The Nationals hand the ball to Opening Day starter John Lannan tonight against the Chicago Cubs.
Lannan has battled back from a strained flexor tendon himself and is enjoying the best streak of his career, having won his last three starts without allowing more than two runs in each of those games.
“I am just rolling with it right now,” Lannan said.
“I am feeling pretty confident out there. Everything is falling into place after I started a little weak. Defense is playing well behind me. The catchers have called great games and I just got to keep on pitching.”
Lannan has gone deep into games because he hasn’t allowed the opponent to get that momentum-turning hit at the wrong time.
“That is the big thing for me. Before I was giving up hits but I wouldn’t stop the bleeding. Now I am stopping the bleeding. It is the confidence that I know in a big situation I can throw my pitch and get the guy out,” Lannan said.
This recent success is making his trip to Harrisburg a distant memory, but Lannan said that was an important moment in his season.
“As fast as I got up here it was just as fast when I went down. It was a wake up call for sure. It is not that I took anything for granted, but it opened my eyes and (I realized) how grateful I am (to have the chance to pitch in the big leagues).”
“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.”
That positive motion is what the Nats need to bounce out of this recent losing string, falling in five of their last seven games. He set the Nats straight with a win in Atlanta last week and will try to do the same again tonight versus the Cubs.