Twice now, Lannan has gotten off to a slow start but earned a win.
The lefty allowed five baserunners in the first two innings of the Nats 7-4 win over the Marlins, then shut Miami down for the next four frames. He got into a bit more trouble in the seventh, allowing two walks and a double. He allowed five walks overall, but still did enough to move to 2-0 on the season.
“I thought he ran out of gas a little bit and I didn’t get to him quite in time,” manager Davey Johnson said. “But another big boost for us. Did a heck of a job.”
What’s been the reason for Lannan’s slow starts during his two big league starts this season?
“I don’t know. Just trying to get into the rhythm of things,” Lannan said. “Just after the (Carlos) Lee at-bat, when I got the double play (in the first inning), I felt a little bit better, but I’ve got to get rid of those walks, you know. Five walks is too much. Got to get back to pitching to contact.”
Throwing strikes and attacking hitters is what has allowed Lannan to have success over his career, and he knows he needs to continue with that mindset. Lannan threw just 49 of his 92 pitches for strikes today.
“I had a tough one in Triple-A last time, I was pitching to contact and got a little hurt. But I’ve just got to keep doing it,” Lannan said. “Sometimes you’re going to have a good one, sometimes you’re going to have a bad one, but you’ve got to give yourself a chance. I think I did that for the most part but I’ve got to get rid of those walks.”
Given that the Nats were up 7-1 in the seventh, Davey Johnson was a little frustrated that he needed to go to Tyler Clippard in the ninth inning to get the save. Drew Storen was unusually wild in the eighth inning, forcing Johnson to work deeper into his ‘pen.
“Oh, most definitely. I didn’t want to use some of the guys I used,” Johnson said. “Storen’s ball was moving everywhere and running about three feet. I didn’t want to have to do what I had to do there. But with him, I didn’t want him to throw that many pitches coming off the injury.
“He’s had really good command. But he threw last night, had great stuff. I think he was pumped up today.”
Lannan’s impact the last couple weeks can’t be overstated. Having a starter who can come up from Triple-A in a pinch and deliver two quality starts and two wins is a benefit which most teams don’t have.
“It’s been outstanding. He’s been a big boost,” Johnson said. “He’s had a rough year having to go down there, but he’ll be back up here soon.”
Now, for the second time in two weeks, Lannan will need to go back to Triple-A Syracuse and wait for the word that he’s coming back to the Nats for good.
“I wish I could stay up here but I know the deal,” Lannan said. “I’ve got to go back down there and keep on working.”