Dedicated to the constructive criticism of the Washington Nationals.


E-mail us at:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lannan Tosses Gem, Beats Mets 7-2

Washington -- Washington National rookie starter John Lannan has pitched in his share of bad luck this season, considering that he has been one of the better pitchers for a team that is last in most batting statistics. But Monday night, facing a team that currently leads the N.L. East, Lannan took matters into his own hands, allowing only one hit and one earned run over seven innings, and the beleaguered Nationals bullpen suffered no repeat of Sunday's collapse, holding on for the 7-2 victory over the New York Mets before 21,759 patrons at Nationals Park.

Lannan (W, 9-13, 3.97) had struggled a little bit of late, but was sharp from the very beginning on this beautiful evening for baseball. The game time temperature was 77, and dipped to the low 70s with a light breeze by the middle innings. By that point, Lannan was well in control of the game. He scattered three walks, and struck out seven, including all-star 3B David Wright and the resurgent 1B Carlos Delgado twice each. Lannan has three 1-2-3 innings, including the sixth and seventh, showing his team that he does indeed have the strength to pitch deep into a meaningful game. He threw 59 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and left after the seventh to a standing ovation from the Nats faithful.

Offensively, Washington was paced by 2B Anderson Hernandez' two-run double in the sixth inning and Elijah Dukes' three-run shot in the eighth, his twelfth of the season. Ryan Zimmerman and Aaron Boone both drove in runs, Lastings Milledge went 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base, and all-star SS Cristian Guzman added two more hits.

The defense even chipped in with an outstanding diving catch by Willie Harris in left field, robbing OF Fernando Tatis of a hit, and two double plays, none bigger than in the top of the eighth, as Michael Hinckley, who has yet to surrender a run in seven and two-thirds innings since his call-up, got Wright to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to quash any chance of a Mets comeback.

But John Lannan's progression from draft pick to prospect to rotation mainstay was the story of the night. His development remains one of the main topics of what otherwise has been mostly a season of disappointment for the Washington Nationals and their fans as they challenge for the worst record in the major leagues.

The four-game series continues Tuesday night, as Odalis Perez (6-10, 4.48) and the Nats try to play spoiler against Mike Pelfrey (13-9, 3.77) and the Mets, who find themselves perilously close to another late-season division lead collapse.

NATS NOTES: The win puts the Nats record at 57-93. Washington is 26.5 games behind the Mets in the division, who now are only one-half game ahead of suddenly red-hot Philadelphia. The Nats are one-half game "ahead" of both Seattle and San Diego for the worst record in baseball.

No comments: