deal was tapping into. Rather, what I suspect happened is the shameful practice of selling huge numbers of your tickets to brokers and leaving only a few for general admission.

Whereas we the fans have a limit on how many tickets we can buy at one time for opening day, nearly every (and maybe every) MLB team contracts huge sales with private brokers, who then sell them for a mark-up. The team sees it as a victory because the seats are already paid for and the brokers see it as a victory because they get the mark-up of a sell out, even without a true sell out occurring (though we all know who really sold out...)

These brokers are then free to contract with Phoolies party buses, because THEY KNOW IN ADVANCE that they will get 200 tickets, or whatever. And then the Lerners can just put up their hands and say "oh, we sold them to a neutral party, it's not our fault they sold them to Philadelphians!"

Posted by: Section506 | April 6, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Investigate about Phillies fans, even on tv it was awful to watch.I think it was more annoying than the Nats losing.

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | April 6, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

While the idea of Phillies fans somehow getting tons of tickets before Nats fans could is beyond offensive, what bothers me more was the way the Phillies fans behaved at the ballpark.

It's fine to cheer your team, at home or on the road. I expect and encourage that. And I expect my team to be given a hard time on the road, especially in a place like Philly. That's part of the game.

But it is inappropriate and unacceptable to jeer the home team, or to insert 'SUCKS!' after every home player introduction. I couldn't hear most of the Nationals players introductions because the Phillies fans were drowning them out with their nastiness.

I'll go to Philly and root for the Nats, and while I might boo the Phillies (or the Mets, or the Yankees) in Nationals Park, I would never dream of doing so at their home ballparks (and not just because it would result in my being killed or seriously injured, but because it's rude.)

I think I would have less of an issue with lots of visiting fans in the ballpark if they were at least polite.

Posted by: zaph | April 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Up until yesterday I have answered the poll question "Are the Nationals going in the right direction?" in a positive manner. However, the display of the home opener with the Philliies fans being the vocal majority of fans completely changed my opinion. The Lerner organization embarrassed themselves in front of Bud Selig, in front of the President and in front of the opening day fans themselves who were attending the game in person or watching on television. Losing the ballgame on the field is ok, even if it showed a hugely flawed team on display, but selling out to the Phillies tour busses cratered any goodwill built up over the last few seasons.

I imagine that the team itself will just shrug their shoulders and go on, but this display by the Lerners has to have them talking to each other in whispers.

At the very least, the Lerners owe Washington a very public apology for yesterday. One that I hope will never be repeated on Opening Day ever again in Washington.

Posted by: driley | April 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

While the idea of Phillies fans somehow getting tons of tickets before Nats fans could is beyond offensive, what bothers me more was the way the Phillies fans behaved at the ballpark.

It's fine to cheer your team, at home or on the road. I expect and encourage that. And I expect my team to be given a hard time on the road, especially in a place like Philly. That's part of the game.

But it is inappropriate and unacceptable to jeer the home team, or to insert 'SUCKS!' after every home player introduction. I couldn't hear most of the Nationals players introductions because the Phillies fans were drowning them out with their nastiness.

I'll go to Philly and root for the Nats, and while I might boo the Phillies (or the Mets, or the Yankees) in Nationals Park, I would never dream of doing so at their home ballparks (and not just because it would result in my being killed or seriously injured, but because it's rude.)

I think I would have less of an issue with lots of visiting fans in the ballpark if they were at least polite.

Posted by: zaph | April 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's easy for me to not care about the Philly fan debacle, since my interaction with the team is through TV and radio. To me, the play on the field was more shameful. The Nats had a chance to stick it to those Philly fans. Instead, they stunk.

Forget the red carpet; this team rolls out the door mat.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 6, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

In other news, I had a great time meeting some of the NJ faithful at the exhibition game on Saturday. It was cool to put faces to the names. I hope I don't have to wait another two years to make it out to Nats Park again!

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 6, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@nats24: "It's pretty sad when the team president goes out of his way to make the Nats a national laughing stock"

This, really, is the source of my deep, depressed disgust today. I simply no longer think Kasten cares about how we feel about our team.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 6, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

You would think the lefty arm might do well against the Phils' lefty-laden lineup....

Of course they're the best for a reason. Man, Marquis could deliver a much needed win since no one expects our extremely weak #3 (stammen) to.

Where's the Strasburg official countdown till we get a real ace?

Talk Nats!
http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Posted by: CJArlington | April 6, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, the group sales notion explains the imbalance at the ballpark, anyway. I thought if there were no Phillies fans here, there would be about 10,000 people in the ballpark. So perhaps a willingness to sell to groups early and the deluded notion that you can leverage opening day tickets into season ticket packages gave us what was surely as humiliating an opening say as one can imagine. If the Washington Generals had an opening day, that would have been it. Except the Generals would come to your place, and not make you drive to theirs.

Posted by: markfromark | April 6, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Great to meet you, JiM. Enjoy Target when you go. Say hi to the Wookie.
----------------------
In other news, I had a great time meeting some of the NJ faithful at the exhibition game on Saturday. It was cool to put faces to the names. I hope I don't have to wait another two years to make it out to Nats Park again!

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 6, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 6, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I had not realized that the Phillies fans got busloads of tickets before the DC fans had a chance. I knew yesterday was disgraceful; I had not realized the ownership totally sold the town out. That is just vile. They marketed themselves to MLB as true Washingtonians who would run the franchise accordingly. Now they sell out their own team and fans, rendering us a national joke not only for the product on the field, but for selling out our park to the opposing team. Shameful.

Posted by: NatsFly | April 6, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I know some owners of a bar in Crystal City who say that the Nats have aggressive outreach for group sales. These folks have picked up blocks for several games. Also, other MLB teams will market out of market, too. I'm pretty sure the Os do it. That is still a strange excuse for not retaining some tickets for the game that locals actually do attend - Opening Day.

In the future, the Nats probably ought to do a simple Zip code check. I think Tampa and a few other teams do this to discourage out of towners for big games.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 6, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

So, the take-away here is, next December-January, start checking out the Phillies fan sites for tickets. Buy them up there. Not only are you getting tickets before anyone else, but you're undercutting the Philly market. Infiltrate, in numbers.
Let 'em bring an empty bus down here, and wonder what happened.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 6, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

If you are a Nats season's ticket holder and want to complain about yesterday's Philly invasion, here you go:

stcomments@nationals.com

They do answer them.

Posted by: HistoryBoy | April 6, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised about yesterday's events with the Phillies fans. During the 2008 season I went to see a Nats-Phillies game and I had seats behind the Nats' bullpen. There were about 20 Phillies fans located in seats the area who contstantly heckled the Nats' pitchers as they warmed up, using the vilest language. Finally after a few innings I could not stand it any longer and after one of their profanity-laced outbursts against the Nats, I shouted at them to SHUT UP and go hoome to Philly! So, what happened next? Of course a Nats employee came over to me and told me to stop harassing the Phillies fans or else I would be ejected from the stadium. I could not believe it. I still can't!

Posted by: dontknowdiddley | April 6, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

And while we're on the subject, consider that if it had been 38 degrees and a steady drizzle yesterday (and back in January, who knew?), this wouldn't be so annoying.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 6, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

My son and I left after the grand slam. We were tired of the boorishness of the Phillies fans. Maneuvering through the main concourse during the 7th-inning stretch was quite a challenge, as hundreds of Utleys and Halladays stumbled their way toward the vendors for last call.

We'll be back, but probably not for a Phillies game. (At least my son got a Zimmerman BP home run ball.)

Posted by: chime1211 | April 6, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

My section was at least 60% Philly, many of them loud, obnoxious and generally unpleasant as others have noted. Not looking forward to seeing them at the phone booth if the Phylers remain in 8th place. On the other hand, the woman behind me consistently referred to Placido Polanco as "PP," even going so far as to yell "Let's go PP" numerous times, which my 6 and 9 year old daughters found rather hilarious.

Plenty of bad things to pick on, but I'll point out a few positives: I thought Dunn looked decent at first, he made a nice play on a cutoff that surprised me at one point (he ended up on the third base side of the mound), and the throw home after Desmond's error was also clutch. Morgan was 2-4 with an SB, that's what we need at the top of the lineup (although I agree that more patience is warranted). Pudge looked leaner and quicker than I expected legging out those doubles, with Flores now on the 60-day DL that's looking like a key signing.

Wish list for this season: Strasburg, Storen, Desmond and Maxwell all establish themselves on the major league level; Norris and Espinosa get September call-ups and look like they might contribute in 2011; Dunn gets extended at a reasonable (tradable) number. If most or all of that happens I don't really care about the record.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 6, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Not looking forward to seeing them at the phone booth if the Phylers remain in 8th place.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 6, 2010 2:15 PM

Oh I have the opposite feeling about a Caps-Flyers series. That's exactly what I would want - and the few Flyers fans who could get tickets better show up to Verizon in body armor.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 6, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Last year a Phillies fan kept yelling at Willingham that he was the "stinkingist player on this stinking team." My 9 year old son calmly turned around and said, "no, that would be Daniel Cabrera." It totally shut the guy up. Since they also heckled Chan Ho Park the Phils bullpen didn't even throw them any balls after the game. The Phillies fan who was beside us yesterday was a lot more classy; he just cheered for his team, and shared his giant bag of peanuts with us. He was in the minority from what I saw.

Posted by: p-man | April 6, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I know it's just one game. Only half of the teams start the season with a win. Zuckerman pointed out that the Pirates have a four-year Opening Day win streak. A lot of good it's done them.

But it's also more than one game. The Nats are 1-5 on Opening Day, and have been outscored 45-18.

Lannan said that Opening Day "gets the season going." Typically, though, it gets the season going straight off the cliff. Last year's 0-11 start last year was just another April for Nats fans. Aside from 2005, I can't remember the team even being watchable during the first month of the season.

The ticketing mess is just another manifestation of organizational ineptitude. It's one more indignity we must suffer. It's as if it's an actual goal of ownership to make this team a laughing stock in every conceivable way.

(And if that's their goal, then they're actually succeeding at something.)

I don't want to get bent out of shape over one game. But with this club, it's not just one game. It's emblematic of the true depths of failure this organization has plumbed.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 6, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's get real for a minute no question yesterday was an embarrasment but while watching the broadcast here in Atlanta yesterday i noticed that behind home plate sat a group of Philly fans, i'm thinking damn the Lerners really don't give a damn,on another note let's see if Rizzo has a clue there's kid here in Atlanta named Chevez Clarke who's comes from a baseball family and who's being highly touted,their's a huge article in the ATL.Journ.Const. about this kid who is being described as a five tool player,he's an outfielder and he has signed with G/Tech. and of course they are going crazy about Jason Heyward after yesterday's debut(2/5,3rn/hr) the h/r was 450ft bomb into the Braves bullpen off the Cub's Carlos Zambrano. Gotta go micha just woke up.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 6, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Adam:

I saw on the Bog that you are going to be writing about the Philly bus tour situation, and saw the Kasten response:

"We sell season tickets and book groups all winter long. For every game of the season. All of this is before any individual tickets go on sale. Most of our groups are local. Some are from out of town. It's really that simple."

Problem is, it's not that simple. The Nats could have easily adopted a policy not to allow group sales for Opening Day tickets before the public on-sale date. They could adopt any policy they wanted in order to show their commitment to DC fans and the community; if they wanted to, they could block Philly-based group sales, just like the Caps.

Here are some follow-up questions I have, which I've also suggested to Zuckerman; I hope on of you will run with them:

Did the Nats allow pre-season group sales for the Red Sox games in 2009?

Did the Nats have group sales for the ballpark opener in 2008?

I have a strong suspicion what the answers will be. If I'm right, it shows that it's not as simple as StanK suggests. Policies can be altered. Opening Day is supposed to be special. Apparently the Lerners and StanK don't get that, or they just don't care.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | April 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I've read many of these posts that focus on how the FO is making the team a laughing stock, that ownership is "selling out" on the fans etc.
Maybe this is just a variation on that theme, but my take on this is that ownership could care less about Nats fans and is concerned merely with making a buck. This extends beyond the left, center and right field walls and onto the streets of SE DC, where the Lerners have property for rent and/or sale. Once they get the debt down on the team (which is one of their current excuses for not spending money on free agents), I expect that they will sell, take their profits and run. The team is a cash cow at the present time, but once they run out of excuses (for running the team on the cheap), they're gone.
Or maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part...

Posted by: TimDz | April 6, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

After just one day, familiar patterns, facts, and trends are recurring:

- We have a weird blend of players for a given position (in this case right field) who can neither play that position nor hit. Our "composite" right fielder (Harris plus Tavares plus Guzman plus Maxwell plus Your Name here) is the worst offensive and defensive right fielder in baseball.

- Our starting rotation is made up of hope, happy wishes, and duct tape. Philly has figured Lannan out. The other teams will too.

- Every starting pitcher we face, if you listen to our TV and radio guys, is one of the "Top ten pitchers in baseball" or "Top 5 pitchers in the National League. I laugh when I hear this--they say it so often! This always makes me feel better when we lose.

- Beneath a fog of psychological sports-babble from pitchers and coaches lies one fact: We walk leadoff batters ALL the time. Look for this trend to continue!

- Nats' leaders "like our team and our chances" and they are hearing from ALL the other GMs that the Nats "are a team that's moving in the right direction." This is like the mayor saying "Metro is moving in the right direction" or the UN saying "Beirut is moving in the right direction" or the judge saying "Arenas is moving in the right direction." It is pure charity happy talk, nothing more.

The trend toward Philly fan dominance at Nats Park is also growing. I'd say in 2005 they were 10 percent of fans at RFK for a Nats-Phils game. Yesterday I'd say they were 60 percent. As miserable as Nats fans were to be around these pustules, I bet it gets to 90 percent Phils fans by the late-July series at Nats Park this year.

Posted by: ThinkingOne | April 6, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The answer to the policy changing for Nationals Fans is absolutely not. If they aren't making quota (since they only averaged 54% attendance last year) there is little to no chance they will turn down the opportunity to bring in extra money. If you guys were filling the stadium on your own, sure, absolutely. but if not, why would they shut out the money? They won't.

Posted by: chasin3 | April 6, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Hope, happy wishes and duct tape? MacGyver could fashion some wins out of that, we should hire him as a pitching coach.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Rather than a regulatory approach of limiting ticket access to Philly fans for Nats' games, what about this strategy: build a good team that can beat Philly, so that their fans' ride home is long and painful.

Posted by: EdDC | April 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

please stop insulting duct tape.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | April 6, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Catching up a bit here:

- It was nice to meet you, too, JiM.

- I would have been laughing at the lady's "PP" call right along with you and your daughters, BobL. :-D

- Can't recall which day it was but not too long before OD I received a Nats Insider email inviting me to visit StubHub to purchase tix for the game. I'd already had the opportunity to purchase them as part of a plan (although I didn't do so), but I went to the link out of curiosity. They started at $95 for an outfield upper deck and went up from there. After watching the game on tv, I wondered to myself how upset a Nats fan might having paid that much to experience yesterday's wretched game and Phoolies Phan infestation? And that was before I learned about the winter group sales to said fans. Sorry Stan, but that's bogus.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 6, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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