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No Strikeouts, All Success

Sorry in advance for the stat-heavy pitcher talk today. You already read about Stammen. Now I have some numbers on Lannan. A lot of numbers. Before I get into it, here are a few tidbits: The Nats on Monday agreed to terms with their seventh-round draft pick, Andrew "Dean" Weaver, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Georgia. The Nationals have now signed nine of their top 12 picks. Also, outfielder Destin Hood, last year's second-round pick, has been promoted to short-season Class A Vermont. In 25 games with the Gulf Coast League Nationals, Hood was hitting .330 (88 at-bats) with 10 doubles, three homers and a .614 slugging percentage.

Anyway. Lannan.

Monday afternoon, Lannan was sitting down in front of a video monitor to watch a few pitch-by-pitch sequences from his eight-inning start the day prior. It didn't take long. He watched the fourth inning and, in a snap, it was over. He remarked to the team's advanced scouting coordinator, Erick Dalton, "I threw six pitches that inning! All strikes." The next inning, Lannan threw four more pitches. All strikes. Three led to groundouts.

That sequence of uncommon efficiency pointed to a broader, sustained truth about Lannan's pitching approach. Since June, judged either by stats or results, Lannan has become a different pitcher. He's also become one of the most unique in baseball, striking out almost nobody, pitching more innings than almost anybody. Lannan attributes the change, which has coincided with the best stretch of his career, to a few things. He's honed his pitch-to-contact approach with pitching coach Steve McCatty. And, he's learned to worry less about throwing strikes on the corners, more about keeping strikes low -- even if they cross the center of the plate.

Since June, Lannan has made 10 starts, good for 73 2/3 innings, a 5-2 record and a 2.44 ERA. But the secondary statistics, compared with others in the league, better emphasize Lannan's new approach.

Since June, 95 pitchers have thrown at least 50 innings. Lannan has the fewest strikeouts (21) of any of them. Only one pitcher (Joel Pineiro) averages fewer pitches per inning than Lannan's 13.5. During that stretch, only two pitchers have thrown more innings -- Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum.

When I mentioned this to Lannan, his eyes grew wide.

"Do you know what those two have in common?" he said.

Yeah. Both won Cy Youngs last year.

Lannan reflected a bit more on the numbers and said, "You know what that tells me? It means guys are swinging really early. If you strike out a guy, you've got to throw three pitches to him. So even in the most perfect world, that's nine pitches in an inning. My goal is to get him out in the first two pitches. And that's more realistic than striking out a guy in three pitches. A strikeout pitcher, I'd think he has to throw a lot more strikes to get a guy out."

Entering June, Lannan averaged 4.9 strikeouts per nine innings for the season. He'd occasionally get a few high-strikeout games -- eight on April 17, seven on May 31. But in his last 10 starts, Lannan has topped two strikeouts just twice, with the highest being four. He averages 2.6 strikeouts per nine innings during that stretch, lowest in baseball among qualifying pitchers.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2009; 7:48 PM ET
 
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Next: Two Grand Slams For Willingham

Comments

So, attempts at "strikeouts" might also lead to walks, plus it would give a hitter than many more chances against the pitcher.

Makes sense to me. Perhaps the "Strikeout" pitching strategy should be used only in "jams" with 2 - 3 men on with no outs?

Very kewl post. Makes me think.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

This is amazing stuff. Hard to believe that he can keep it up. But it also points out how important good defense is. If you pitch to contact, you've got to have guys making the plays behind you. Lannan's quick work certainly makes that easier. The fielders are in the game, paying attention. Four or six pitch innings are oh so sweet.

Keep it up John. You might not win the Cy Young for awhile, but MASN will definitely make another "defining moment" promo about you.

Posted by: Section222 | July 27, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Chico this does seem to be a "philosophy" that is now imparted to all pitchers in the organization of late?

Looking at Martis line tonight:

4.0-IP 5-H 0-R 0-ER 0-BB 1-SO 0-HR 5.32-ERA and rapidly dropping.

This seems to underscore the salient points from your discussion with John Lannan.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope Stammen sticks one in FLop's ear to start the game.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Now, I REALLY hope Stammen sticks it in FLop's ear.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Stupid FLop. I bet he never made a play like that when he was here.

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

ARGH!! FLop sticks it to us.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see them sweep this series. I think its possible ... given the resurgent hitting, dramatically improved pitching, and somewhat improved fielding. But I guess that is wishful thinking ...

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I hate FLop.

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Felipe loves getting up for Nats. F-ing maricon

Posted by: FloresFan | July 27, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

FLop: The changes in this organization have been multifold.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Felipe love getting up *for* the Nats.

He's still a f-ing maricon.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 27, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

John Lannan has learned the valuable pitching lesson imparted by Crash Davis to Nuke LaLoosh:

"Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic."

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Take that, FLop!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Nice play Guzzie.

Felipe, you're still a f-ing maricon.

Posted by: FloresFan | July 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Grab some pine FLop!!! Ha!

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

There is justice in the world. Dunn just lured FLop into the out. Same old FLop. Dogging it into third. "Huge mistake," Double Dribble sez. As Donald Trump would say: "HOOOOOOOOGGGGE."

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

What? Felipe Lopez not running hard into a base? I am shocked beyond words.

BTW, brilliant move by Dunn to just boot the ball enough to encourage Lopez to come home. Genius...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Carpenter is such a wealth of information, I wonder when he's going to mention that the Nats could have drafted Braun at #4.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | July 27, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Why, in the name of Manny Acta, did we pitch to Princie Pie?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Do the Brewers have Tim Tolman coaching at third?

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Stammen needs to settle down. The wild pitch was not a good sign ...

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

If Brue were here, he'd say that Stammen was thinking, "What would Manny have me do?" I'm sure that's why he did it. It all comes back to Manny, even now...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Leave Acta alone.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Not a Josh Bard fan.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for jinxing Alberto, Carpenter!

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

big_game, hope you saw the sarcasm in my comment. I know where to place the blame...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I was talking to jdschulz50.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

John Lannan has learned the valuable pitching lesson imparted by Crash Davis to Nuke LaLoosh:

"Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic."

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Post of the day!

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I really love seeing Miller Park in HD. I left Milwaukee long before it was built. I spent almost ten years living there, going to County Stadium, tailgating and eating bratwursts pre-cooked in beer and onions served with sauerkraut and County Stadium Red Sauce and drinking Sprecher beer. Now let's beat the wurst out of the Brew Crew.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Stammen! Nice hit!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Again can't freakin' score!!!

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey, just cuz it's not in English don't make it any less offensive, pendejo.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 27, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this the old Ray Miller philosophy? Work fast, throw strikes and let your defense work for you? McCatty seems to have his pitchers pounding the strike zone more to become more pitch-efficient. Earlier this year it seems that the Nats pitchers were always behind batters and that could have had something to do with the high error total.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 27, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This just in:

Dunn in defensive play shocker!!!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 27, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

pitcher leads off with a double and they can't get him in? that's offensive.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 27, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Twinbrook,

Thanks. Now I'm hungry for a brat and a beer.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 27, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Dunn follows up on his defensive gem with an infield hit. Go figure...

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the Wisconsin Gas Building flame. It is red meaning it will be hot in Milwaukee tomorrow.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I hope I'm not about to pull a Carpenter, but Stammen is hanging in there pretty well without his best stuff. Looking like a pitcher.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

They are wasting opportunities like mustard packs that go with those Brats. And make mine a Hyde Park "cooney" with a Canadian Brador.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

They leave more men on then the hookers on K st. They can't do the the simple stuff(move runners over,hit behind the runner)can't anybody here play this game? DAMN!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 27, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's just hope for a couple of Willingham solo shots now. 'Cause otherwise we cant score.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, back in the land of the "Enchanted Forest" and the finger lakes ... Dave Williams had another "spectacular" outing allowing 4 runs including a home run and getting no one out.

But Martis went seven shutout innings with 1 walk and 5 strike outs.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Nah, if the brat is cooked properly and served with kraut and red sauce you don't need no stink'n mustard.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Runner on 2nd, nobody out AGAIN. Let's not strand him this time!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Atilano sent seven in Harrisburg and did well to follow up on Mandel's performance the night before.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Dibble sounds like he's be sampling some of Milwaukee's finest.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

All right, bases loaded for Dunn!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

WALK ... alright Dunn!!! Great at bat!

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Josh had some runners on base for that one!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

giants acquired garko from the indians.

Posted by: theraph | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Take that, Rapuano, you blind you-know-what...you can't call that pitch a strike! Nice job, Josh....

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE do not trade Josh Willingham.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Or a Grand Salami!!!!!

All right Hammer!!!!

Posted by: big_game_lannan | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

HOlY S$$%T is this really the Nats! Something is definitely different!?

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to thank Acta again for refusing to start Willingham from day frigging one.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 27, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Okay,Okay,I take it all back, JOSH BABY!!!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | July 27, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Josh Willingham can EFFING hit!! Why Manny couldn't figure that out I have no idea.

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to thank Acta again for refusing to start Willingham from day frigging one.

Posted by: RickFelt

Well said, RF, well said.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

F-ing ump! That prior pitch was a strike, especially after that called third strike to NJ. Now, thanks to that a-hole ump, they're right back in it...

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

No, its the Nats ... giving it all back with FLop a big part of it all.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

This is BS!!! Rigglleman should come out and get tossed.

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

four and 2/3 innings for Stammen.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Bullpen time. Fasten your seatbelts.

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Stammen deserved better tonight. Blue, you are a piece of crap.

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

They're called stats:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=willijo03&year=2009&t=b#month

If you bothered to check them you would see Willingham started the first month under .200 and as soon as he started producing, Manny started finding a way to work him in every day, particularly when Dukes stopped producing.

Posted by: Section506 | July 27, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of stats if they do trade Johnson, given Willingham's revved up home run bat ...

Dukes is only hitting .255 right now. I wonder if he'll bring up Padilla to put into the outfield mix?

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Stammen can't lose the game at least.

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

That ump is a piece of s---!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I guess since AG is safe at second, it's the same as a sac bunt. I'm confused...

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

My god, how many times are we going to get hosed tonight?

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Okay, that waw one of the strangest plays I've ever seen with the bunt.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I actually don't think we got hosed - we got the result we were seeking: a runner on 2nd and one out...

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

If you want to reference stats why don't you reference Kearns' stats from the entire 2008 season (and 2009 for that matter but that's not the issue here). You're also ignoring that those are artificially low stats for Willingham because he was grossly mismanaged and only used sparingly and therefore couldn't get any rhythm at the plate.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 27, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Guzzie gets it done!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

The baseball gods are smiling on the Nats.

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

BTW: The Cheesehead fans aren't booing, they're saying Suuuuuuup for Suppan. :-)

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Good point BG, I guess I am a little defensive with regard to the treatment we get from the umpires. I take it back. :)

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

chris88: I thought at first that they got a DP off of that call, so I was livid, but it worked out okay for us :) Oh, and bases loaded again for Willingham!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

2 Grand Slams for the Hammer!!

Posted by: FloresFan | July 27, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

JOSH!!! 2 GRAND SLAMS IN 2 INNINGS!!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | July 27, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

HOLY SHI*&*T TWO GRAND SLAMS!!! TWO!!!

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

So who wants to trade Willingham now!

Not me.

Posted by: bigmook | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE do not trade Josh Willingham.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

---

I SAID IT FIRST. PLEASE KEEP THIS GUY!!

Posted by: cdstej | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Giant acquire Garko.

What have we learned Mr. Rizzo? When you are trading scraps you accept deals. You can play the waiting game when you dealing Zimermann. Not so much when it's Nick Limp-a-long Johnson.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!! UNBEELIEVABLE!!!!! Please do not trade this guy.

Posted by: chris88 | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Grand Willingslam.
Yank him back from the trading block.

Posted by: JamesWebster | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the Brewers TV feed on the mlb package and I am loving the misery they are in. It's just wonderful. Yeeeee Haaaaa. Hammer

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 27, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Same here bigmook

Posted by: FloresFan | July 27, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The Hammer is only the 13th to do that.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats11.shtml

Posted by: twinbrook | July 27, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Er, also I an idiot. I've spent a lot of time on this board railing against Willingham. I believe Dunn, Johnson and Willingham should all be traded (and Guzman if anyone is that desperate) but, Josh is really a class act. Great guy to listen to when they mic'd him up and plays his heart out.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 27, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

After 3 innings and God knows how many batters left on base, I turned off the tv. I missed GS #1, but decided to turn back the tv back on for GS #2. Unless the Nats are offered some UNGODLY offer for the hammer, Rizzo needs to say "No Thanks..."

Posted by: TimDz | July 27, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Kasten and Rizzo can not possibly be considering dealing Josh at this point. We have him under contract for 2 years, and the guy can just flat out hit Major League pitching. I think Nats management will have a riot on their hands at this point if they trade Willingham.

Posted by: bigmook | July 27, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Echoing Rick Felt: To think Manny sat Willingham the first month of the season to play Austin Kearns. Who? Austin Kearns.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Heehee. I was watching other programming and clicking back to the game periodically. When the bases were loaded for Willingham the first time, I waited to see what happened. Yeah, baby! Clicked away and turned back to see Stammen exiting after the Brewers pulled back to within one, then saw Bergmann get his batter. Clicked away and turned back to see Willingham up with the bases loaded again. I'm doing the math in my head, 9 + 4 would be 13. hmmm... Then he hits another one. Saweet!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 27, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and gents: In honor of Josh "Double" Willingham, make it a double bourbon and Maalox tonight. On me.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 27, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"So who wants to trade Willingham now!"

ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God bless you, Josh Willingham, you could make this team for a decade if you keep playing like this.

Posted by: Section506 | July 27, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

So, here's question, with Willingham tearing things up at the plate, does Riggleman move him up in the line-up, to 5th, or dare I say it clean-up?

Nice play Nyjer! Aggressively fielding that ball and coming up throwing. Can you say Lastings who?? was traded to the Pirates for this guy!

Posted by: bigmook | July 27, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Can we keep him?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 27, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure.

Willingham has done a wonderful thing this day. He has made his case to the rest of the league and Rizzo.

So:

1. Rizzo can keep Willingham and trade Johnson or others.
2. Rizzo will get the price he is asking for Willingham and it surely promises to be a very, very high price indeed!

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Um, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 27, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Kearns was getting on base at a great rate int he first month and Willingham struggling.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | July 27, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we keep him? He is under contract with the Nats for I believe; this year and next.

Posted by: bigmook | July 27, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow!

I did not think that I would live to see it happen to someone in a Nats uniform. Trading Willingham at this point would be grounds for being burned in effigy, at the least. And the catch that Dunn made was beyond imaginable as well.

Posted by: driley | July 27, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Give it up on the Manny-bashing, will you? FWIW, which is nothing, Kearns actually outhit Willingham in the first month of the season, as did Dukes. Acta had five corner outfielders to play and please the front office at the same time. I suspect he was either being encouraged or told to play Dukes and Milledge as much as possible, which cut down on playing time for Kearns and Willingham. They didn't want to play Willingham in RF so he sat.

Why we are still discussing this, since Bowden, Acta, Dukes and Milledge aren't here is beyond me. Give. It. Up.

And, yeah, I'm loving this game as much as anybody. But they started the night in last place and they'll end it there. That means if somebody makes you an offer for Willingham that seems worthwhile, you take it.

Now, let's see if he can hit another one before the night's over.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 27, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

So baltova1, is the point to have a team with an average age of 23?

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | July 27, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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