A strong John Lannan start ended in a poor John Lannan finish as the Nats fell 5-2 to NL East rivals, the New York Mets.
Through five innings, Lannan had allowed only five hits and one earned run. He effectively pitched out of the jams he created, forcing three double play balls and by forcing the Mets to strand runners.
The wheels fell off in the bottom sixth as the Mets officially welcomed the Nationals to their new Citi Field. John Lannan would never record an out. A Castillo double, a Beltran walk and in a flash a Gary Sheffield homer put the Mets on top 4-1. That was it the Nats lefty.
The play didn't come without controversy however. Manny Acta and the Nats argued fan interference on Sheffield's dinger, a la Jeffrey Maier. Despite looking at replay, many Nats fans still believe they Umps got it wrong when they refused to overturn the call.
Coming in to relieve after the delay was Jesus Colome who had problems of his own. He allowed a Fernando Tatis single which drove David Wright from first to third, and a Ramon Martinez sac fly scored Wright, giving the Mets their 5th and final run.
Just like that, the Mets had struck, and the Nats were left behind.
Once again this season we saw Lannan have problems with his accuracy. This is not only evident in his four walks to zero strikeouts on the day, but also his 53 strikes out of 92 pitches. It’s plain and simple, when opposing batters know that the only pitch Lannan can throw for a strike is his sub par fastball, batters are going to wait for that pitch. It has shown this year with the increased number of poked singles off Lannan, as well as the increased numbers of bombs. He’s simply not fooling anyone.
Are we going to have an Austin Kearns Problem?
It amazes me. Elijah Dukes loses his starting job in the spring to Austin Kearns because his numbers are slightly worse in spring training. Then when it becomes evident that Dukes is the premier hitter of the future on our team, our prize centerfielder Lastings Milledge gets sent down after less than 30 at bats.
Yet Austin Kearns, our old stand by. The Man who batted .217 last year into a mysterious season ending injury (torn pride), keeps his job even today. As of last night the mighty Austin Kearns is batting .213, getting on base at .341, slugging a whopping .389, and is serving as a big whole in the middle of the Nats line up.
In the month of May, Kearns is batting .196/.274/.286. He has 16 strikeouts to 4 walks and only four extra base hits.
What’s going on Manny? Stan? Rizzo? Anyone?