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Lannan demands more from self

Apr 27, 2010, 3:42 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Quality starts aren't good enough for John Lannan, who insists he can do better.

CHICAGO — No one would have faulted John Lannan for emerging from last night's game feeling good about the way he kept things under control despite some rough spots along the way. The Nationals' left-hander did, after all, post a quality start at night's end, allowing three runs over six innings.

But Lannan wasn't taking solace in anything.

"I'm keeping the team in the game. But I should be pitching better than that," he said. "I should be getting the team a win. There's no excuses for just keeping the team in the ballgame. That's mediocre work. That's not acceptable to me. And I don't think it's acceptable to anybody else."

Give the Nats' Opening Day starter credit for understanding what he really needs to accomplish and not being satisfied with reaching the bare minimum stats for success. Lannan may have the guile to battle his way through some ragged outings and still make them useful, but his perfectionist nature demands a higher standard.

Lannan was most upset at himself for an ugly second inning at Wrigley Field in which he walked the Cubs' seventh, eighth and ninth hitters in succession, including opposing pitcher Carlos Silva on four pitches with the bases loaded.

"I'm sick of having those mediocre innings where things get away from me," he said. "I've never walked three in a row and walked theRead more »

  1. NatinBeantown - Apr 27, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Nice post, and I am not among those betting that Lannan has reached his BABIP reckoning. It would make sense that his feel for his pitches is critical, which is most difficult in miserable conditions like last night. He'll get there.Also, reposting this from earlier thread, since it's got disaster written all over it:League AVG RF: .258 BA, .798 OPS, 1 HR/25 PA, 1 K/4.8 PAWillie*, Justin and Willy:.170 BA, .663 OPS, 1 HR/33 PA, 1 K/4.3 PA

  2. Doc - Apr 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Lannan needs to put more definiton on his breaking stuff–its just too hittable. He's aware of the risks of putting too much pressure on his arm, when throwing off-speed stuff. But Greg Maddox was able to find the athletic medium of doing both.

  3. Farid Rushdi - Apr 27, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Since he became a starter, Lannan has been in the top 6-8 in NL pitchers with quality starts.He's not Cy Young. He's a guy who when he's on is as good as anyone in the league. When he's not, he gets rocked around.He was one of what–30 pitchers?– with an ERA below 4.00 the last two years.I'm content with what he gives the Nationals, but as a #3-4 starter, not the ace.

  4. Steve M. - Apr 27, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Mark Zuckerman said… Lannan also is giving up more hits, a league-leading 36 of them to be precise. That leaves his WHIP at a robust 1.843, a huge leap from last year's rate of 1.347.So what's going on here? Is this just a blip on the radar screen for Lannan, or a sign of actual decline over the long haul. Critics like to point out that the young lefty should have seen this coming, because he's always been hittable (his strikeout rate is among the lowest in the sport). All those balls put into play in the past somehow turned into outs; now they're turning into hits….I'm content with what he gives the Nationals, but as a #3-4 starter, not the ace. The 3-4 starter? Didn't someone make that same about him here during Spring Training on this Blog and got jumped on when he said that on where Lannan would rank on the rotations of 2009 Playoff teams he would be a 3-4 starter?I still think Lannan can improve and he easily with giving up 3 runs could have walked away as the winner.

  5. NatsNut - Apr 27, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    I bet it's cuz he's hurt.

  6. Jack T. in Florida - Apr 27, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    It looks like John is TRYING to be a nibbler instead of just letting his natural pitching abilities take over.His normal outings in the past never had a majority of the pitches finding the middle of the plate. Now he's trying to nibble, falling behind, walking hitters and then coming back with a pitch in the heart of the plate where he gets rocked.He'll figure it out.

  7. Capitol Baseball - Apr 27, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    These kinds of stories make me like John Lannan more and more. First, going to the Children's Inn at NIH to visit sick kids and then never being satisfied, even after a decent outing. It wasn't perfect, but he seems to figure out his stuff more often then not during his outing. It's hard to root against John's success in this league, that's for sure.

  8. Kevin - Apr 27, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Farid Rushdi said "He's a guy who when he's on is as good as anyone in the league."I am a HUGE John Lannan fan, both of his work on the field and off the field. But at his best, he is nowhere near the levels of Halladay, Lincecum, Carpenter, Wainwright, etc. I guess you were just trying to make a point, but that was a ridiculous statement.

  9. Anonymous - Apr 27, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Lannan is a back of the rotation guy, trying to be a front of the rotation guy because the rest of the pitching staff is worse than him. In 2011, pending no injuries I think the rotation looks like this: Strasburg #1, JZimm #2, Wang #3, Lannan #4, Stammen #5

  10. NatinBeantown - Apr 27, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    Kevin, I don't agree that it's ridiculous. Farid didn't say Lannan was as "overpowering" or "has as good stuff". He just said "as good," which means one thing: results.How can you argue with-8.1 innings of shutdown pitching (2 ER) in Yankee Stadium in June last year?-Two complete games without a run against the Mets in June and July last year?-7.0 innings, 0 ER and 6K against the Braves in September?Lannan has managed to put out Ace performances on a team with zero defense and little run support the last few years. On the Phillies, he would have won 17 games last year. His bad outings are BAD. But Farid's right, when he's on he is ON.

  11. Jack T. in Florida - Apr 27, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    When listing next years starting staff, don't forget the two "wild cards" in Ross Detwiler and Aaron Thompson.

  12. Sunderland - Apr 27, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    "He's a guy who when he's on is as good as anyone in the league."Come on now.That describes at least 50 pitchers in the National League.San Fransico's #4 starter, Jonathan Sánchez, threw a no-hitter last July. Obviously he also fits the bill. Vicente Padilla was downright awesome for the Dodgers down the stretch last year, so he fits the bill. But he's a career journeyman.And on and on and on.I am precisely with Kevin here. Love Lannan, think the world of him. But he is not among the best pitchers in the NL.This is a silly debate. It's not even close.He's good. On a very good team, he could be the $3 or the #4, but he ain't among the best in the NL.2009 ERA, 23rd among NL starters.2009 WHIP, 31st among NL starters.He fine. But he's is not in any regard Halladay, Lincecum, Carpenter, Wainwright, etc.

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