May 3, 2010, 2:19 PM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
This has been perhaps the roughest stretch of John Lannan's career.
There is much angst this morning in NatsTown over the de facto ace of the pitching staff, who has pitched nothing like an ace so far this season.
John Lannan may not have ace stuff, but he entered the season as the Nationals' best starter, and his track record over the last 2 1/2 years suggested he'd established himself as a solid big-league pitcher.
The left-hander's numbers through six outings — 1-2, 6.34 ERA, a staggering 1.93 WHIP — suggest he's anything but solid. And yesterday's ragged outing in Miami, in which he was roughed up for six runs on nine hits in five innings, suggests this may be more than a blip on the radar screen.
So what's going on here? Is Lannan merely going through a rough patch, or is he finally regressing into the sub-par major leaguer many stathounds have been saying he would become?
For those unaware with the sabermetrics argument against Lannan, it basically boils down to this: He's the least-effective pitcher in baseball at making hitters swing and miss. Batters make more contact against him than any other pitcher in the game. For the last 2 1/2 years, Lannan has merely been lucky that all those balls put into play have been hit right at fielders, especially groundballs. Eventually, the law of averages was going to start turning those outs into base hits.
Indeed, it is really tough to be a successful pitcher when only 24 of the 561 pitches you've thrown this season have been swinging strikes. So that may in part explain Lannan's struggles.
Here, though, is another explanation: Lannan has had no command of his pitches whatsoever.
I just re-watched the first three innings of yesterday's game, paying particular attention to catcher Wil Nieves' positioning as Lannan begins his windup. I'd say Lannan missed the target at least 80Read more »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- NatsFest 2014 details announced with new venue
- Nats announce McLouth signing, DFA Corey Brown
- MLB's Rangers draft NFL quarterback Russell Wilson
- PHOTO: Jerry Blevins very excited to be a National
- Nationals lose catcher Nieto in Rule 5 draft
- Michael Morse signs with San Francisco Giants
- MLB rules committee votes to outlaw home plate collisions
- 3 deals in 10 days leave Nats in good shape
- Rizzo: Blevins was Nationals' best option
- Former Nats OF Jerry Hairston, Jr. retires from MLB