Happy Birthday John Lannan

There could be showers on the way–most likely rains showers and possibly champagne showers. The tarp has been off the infield for a while but it is still in the outfield. The Nats didn’t take outdoor batting practice either. The Nats have zero control of the rain showers and can only do so much for preventing the Phillies from celebrating the NL East title at Nationals Park. The Phillies magic number is 1, meaning it will take a magical event for the Phillies to not celebrate at Nats Park. Even if the Nats sweep the series, it won’t prevent the Phillies from clinching unless the Braves sweep the Marlins in Atlanta. It seems inevitable that the champagne will be off the ice one of these next three days.

It is hard to believe just 25 weeks ago, John Lannan and Roy Halladay toed the rubber to begin the 2010 season at Nationals Park. Ryan Zimmerman hit a RBI double in the first inning but that was all the offense they could muster in the 11-1 loss. Halladay hasn’t allowed a run against the Nationals since the first inning on Opening Day. It sounds more impressive than it actually is but it is a stretch that has lasted 13.0 innings. Lannan and Halladay take the mound again tonight.

A win for Halladay would give him a Major League-best 21 wins and could sway a few votes his way in a very tight NL Cy Young race. He is also pitching on five days rest which is only notable since he is 8-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 starts when he gets five days of rest. A win for Lannan will tie his career high of nine, but more importantly would continue his impressive surge since he was called up from Double-A Harrisburg. The shaggy-haired southpaw is 6-2 with a 3.16 ERA (62.2 IP/ 22ER) in 10 starts. Not that Lannan needs any additional motivation but it is his birthday, 26th birthday at that. There isn’t anything significant about turning 26 but it will be a memorable night with a win against the Phillies. He pitched on his birthday two years ago–a loss against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. If he gets the win today, he will become the second Nationals starter to pocket a win on his birthday this season. Can you name the first pitcher?

*Jim Lett’s legion of bullpen arms ranks third in MLB since the All-Star break with a 2.95 ERA. Only postseason contenders San Diego (2.75) and Atlanta (2.78) have fared better. Oh it gets better, Washington’s 2.07 bullpen ERA in September ranks second in MLB behind only San Francisco (1.29).


Phillies (93-63):

1.    Shane Victorino – CF

2.    Placido Polanco – 3B

3.    Chase Utley – 2B

4.    Ryan Howard – 1B

5.    Jayson Werth – RF

6.    Raul Ibanez – LF

7.    Carlos Ruiz – C

8.    Wilson Valdez – SS

9.    Roy Halladay – SP (20-10, 2.53 ERA)

 Nationals (67-89):

1.      Danny Espinosa – 2B

2.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

3.      Ian Desmond – SS

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Michael Morse – RF

6.      Roger Bernadina – LF 

7.      Wilson Ramos – C

8.      Alberto Gonzalez – 3B

9.      John Lannan – SP (8-7, 4.58 ERA)

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