Take one of, if not the best pitchers in the National League, and have him face an .059 hitter. More often than not, the pitcher will prevail without breaking a sweat.
Not today, however.
John Lannan doubled his RBI total for the year - and raised that average to a sizzling .081 - in the second inning at Nationals Park this afternoon by doubling in a pair of runs off of Adam Wainwright. The Nats added two more in the third on a Michael Morse home run and went on to beat the Cardinals 4-2, taking 3-out-of-4 this weekend. Lannan's had a solid month in August, with 4 victories and a 3.25 ERA in 6 starts. With 31 games left John figures to get at least 5 more starts, and has an outside shot at 10 victories, which would be a career high, particularly impressive given that he spent about 5 weeks in the minor leagues.
The other bit of pitching news involves the ballclub signing Livan Hernandez to a contract extension. The ageless righthander has turned back the clock this season, pitching to a 3.49 ERA through 175 innings. Livo signed a minor league contract with the Nationals in February as rotation insurance, and has justified the transaction threefold: he's been an innings eater, he's led the staff in wins, and he's mentored the younger arms in the clubhouse. He's made no secret of the fact that he loves Washington, and the club has reciprocated.
Can he pitch 'til he's 40, like he says he intends to? Not sure I'd bet against it.