Aug 14, 2010, 3:17 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan tossed seven strong innings to beat the Diamondbacks.
John Lannan has always had confidence in his ability. It's the reason he was able to emerge from the pack as an 11th round draft pick, advance through three levels of the Nationals' farm system in four months and then find himself striking out Barry Bonds later that season with the Giants slugger sitting on 755 homers.
But some portion of that confidence had to disappear two months ago when Lannan, boasting a 5.76 ERA and serving up base hits at an astonishing rate, found himself driving to Harrisburg. The guy who took the ball on Opening Day each of the last two seasons, the guy who followed Barack Obama on the mound at Nationals Park on April 5, was suddenly nothing but a Class AA pitcher.
"It was a wake-up call," he said. "Everything's a lot different down there. I'm just glad to be back."
Back, not only in body but in spirit as well. The John Lannan who tossed seven innings of two-run ball tonight, beating the Diamondbacks 4-2, looked and felt like a big-league pitcher. He hit his spots, working both the inside and outside corners of the plate. And most importantly, he stood tall on the mound, believing once again he was good enough to get major-league batters out.
"I just feel good out there," he said. "I feel confident in my stuff."
A confident Lannan is an effective Lannan. And an effective Lannan, now 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA since his return, is a big piece to the Nationals' puzzle. He may never again start on Opening Day — who are we kidding, that role is reserved for Stephen Strasburg for at leastRead more »
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