Results tagged ‘ John Lannan ’

What to Watch for: 6.17.13

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Washington Nationals (34-34) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (33-37)

RHP Dan Haren (4-8, 5.70) vs. LHP John Lannan (0-1, 6.14) 

The Nationals make their first of three trips to Philadelphia this season as they open a three-game set against former teammate John Lannan at Citizens Bank Park. Dan Haren toes the rubber for Washington, as the club looks to push back over the .500 mark for the season.


1. Kobernus CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. Desmond SS

6. Marrero 1B

7. Suzuki C

8. Lombardozzi LF

9. Haren RHP


Ian Desmond has reached base safely in 18 straight contests, pocketing a .364 batting average (24-for-66) and .417 on-base percentage with five walks, four doubles, three homers, eight runs scored and 13 RBI over that span. Desmond has recorded hits in 16 of the aforementioned 18 games, including a career-best 15-game hit streak. Defensively, Desmond has played a career-high 49 consecutive errorless games (200 total chances) since last committing a miscue on April 21 at New York (NL), marking the longest current streak of its kind among big league shortstops.


The Hagerstown Suns yesterday secured a postseason berth with a 38-29 (.567) first-half record in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division. Manager Tripp Keister’s Suns have won their last three contests and are 5-1 in their last six games. Last week, Brian Daubach’s Potomac Nationals (42-27, .609) grabbed a postseason spot when they were crowned the Carolina League’s First Half Northern Division Champs.


Washington is 18-12 (.600) against the Phillies under Davey Johnson, including a 4-1 mark in one-run contests. Before going 10-8 against the Phillies in 2011, the Nationals/Expos had won only two season series from Philadelphia the previous 14 years.

2012 Player Review: Ross Detwiler

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The Washington Nationals enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, recording the best record in Major League Baseball. The team relied on the contributions of many different players, whom we will catalogue throughout the offseason as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign. With Election Day behind us, we move to our favorite, politics-based nickname on the team, The National Det himself, Ross Detwiler.

With all the breakout seasons from various members of the Nationals in 2012, it can be easy to overlook just how good Ross Detwiler pitched. In fact, most fans have probably forgotten by this point that John Lannan was expected to occupy Detwiler’s place in the starting rotation until the final day of Spring Training, when the announcement was made that Detwiler had earned his place as the number five starter. And while Detwiler yielded his starting spot temporarily to Chien-Ming Wang upon the latter’s return from the Disabled List, he didn’t remain in the bullpen for long, finishing the year back in the rotation.

Detwiler quietly proved to be a reliable starter in Davey Johnson’s rotation.

The key for Detwiler was finding the right balance of his two fastballs – a lively four-seamer that runs up in the mid-90s and a sinking two-seamer a couple miles-per-hour slower – and his developing off-speed pitches. He found that balance over his best stretch of the season from June 12 to August 2, a period in which he threw 49.2 innings with a 2.17 ERA, and 29 strikeouts to just 11 walks. While the southpaw has never been an overwhelming “strikeout pitcher,” he learned to pitch to contact to a greater degree this season. That helped him to his first career 10-win campaign, along with a huge performance in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

Detwiler posted very similar overall numbers to those in his 2011 campaign, allowing 8.2 hits, 0.8 homers and 2.8 walks while striking out 5.8 per nine innings (8.6/1.0/2.7/5.6 in ’11). He lowered his WHIP ever so slightly from 1.26 to 1.22. His .241 batting average against ranked 14th among qualifying starters in the National League, just ahead of Ryan Vogelsong and Edwin Jackson, and also lower than rotation-mate Jordan Zimmermann.

Off the field, Detwiler and Jackson happily adopted the moniker of “The Other Guys” during the season, as the two members of the rotation happy to stay out of the wake of publicity surrounding Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Zimmermann. His easy-going, light-hearted personality allowed him to stay even-keeled through the rotation debates and the ebbs and flows throughout the year.

Although Detwiler pitched just 66.0 Major League innings in 2011, his combined total, including his Triple-A workload, was 153.1 frames. He topped that by 11.0 innings in 2012, not signifying a significant increase, but obviously held up fairly well at the end of the year, if Game 4 of the NLDS was any indication. Detwiler’s left arm should be well prepared to handle another increase in innings as a full-time starter in 2013, when he will enter his first year of arbitration. The Nationals have the 26 year-old southpaw under team control through the 2015 season.


Some Motivation

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Around 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, after the Nationals take the field for their first home playoff game, the first in the franchise’s annals since the Montreal Expos in 1981, and the first in Washington’s Major League history since 1933, one song will blare out from the ballpark’s speakers, the chosen song of the home nine’s starting pitcher. After everything the Washington fan base has abided to get to this momentous day – from decades of postseason absence, to franchises twice leaving the District, to finally, a winning team being built from scratch to deliver this day – the song is appropriately entitled: “Waiting.”

You know the world is waiting…

Waiting on 103

The collected, experienced Edwin Jackson leads the Nationals into Game 3 of the NLDS.

For the Nationals fan base, it is waiting on Game 3. Their designated starter, the man who will take the hill with this music pumping behind him, will be looking to reestablish the team’s dominance at home, facing off in what has become a best-of-three series in D.C. between the upstart Nationals and the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, following a successful split of the first two games on the road. Now Washington will look to Edwin Jackson, who was a key part of that championship team against whom he will pitch on Wednesday, to deliver as he has done all year long.

We need some motivation,

So won’t you come motivate me?

When the Nationals made the surprise free agent signing of the offseason, inking Jackson to a one-year deal to bolster their starting rotation, many were caught off-guard. An already full rotation was now actually overflowing, prompting the eventual decision to start John Lannan at Triple-A to begin the season. And while it could be argued that Jackson was brought in to do what he has already done – post a double-digit win total and rack up nearly 200 innings in the middle of the rotation – he was really signed by EVP of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo with Wednesday’s Game 3 in mind.

“You have to treat every inning like it’s the ninth inning,” stressed Jackson at his press conference Tuesday of the added pressure of starting in the postseason.

Jackson has been in this position before, pitching for the other side last season.

On a team full of rookies and other young players and a rotation with no postseason experience of any kind, Jackson is the elder statesman, the veteran, the man who has been to the top of the mountain before. He has twice pitched in the postseason, twice in the World Series, for two different teams in two different leagues. He has taken on the Red Sox and the Phillies, the Brewers and the Rangers, and made three starts as a part of that 2011 St. Louis team that won it all. It is only fitting that the same team, a year later, now stands in the Nationals way as they attempt to advance to the NLCS.

Thanks to that experience, Jackson is able to keep a clear mind about the task in front of him, to keep everything in perspective.

“No one has to be a hero,” he explained. “We just need to go out and play the game we know how to play.”

Last year, after the Cardinals had lost Game 3 of the NLDS to the Phillies and found themselves down, two games to one in the best-of-five format, they handed the ball to Jackson with their season on the line. The strong righty allowed two runs in the first inning, but shut down the potent Philadelphia offense (one that had scored 11 runs in the first game of the series) the rest of the way en route to a 5-3 victory. St. Louis went on to win Game 5, and of course, the rest is history.

I done told y’all, and told y’all, and told y’all again

Play the game, play the game, play the game yeah to win

There will also be a measure of revenge available for Jackson, who struggled through his toughest start of the year in St. Louis earlier this month. However, lest Cardinals fans jump to quickly to the conclusion that they will find the same kind of success against Jackson here in Washington, they need only look back at Jackson’s start on August 30, in which he allowed a single unearned run on just four hits, striking out 10 over 8.0 masterful innings in an 8-1 Nationals victory over St. Louis. That contest was part of a four-game set in which Washington pummeled the Cardinals to the tune of a 31-14 score over the series, winning three times.

I ain’t lose, I don’t lose, I ain’t lose, never lost

Always on, keepin’ on, always on, never off

With emotions likely to be running high in the first Major League Postseason game in D.C. in 79 years, it’s hard to think of anyone better than the calm, collected Jackson taking the hill for the Nationals.

Letting It Soak In

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Every signature moment in this 2012 Washington Nationals season has composed its own storyline. With dramatic victories woven throughout the tapestry of a thrilling campaign, it would have been understandable to expect some sort of coup de gras to cap off a season’s worth of celebration. Maybe the Nationals didn’t provide the storybook clinching moment that television producers dream of, with a dog-pile on the pitcher’s mound, as they missed their first chance to wrap up the division title on Sunday in St. Louis. There was a pretty brilliant, sparkling silver lining, though, knowing that the team would return home leading by 3.0 games with three games left on the regular season slate.

That presented the opportunity to clinch the division at home against the five-time defending division champion Phillies, who had thrice celebrated their own glory with wins over the Nationals. But what if Washington didn’t win, and instead had to rely on Atlanta, one of the hottest teams in baseball down the stretch, to lose? Would that turn of events scrub some of the luster from Washington’s shiny division crown?

The Nationals clinched the 2012 NL East title at home Monday night.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 24 hours before the division would be decided, Nationals broadcaster Dave Jageler refused to allow such a scenario to take anything away from the accomplishment.

“There’s no such thing as ‘backing in’ when you win 96 games,” he declared.

Based on the celebrations taking place on the field Monday night – after the Nationals 2-0 loss to the Phillies became a mere footnote in their 2012 National League East Championship season, thanks to the Braves 2-1 defeat in Pittsburgh – the players agreed. While they maintained their composure nearly two weeks earlier, following the clinch of the first postseason berth in D.C. baseball since 1933, they held nothing back upon taking the division.

They jumped around in jubilation, spraying each other with any beverage available. When Mike Rizzo was being interviewed live on MASN, Wilson Ramos emptied an entire bottle of champagne over his head. As soon as players huddled together in the clubhouse in celebration, Michael Morse unleashed a tidal wave of water from a Gatorade bucket into the middle of the fray. By the end of the night, Jayson Werth’s home white number 28 jersey was stained pink from his red undershirt bleeding through the mix of beverages.

Werth has bounced back with a great year, helping mentor Harper along the way.

“It was kind of odd,” said Werth, of the way the evening unfolded. “We’re getting beat, but we’re celebrating. But this team deserves this. We’ve come a long way.”

This was, after all, what Werth envisioned when he made the decision to leave the team occupying the visitor’s dugout for the final series of the regular season to join the Nationals before the 2011 campaign. He has become a leader on this Washington club, not only taking rookie Bryce Harper under his wing, but guiding the offense at the top of the lineup since his return from a broken wrist in early May. He is batting .308 with a .392 on-base percentage, scoring 32 runs over 53 games during that span, and his ability to continue to set the table will be key for the Nationals in the postseason.

“It’s gratifying, it’s quite an accomplishment,” he said, of winning the division. “We’ve come quite a long way in a very short time, and we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a good young club. I think we should do this every year.”

Before Werth’s strong stretch drive, and before Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse helped Washington assert itself as one of the National League’s top offensive clubs in the second half of the season, another veteran made his biggest mark on this team. Adam LaRoche carried the club through the early part of the year, on his way to matching his career-high in home runs with 32, sitting just one RBI shy of the century mark with two games to play. For his efforts, he will be rewarded with his first trip to the postseason since 2005.

Adam LaRoche hugs daughter Montana during the on-field celebration.

“It means a lot personally,” said LaRoche as he gazed up from the field at the fans behind the Nationals dugout, still screaming and cheering nearly an hour after the end of the game. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the playoffs.”

Asked if he had forgotten the feeling of clinching, the mix of ecstasy, accomplishment and relief, he admitted that he had.

“You do, when it’s been this long,” he said. “You see the other team celebrate, you want to be out there and be a part of it. There’s a big difference.”

Amid the mess of congratulatory hugs, handshakes and post-game interviews, one tall, shaggy-haired man stood to the side, shivering in the cool fall night, his freshly printed NL East Champions shirt already steeped in celebration. Perhaps no man’s journey to standing on this field, literally soaking in the division title, was as trying as John Lannan’s, who took his first loss in six starts for the Nationals this season Monday night, despite pitching well yet again. It was his first start, the back-end of a doubleheader on July 21, that proved to be a turning point for Washington, stopping the division-rival Braves after they had narrowed the division gap to a game-and-a-half, never letting them pull any closer. Looking up at the fans, he was happy to enjoy every bit of the moment at hand.

Gio Gonzalez embraces Mark Lerner and waves to the crowd.

“This has been awesome,” he said of the celebration. “These guys (the fans), they deserve it as much as we do. It’s something special. I’m just glad to be a part of it. The win would have been icing on the cake, but as soon as the champagne was popped, it was all forgotten.”

The man who seemed to be enjoying the moment the most, though, may have been Gio Gonzalez, who alternated celebrating with his teammates, family and the fans, ducking in and out of interviews. His Cy Young-worthy season has marked the difference between a team that may have simply been competitive and one that has brought the first division title to D.C. in 79 years. Coming from an Oakland team that never made the playoffs during his tenure, his first taste of such success left him living in the moment, riding the wave of emotion, not worrying yet about the challenges that lie ahead.

“This is unbelievable,” he exclaimed. “I don’t want to wake up, boys. I’m still dreaming.”

Here’s to hoping the dream doesn’t end until November.

What to Watch For: 10/1

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Philadelphia Phillies (80-79) vs. Washington Nationals (96-63)

RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.08) vs. LHP John Lannan (4-0, 4.23)

The Nationals return to D.C. for the final homestand of the regular season to face the division-rival Phillies, needing just one more win to secure their first-ever National League East title. John Lannan, who defeated Philadelphia on the road just five days ago, takes the hill against Kyle Kendrick in a rematch of that game’s starters.


From manager Davey Johnson, who actually answered when he would like to play in the first round of the playoffs, despite being asked whom he would prefer to face:

“I’d like to play Sunday.”

The team that finishes the National League with the best record will open their NLDS series on Sunday rather than Saturday, as they await the Wild Card winner from Friday.


1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Lannan LHP


Bryce Harper is coming off a road trip in which he went 12-for-24 with six extra-base hits (2 2B, 3B, 3 HR), raising his batting average 11 points along the way. Harper has hit in seven straight games and needs just two home runs to tie Tony Conigliaro for most home runs ever by a teenager (24). 


Coming off a win in his last start, John Lannan takes to the hill against the Phillies for the second time in five days. Including his win last Wednesday at Philadelphia, Lannan has won his last two starts against the Phillies, after going 1-12 in first 15 career starts against Philadelphia.


One year ago today (Oct. 1, 2011), the third-place Nationals trailed the first-place Phillies in the NL East final standings by 21.5 games. This year, the two clubs have swapped spots in the standings as Washington holds a 16.0-game advantage over the third-place Phillies. Washington is 14-10 against the Phillies since Davey Johnson became manager, including a 4-1 mark in one-run games. Before going 10-8 against the Phillies in ‘11, the Nationals/Expos had won only two season series from PHI the previous 14 years.


October 1, 1924: The District celebrates the Senators, as a crowd of 100,000 lines Pennsylvania Avenue to greet the American League champions in a victory parade. The team visits President Calvin Coolidge, who promises he’ll attend Game One of the World Series against the Giants, at the White House.


Stepping Up

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The takeaway moment from Wednesday night’s NationalsPhillies tilt in Philadelphia will undoubtedly be Jayson Werth’s final at-bat in the top of the ninth. After electing not to throw a foul ball that had made its way to him in the batter’s circle into the crowd, Werth instead paused and lobbed it into the Washington dugout. That sparked a reign of boos from the half-empty Citizen’s Bank Park, easily the most passionate reaction of the entire evening. After Danny Espinosa struck out, leaving runners at the corners with two outs for Werth, the crowd rose to a fever pitch as their former player dug into the batter’s box.

Jayson Werth’s reemergence atop the Nationals lineup has personified the power shift in the NL East.

The Phillies had fallen behind early, thanks to a trio of Washington home runs from Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki’s second-inning blast, the Nationals third in their first eight batters of the game, gave Washington 183 home runs on the season, as the club continued to distance itself from the previous franchise record of 178 set back in 2000 in Montreal. It also gave them a 5-0 lead at which the home team slowly chipped away. After single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, the advantage stood at just 5-4 in the top of the ninth as Werth dug in.

He lunged at the first pitch off the outside corner, fouling it away for strike one. He then got buzzed on a fastball up and in from Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, to the rave reviews of everyone in the stands wearing a P on their foreheads. Werth then uncharacteristically chased a breaking ball off the plate away, swinging through it for strike two as the crowd again roared its collective approval. Lost in the drama of the moment, Kurt Suzuki took off on the next pitch, ball two, stealing second without a throw. The play would prove enormous, as Werth served De Fratus’ next offering straight past the pitcher, the ball bounding past a helpless Jimmy Rollins into center field, sucking the air out of the ballpark and plating both runners to open up a 7-4 advantage.

“That’s a big-time lineup over there,” said Werth of the Phillies, preferring to focus on the significance of the moment within the game rather than the fanfare surrounding it. “To push a couple across to extend the lead at this point in time in the season, emotions are running high, and I was just happy to get the runs across.”

John Lannan continued to be quietly effective, moving to 4-0 in 2012.

Harper would then drive Werth home on an RBI-triple to provide the final margin, but Jayson’s hit – and the crowd’s reaction to it – provided the highest drama of the evening. They also overshadowed the story that is quietly chugging along, that of John Lannan’s reemergence.

If it weren’t for a throwing error in the third and a bit of bad luck in the fourth, the Nationals lefty may well have carried a shutout into the sixth inning. As it was, he allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work to improve to 4-0 in his five starts since returning to the Washington rotation. And while every game in a pennant race is important, Lannan continues to find himself on some of the biggest stages, tasked with the challenge of leading the Nationals to victory when they need it most.

“I’ve been in that situation here so many times and come up short,” he explained after the game, acknowledging some his own personal struggles pitching in Philly. “I told myself I wouldn’t do that again.”

He described the game as an adrenaline rush from the first inning on, but clearly something about that pressure seems to bring out the best in his game.

“If you don’t want the ball in those situations, you’re in the wrong game.”

What to Watch For: 9/26

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Washington Nationals (93-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (78-76)

LHP John Lannan (3-0, 4.43) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 3.89)

The Nationals send the second of three consecutive southpaws against the Phillies as John Lannan takes the mound at Citizens Bank Park opposite Kyle Kendrick. Washington has alternated wins and losses over its past eight games after dropping the series opener last night.


From manager Davey Johnson on Steve Lombardozzi getting a shot to start at second base tonight for the first time in a while after starting regularly earlier in the year:

“He was probably playing as good as anybody. His playing time has diminished, but he can play.”


1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Lannan LHP


The Nationals currently pace the Major Leagues in run differential. MLB’s top 3: Washington (+139), Texas (+118) and New York (AL) (+106). The Nationals have allowed the fewest runs (556) in MLB.


Washington is 13-10 in September and remains MLB’s only team to have played winning baseball every month this year: August (19-10), July (17-9), June (15-10), May (15-13), April (14-8). Including a 17-10 mark in Sept. ’11, Washington has posted six straight winning months.


Just two RBI shy of the century mark, Adam LaRoche looks to become just the third player to record a 100-RBI season in a Nationals uniform, joining Ryan Zimmerman (‘06, ‘09) and Adam Dunn (‘09-10)…the Nationals mark for RBI in a season was accomplished when Zimmerman drove home 110 as a rookie in 2006. Ryan Zimmerman needs just 6 to reach the 100-RBI plateau. After a slow start offensively, he has tallied 72 of his 94 RBI in his last 82 contests (beginning June 24).


All About the Matchups

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Whenever two good teams tangle for a series, the difference in the game often rides on the starting pitching matchups. Make no mistake – despite being eliminated from National League East contention last week and sitting on the brink of missing the postseason entirely, the Phillies are certainly a good team. Since bottoming out on July 13 at 37-51 following a 6-2 loss at Colorado, Philadelphia has gone 41-25. To put that in perspective, the Nationals are 43-27 over the same span, with the Braves coming in at 42-26 during that time. Arguably the biggest difference between the Phillies slightly above .500 campaign and the Nationals division leading season was Washington’s ability to weather early season injuries with its depth compared to Philadelphia’s inability to do the same.

The Nationals have 20-game winner and Cy Young candidate Gio Gonzalez looming in the series finale.

Behind Cole Hamels, the Phillies defeated the Nats 6-3 in the series opener on Tuesady night. While Ross Detwiler – who has pitched extremely well all season long, carrying a top 10 ERA in the National League into last night’s contest – shouldered the blame for the loss, Tuesday night’s game was arguably one the Phillies should have won. They had Hamels throwing, their best pitcher all season long, and perhaps their best overall at this point as he enters his prime and considering their other aces’ age. It was a matchup that, at least on paper, favored the home team.

Looking ahead at the series finale, the Nationals have Gio Gonzalez, their 20-game winner, ace and Cy Young candidate slated to pitch. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has yet to announce their starter, after pulling back Roy Halladay, who has struggled through an up-and-down season. Whomever they fill Halladay’s slot with will understandably be an underdog in a head-to-head matchup with Gonzalez. Which brings us to the swing game, tonight.

The Nationals will again turn to John Lannan in a big spot.

Now the series turns to John Lannan and Kyle Kendrick, two back-of-the-rotation starters in a nationally televised game (ESPN 2) that seems like a toss-up on paper. Kendrick has gone 1-1 in four appearances (three starts) against the Nationals this year. Meanwhile, Lannan faces off against the Phillies for the first time in 2012 after going just 2-4 against them overall in 2011, but winning two of the final three matchups, including his final victory of the year on September 21 at Citizens Bank Park.

Manager Davey Johnson prefers to throw left-handed starters, like Lannan, against the lefty heavy lineup that Philadelphia features. He reconstructed the rotation to start three consecutive southpaws for this series, knowing it might give him an edge. Hamels safely in the rear-view mirror, the focus is on what’s in front of the Nationals.

“We’ve just got to win tomorrow,” said Johnson Tuesday night. “It’s going to be a battle until the end.”

Up four games in the National League East with eight to play, a win would leave their Magic Number to clinch the division at no higher than four at night’s end. That’s how the Nationals have gotten where they are, winning the swing games of series, leading to overall series wins. It’s what has helped them go 30-11-8 in series play this season, including a 15-6-3 mark on the road.

Recently, the Nationals have traded wins and losses over their last eight games. They are hoping that trend continues for one more night to give them a chance at another series win on Thursday.

What to Watch For: 9/19 – Game 2

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Los Angeles Dodgers (76-72) vs. Washington Nationals (90-57)

RHP Josh Beckett (6-13, 4.94) vs. LHP John Lannan (3-0, 2.41)

The Nationals took the opening game of the doubleheader, the series and the homestand with a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers earlier this afternoon. Washington reduced its NL East Magic Number to nine and its postseason Magic Number to one, and can earn a playoff berth with a win behind John Lannan in Game 2.


1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Flores C

9. Lannan LHP


With a Game 1 victory, The Nationals have become the first baseball team from the Nation’s Capital to reach the 90-win threshold since the 99-win ‘33 AL Nationals 79 years ago. Those ‘33 AL Nationals posted win No. 90 via a 7-3 home victory on September 10 vs. Cleveland.

Taking the ball in game two of today’s doubleheader, John Lannan looks to become the first Nationals pitcher ever to earn the win in each of his first four starts in a single season. In his last outing one week ago, he spun 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing five hits while striking out nine along the way in Washington’s 2-0 win over the Mets. While he has yet to face Los Angeles yet in 2012, Lannan is 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA (9 ER/30.2 IP) in five career starts versus the Dodgers.


What to Watch For: 9/14

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Washington Nationals (89-54) vs. Atlanta Braves (81-63)

LHP Ross Detwiler (9-6, 3.23) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (8-1, 1.64)

The Nationals are coming off an off day following their three-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field. Tonight, they open their final regular season matchup against the division-rival Braves in Atlanta as Ross Detwiler looks to join the double-digit wins club.


1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP


John Lannan earned his third win in three big league starts this season as Washington completed a three-game road sweep of Mets with a 2-0 victory on Wednesday night at Citi Field. After a 24-start stint with Triple-A Syracuse, Lannan jumped back into the Nationals rotation and fired 5.2 scoreless Innings. Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond hit solo shots to provide the offense for Lannan and five relievers, who combined on Washington’s ninth shutout of the season. With the win, the Nationals improved to a season-high 35 games above .500 and their lead in the NL East rose to a franchise-best 8.5 games.


The Nationals next victory will be their 90th of the season. The last team from the Nation’s Capital to reach the 90-win threshold was the 99-win ‘33 AL Nationals, 79 years ago.


Washington has scored at least five runs in 10 of 15 games against Atlanta this year. Having already clinched the ‘12 season series, the Nationals are 3-1-1 in season series play against the Braves dating to ‘08. Beginning with Ryan Zimmerman’s memorable game-ending homer on March 30, 2008 to open Nationals Park, Washington is 49-38 (.563) overall against Atlanta. Since landing in D.C. in ‘05, Washington has more wins over the Braves (73) than any other club (Mets, 70). Washington has also won 17 of 28 games at Turner Field dating to Oct. 2009. Chipper Jones’ 23 homers against the Nationals (2005-pres.) rank third behind only Ryan Howard (35) and Hanley Ramirez (27).


September 14, 1947: In the first game of doubleheader sweep, Detroit’s Vic Wertz hits for the cycle as Detroit thumps the AL Nationals, 16-6, at Griffith Stadium.

September 14, 2011: The Nationals blank the Mets, 2-0, at Citi Field as Brad Peacock tosses five scoreless innings to garner the win in his second big league start.