John Lannan looks to continue his streak
John Lannan gets his turn on the mound tonight and Nats fans are hoping that he has regained his stride. He is throwing with confidence after he dealt with a little midseason adversity and Double-A demotion. His hair is longer and he wears his socks low but those are just minor changes.
“John really did a good job for us in his last start,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “He got us into the sixth inning. He got us deep enough in the ballgame where we had good bullpen matchups. I felt the ball was sinking pretty good. His change-up and breaking balls were pretty good, so, knock on wood, it looks like he is back on track.”
The major changes include three wins in just four tries since being recalled from Double-A Harrisburg. Those three wins came after a no-decision and mark the first time Lannan has won three consecutive starts in his career. He failed to win even three games in the first 14 contests he played prior to the Minor League stint. His ERA at the time was 5.76, but his ERA in the four games since is 3.09. Lannan looks like the pitcher who gave the Nationals plenty of innings the previous two years.
“I feel that I’m close, and I’m going to keep on getting better with each start,” Lannan said. “The main thing for me is to go out there and be confident in my stuff and throw each pitch with a purpose. I’m more sure of my stuff since I came back.”
Willie Harris agrees. “They sent him down to the Minor Leagues. He went down there, persevered and faced a lot of adversity,” he said. “He came back. He is a different person.”
The Nationals could use Lannan’s positive momentum tonight after last night’s forgettable 9-1 defeat. And luckily, Lannan understands what it takes to come out of a rut.
“It was an experience that I wouldn’t take back. One thing I did learn was to take the positives from each day no matter how bad the day is. Just work on what you thought was positive and move forward.”
Hopefully he is able to instill that mindset in the rest of his teammates tonight.
1. Blake DeWitt – 2B
2. Starlin Castro – SS
3. Xavier Nady – 1B
4. Aramis Ramirez – 3B
5. Jeff Baker – RF
6. Geovany Soto – C
7. Alfonso Soriano – LF
8. Tyler Colvin – CF
9. Carlos Zambrano – SP (4-6, 4.97 ERA)
*Last night, starting pitcher Casey Coleman earned his first Major League win and collected his first Major League hit with an RBI single in the 5th inning.
1. Nyjer Morgan – CF
2. Adam Kennedy – 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
4. Adam Dunn – 1B
5. Roger Bernadina – LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez – C
7. Michael Morse – RF
8. Alberto Gonzalez – SS
9. John Lannan – SP (5-5, 5.13 ERA)
*Currently hitting .301, Ryan Zimmerman is attempting to become the first Major League third baseman based out of DC to hit .300-plus since “Buddy” Lewis hit .317 for the 1940 Washington Senators.
*The bullpen has fanned 8.20 batters per 9.0 innings this season, a tally that if maintained would be the best single-season mark posted by a Nationals bullpen since MLB returned to DC.