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Nats 4, Mets 0

This is the mold -- the cast for your ideal John Lannan start. In Tuesday's 4-0 shutout against the Mets, perhaps the cleanest ballgame for the Nats this year (and certainly the best win -- wink, wink -- of the Jim Riggleman tenure), Lannan threw 106 pitches, 80 strikes. He walked nobody. He retired 17 of his final 19. He threw first-pitch strikes to the last 11 hitters. He forced two double plays, induced 17 groundouts, recorded the final out with 23,414 standing. Oh, and then handed he handed gameball to Riggleman.

In my gamer, I go heavy on the John Lannan quotes. He said a lot of fascinating stuff after this game, talking about his preparation (in atypical fashion, he looked at minimal video, simply because he's getting that comfortable with the NL East circuit), his breakthrough confidence this year, and a realization about what he can do.

Asked about what he's learned this year, Lannan said, "I'm very deceptive. If a guy is mis-hitting an 88-mph fastball, there's something going on. There has to be a little bit of funk. That has to help me trust my stuff a little bit better. Last year I nibbled a lot on the corners; even the first two starts this year I was nibbling on the corners. [But since then] I haven't had that feeling of nibbling this year. Because I have that trust in my fastball, where it doesn't have to be 95 mph. There's something in my delivery that throws the hitter off just a little bit. It might be late movement, but I've learned that I can trust my fastball."

Here's another thing about Lannan, the subtext for his consistency.

He's been here since Day 1.

The three other pitchers to break camp in Washington's starting rotation -- Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera and Shairon Martis -- are, in order, on the DL, on the unemployment line, and in the minors. And what about those Opening Day relievers? Joel Hanrahan, gone. Saul Rivera, gone. Wil Ledezma, gone. Steven Shell, gone. Julian Tavarez, gone. Mike Hinckley, gone.

Really, it's just Lannan and Joe Beimel who've lasted. And Beimel was on the DL for a while. And he might still be traded.

Lannan has become this team's steadying force. Or, as Ryan Zimmerman put it, "He's really got that mindset this year, and he's become our guy. He's really maturing and becoming a great pitcher."

By Chico Harlan  |  July 21, 2009; 10:52 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Catching Up With Jesus Flores
Next: Looking Back: July 22, 2008


Way to go John Lannan, the jury is still out on whether your an ace or not but your still the best card this team has to play.

Posted by: jpt1002 | July 21, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

and a classy move with the game ball. Did Riggleman give it back?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 21, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Or did Lannan tell him, "No, you keep it. I'll get more shutouts."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 21, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Now that is what I call REAL SNARK!!
Or did Lannan tell him, "No, you keep it. I'll get more shutouts."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 21, 2009 11:04 PM

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 21, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Lannan and well um ...Lannan and 4 days of rain!

You are the man John!

Posted by: cabraman | July 21, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Nats Lady- I hope so too, but realisticly.......When I posted that, I was half joking, but with the Nats, they seem to be able to bear down when they they THINK they have a chance to win. That Narrows it down to when Lannan pitches and the opposing pitcher is not very good. That is the only time I would go out on a limb like that in a public forum. That said, I was pretty confident in Lannan.

Posted by: chris88 | July 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Section 3 of his sofa totally deserves a post of the day for that.

Posted by: Section506 | July 21, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@sec3: THAT is Funny!!! and back to the last post, I gree that Jesus should not be reading NJ to to improve his english. At least not my posts with my bad typing and disintegrating grammar and spelling. :)

Posted by: chris88 | July 21, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Cartaldo | July 21, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone asked Lannan if he can pitch EVERY day?

Posted by: brewer1 | July 21, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I won't need any pills to get to sleep tonight....finally, a restful night ahead.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 21, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Man, tonight's was an awesome game! John Lannan has been my favorite pitcher for a long time, so this was great for him, but no surprise for me.

You know who didn't get enough love tonight? Guzman. What about that put out at first backing up Zimmerman? He was practically on the foul line, easily 10 feet behind Z'man, and STILL threw the guy out at 1st!?!

And he flew down the 1st base on that slow tapper. Called out, but he motored.

Good on you Guzzie. You were neither fat nor lazy tonite. You were awesome.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 22, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

@ Nats nut
Guz does take lot in NJ. Sometimes deserved and sometimes not. Personally, I think he is a good guy, But I think Bos pegged him pretty well as a follower. There is nothing wrong with being a follower(most of us are), but a follower is never going to reach maximum potential on a wretched outfit like the Nats. Free Christian, Free Nick, Free Beimel Etc.
Have a good night!!!

Posted by: chris88 | July 22, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Let's heap some love on Nyjer, too. I am guessing that whoever thought he was Joe's progeny has figured it out.

Can we talk about Twitter, please? OK, I am not a Luddite. I have a Blackberry, I read blogs, I text my friends, colleagues, and students. I am ready to lose my Twitter virginity. But could SOMEONE HELP ME ACTUALLY DO IT?

Jon DeNunzio seems totally uninterested in giving any orientation, which seems odd if the Post really wants to promote it. Don't ask us to do it if you won't help us. The Twitter site is confusing, and especially trying to do it from my phone seems hopelessly complicated.

Finally, I also don't read certain people's posts. Ignore, and he will go away.

Posted by: paulkp | July 22, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

he should be able to shut out a triple a team which is what the mets are at the moment: a 4A team at best

Posted by: nattylite88 | July 22, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

dude. google "how to twitter"

this comes up in 1.7 seconds:

Posted by: NatsNut | July 22, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

A center fielder who can catch the ball, and for all the abuse Guz gets here, a play that defines a major league SS, and most of all, a pitcher who doesn't throw that hard and doesn't strike anybody out, but walks NOBODY, pitches to contact and WINS!!

Oh, it feels good. (And did I mention a couple of timely hits, for once.)

Can we please have a little winning streak? Go, Craig Stammen!

Posted by: nats24 | July 22, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh, joy! It was SO much fun! And they were all smiling when they left the field -- that was the BEST! Congrats to Lannan and the whole team. It was SUPERB!

Posted by: sbuck | July 22, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

@ periculum
Let me know who you think is better?
You're kidding, right? F Robby is a great guy and was a wonderful player, but he sucks as a manager. The modern management theories have passed him by. Have you seen the work that Cal and Billy have done with their minor league and little league work? How can you possibly even think that F Robby was a better manager than them just because he got more rings?

How many World Series rings did Joe Torre have as a player? How did that relate to how many he got as a manager? I honestly don't think there is a relationship

Posted by: swang30 | July 22, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

@ Chico - great interview of Flores! It shows how different he is from us, this young man who enjoys catching and can keep the kind of focus and energy needed to perform at such a high level. His motor is not meant for idling in rehab. I loved the easy dialogue with you as a beat reporter. e.g. 'I'm an American, man!" Winter ball in their home countries means as much or more to a lot of the Latin American players than the MLB season does.

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 22, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Many thanks to wrw0601 for developing a great way of predicting how another team's prospect's minor league stats predict how he would do as a Nat. This shows that the Nats would be taking a huge risk in trading Zimmerman for Buchholz, and would have to get more - Manny Delcarmen and and 25 year old back-up 1b Aaron Bates, who can slug the ball.

Thank you! Would you do it for Clay Buchholz? he had a miserable 2008 in the majors.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 21, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Well the numbers are based on nationals pitchers this year, but hey lets give it a try.

Bucholz 2008 line.
ERA: 2.47, BB/9: 3.5, SO/9: 8.9, WHIP: 1.21
ERA: 4.64, BB/9: 4.06, SO/9: 6.5, WHIP: 1.39

Actual Major League 08 stats:
ERA: 6.75, BB/9: 4.9, SO/9: 8.5, WHIP: 1.76

- So his ERA was significantly higher, walks the same at 4, strikeouts higher than expected, WHIP higher than projected. It seemed 2008 Bucholz is a pitcher with major league stuff, but not major league poise.

His 09 line should project stats this year of:
ERA: 4.4, BB/9: 3.13, SO/9: 7.8, WHIP: 1.15.

Lets see.

BTW how nice is it to actually see the NATS with clutch hitting. GO Nats.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 21, 2009 8:31 PM |

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 22, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

To keep this streak going, let's have all opponents sit their 4 best offensive players for the rest of the season.

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 22, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

What a great post-game interview with Wil Nieves last night! He is on Sheinen's "All-Nice Guy" team, along with Charlie Manuel, Sean Casey,and others. He brings so much joy to his position - I hope we keep him!

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 22, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Someone asked Nieves to spell out the difference in the clubhouse now that Riggleman is managing. The man has a lot of intelligence to go with a lot of class. "Jim talks a lot. He keeps it positive - just like Manny."

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 22, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Post of the night?


Or did Lannan tell him, "No, you keep it. I'll get more shutouts."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 21, 2009 11:04 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 22, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I was struck by the Nieves quote as well, Flynnie. I also thought that he looked quite sad for a moment after saying it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 22, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

I am guessing this will be another post by Chico this morning, but ESPN is reporting that the Nat will not be able to sign SS by the deadline. It also followed up with aquote by Rizzo that basically stated there are things behind the scenes.
Question: Is this Boras' doing? ESPN quoted the infamous "un-named sources" as saying SS could play in the Independent League or in Japan.

Posted by: TimDz | July 22, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I just commented last night to my baseball buddy how Nieves is always smiling. It's his default face.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 22, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Lesson learned: when our guy throws a CG shutout, the Nats have a chance to win.

Stan's Plan is starting to bear fruit, o ye of little faith.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 22, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse


New handle, Father Flynniegan?

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Good point by paulkp: "Let's heap some love on Nyjer, too. I am guessing that whoever thought he was Joe's progeny has figured it out."

I'm curious to know what the fans in Pittsburgh are thinking about the trade these days. This kid's spectacular.

Posted by: JamesWebster | July 22, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Attended last night's game and between Lannan and Morgan I saw some hope for this team. Hope that the young pitchers will "get it" as soon as Lannan and hope that someone in the front office realizes how big a role defense plays in buttressing the development of the young pitchers. I try to make most of Lannan's home starts to watch his continuing development. Same with J-Zimm. It's kind of exciting to be on the ground floor of such promising careers.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 22, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

When Guz made that play I said, "Attaboy, Guz. You show those bloggers!" ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 22, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

(psst: the OP has a nice story on Suns skipper Matt LeCroy.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 22, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Good grief. Post of the Day.


Or did Lannan tell him, "No, you keep it. I'll get more shutouts."

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 22, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Note to Stan:

How to win--
1. Good pitching
2. Great Defense

Is this clear enough?

And guess what--this formula will start to put more fans in the seats.

Posted by: driley | July 22, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to John he really has a mastery over the minor league talent the Mets are putting on the field. I am glad he is confident and hopefully he stays healthy we need him to go out every 5th day and win.

Posted by: markfd | July 22, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 22, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Seems like Lannan is more confident and less flappable now. His first three innings were kind of shaky but not walking batters was key -- no extra men on base when the hits fell. After Cap'n Morgans run saving catch he really settled down and started pounding the strike zone. I was waiting for disaster after the dropped foul pop in the 9th but he kept his cool and saved the shutout. Speaking of dthe dropped popfly, I remember Boz saying how Nick overplays balls and gets in the way of other fielders. He had the worst angle on the ball and probably should have given Gonzalez a clear shot. Plus the image of Kearns and Johnson coverging on a fly ball is pretty scary.

Posted by: SackMan | July 22, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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