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Game Thread: Washington Nationals at Colorado Rockies- 2008 Game 113 of 162. "'Cool Hand' Lannan In Colorado!...Zim's Return? Milledge vs Raines?"

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On The Hill...

DC's second-year starter John "Cool Hand" Lannan will be facing the Colorado Rockies for the first time when he takes the mound tonight in Coors Field. Jorge De La Rosa's faced the Washington Nationals once before in his 5-year MLB career, when he was with the Milwaukee back on June 4, 2006, dropping a decision for the Brewers to then-Nationals' starter Tony Armas. De La Rosa pitched 5.2 innings in that 8-4 loss, allowing 6 hits, 4 ER, 1 HR and 4 walks, while striking out 3.

So far this season, De La Rosa's (4-1) in 7 starts and 1 relief appearances at home, with a 6.16 ERA in 38.0 innings on the mound, over which he's given up 46 hits, 26 ER's, 7 HR's and 12 walks with 36 K's collected. Lannan's (4-5) in 12 road starts in '08, with a 2.57 ERA in 77.0 innings pitched. Overall in '08, Lannan's (6-11) with a 3.61 ERA in 124.2 innings. With wins in 3 of his last 6 starts, De La Rosa's (5-6) with a 6.94 ERA and 78 K's in 71.1 innings in '08...

"Zimmerman Watch: Mountain Edition" - Federal Baseball's 24-Hour, 22 Hou...12 Hour... Intermittent Dodgy Coverage of the BREAKING NEWS! And ACTION!!......(Once Again With EXTRA! POSSIBLE ACTION!!)...

Washington Post sports writer Chico Harlan has a post entitled, "Exit notes from Coors", at the "Nationals Journal" where Mr. Harlan writes about Washington's plans for their injured third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's return to the lineup following last night's test-run at the plate:

"Ryan Zimmerman was a surprise pinch hitter in the ninth tonight, flying out to center. Said Acta: "Everything indicates that he might be able to start (Tuesday)."

Zimmerman had a small sofa cushion attached to the outside of his right batting glove for protection in the pinch hit at bat, so if Zimmerman is back at third tonight, the first hard throw across the infield should be interesting...

Required Reading For The "Fire Lenny Harris" Crowd:

Again it's Chico Harlan with an article that went up early this morning at washingtonpost.com entitled, "A Test of the Nationals' Patience", which takes a close look at DC Hitting Coach Lenny Harris' approach to the offensive side of the game as exemplified by his work with DC centerfielder Lastings Milledge.

Sample quote:

"Ask Harris about his influences as a hitter, and you'll get an ode to the old artists of bat control -- Tim Raines, for instance, and Pete Rose. Ask Milledge the same question, and in translation, something rearranges: "Well, my dad taught me how to hit, how to be aggressive," Milledge said. "And my older brother, too. He went all the way up to rookie ball. I guess I learned my aggressiveness from him."

Tim Raines vs Lastings Milledge???...Hmmmm???

Lastings Milledge is 23-years old in this, his third season in the Majors, and Milledge has played in 90 games for the Washington Nationals so far in '08...Tim Raines was 21-years old in 1981 when he played 88 games for the Montreal Expos in his third season in the Majors...

Raines - '81 - 88 G, 95 for 313, .304 AVG, 61 R, 13 2B, 7 3B, 5 HR's, 37 RBI's, 71 SB!! .391 OBP, .438 SLG.

Milledge - '08 - 90 G, 82 for 339, .242 AVG, 40 R, 16 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR's, 36 RBI's, 14 SB, .310 OBP, .375 SLG.

Raines was a 5th Round Pick by the Expos in 1977 out Sanford, FL, who spent most of three seasons in Montreal's system before debuting in '79 at 19-years of age and playing just 6 games as an Expo, returning to the Minors for most of the next year, before becoming a full-time Major Leaguer in 1981 at the age of 21...Milledge, a 1st Round Pick by the Mets in 2004 debuted in the Majors at 21-years-old, two months into his 4th year in New York's system, and Milledge played 56 games with the Mets that year, returning the Minors for the start of the '05 campaign, before earning a call-up in late May. Milledge wouldn't become a full-time starter until this season when he was traded to DC.

In the first significant Major League samples cited above...Raines had a clear speed advantage over Milledge with 7 triples and an astonishing 71 stolen bases, (to Milledge's 1 3B and 14 SB), but "The Rock" had that same advantage over all but 4 other players in MLB History. Milledge shows a slight power advantage with a few more doubles and 4 more HR's in just 2 more games played, but his AVG, OBP, and SLG %'s aren't even close to Mr. Raines' efficiency at the plate. Overall, it's obvious that Raines is the better all-around player, but I was surprised that Milledge doesn't embarass himself in this head-to-head since I'd bet 9 out of 10 Nationals' fans would consider Milledge's '08 campaign a struggle/failure/disappointment...(ed. note - "Go ahead, choose your own adjective.")

The Colorado Fans' Perspective: the SBN's Rockies' blog...Purple Row

The Nationals start the drive for five at 9:05 pm EST, which is 7:05 pm in the Rockies, and John "Cool Hand" Lannan will get to see how his stuff works in Denver's mile-high air...Lannan vs De La Rosa. Who's Watching The New Nationals? See What The Rumpus Is For Yourself...