A quiet start for Lannan, and that’s a good thing (Nats sweep Mets)

If you were thinking that John Lannan might be a little too hyped up for his first major league start in over five weeks, you don’t really know John Lannan all that well.

The veteran lefty, who isn’t the type to let his emotions affect him too much on the mound, has thrown three scoreless innings to start tonight’s ballgame.

Lannan’s allowed three hits so far, but he hasn’t walked a batter (walks were his issue during his last start with the Nats) and he’s gotten six groundball outs.

In each of his two starts with the Nats this season, Lannan allowed a run in the first inning, but not the case today. He’s kept his sinker down and has pounded the zone with it, mixing in just a few offspeed pitches.

Lannan has thrown just 36 pitches through three, 23 of which have been strikes.

The Nats have given Lannan a 1-0 lead in the fourth thanks to Ryan Zimmerman’s 22nd home run of the season, a solo shot to left-center.

Zimmerman now has RBIs in nine straight games, which sets a Nationals/Expos franchise record according to ESPN Stats & Information. Zimmerman also now has a hitting streak that’s reached 16 games.

Update: Lannan is now through five scoreless innings, and he’s still cruising.

The lefty has thrown just 64 pitches so far and has nine groundball outs. He still is working without much margin for error, as it remains a 1-0 Nats lead, but Lannan is making that lead stand up so far.

Matt Harvey has looked really sharp for the Mets, striking out 10 Nats over five innings. The rookie right-hander (who will be shut down after his next start because of an innings limit, by the way) looks like he’s got top-of-the-rotation type stuff.

Update II: Davey Johnson came out to get Lannan with two on and two out in the sixth, ending the left-hander’s night. Reliever Christian Garcia got the call to bail Lannan out of a jam, and after a shaky first few pitches, he did just that.

After hitting Kelly Shoppach with his first pitch to load the bases, Garcia got Ike Davis to line out to center to end the sixth and keep the Nats on top 1-0.

Another big out recorded by the rookie, who continues to impress.

Lannan, meanwhile, was plenty impressive himself. He allowed five hits and a walk over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two and throwing just 81 pitches. In his three major league starts this season, Lannan has a 2.41 ERA.

Update III: For the second straight night, the Nationals have bolstered a late one-run lead with some late pop. Tonight, Ian Desmond’s solo homer in the eighth has doubled the Nats’ cushion and made it a 2-0 game.

Desmond now has 23 homers on the season. Just a reminder: he had eight last year. That’s how far he’s come.

Update IV: It’s a sweep.

The Nats beat the Mets 2-0, taking all three games in New York and cutting their magic number to clinch the NL East to 12. With the Braves trailing the Brewers 8-2 in the seventh, the magic number could easily be 11 by the end of the night and their division lead could reach a season-best 8 1/2 games.

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