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Staying true to himself

Sep 13, 2012, 4:51 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
John Lannan tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his third win in three starts.

NEW YORK — The storyline, and the comparison, was too obvious to ignore.

Stephen Strasburg was supposed to start Wednesday night’s series finale in New York. John Lannan instead took his spot and now will make four starts down the stretch run of a pennant race in place of baseball’s most-hyped young pitcher.

Those who try to compare Lannan to Strasburg, though, haven’t really been following the Nationals, this year or any previous year. Lannan simply isn’t Strasburg. Nor has he ever tried to be.

Truth be told, Lannan isn’t like any other member of the Nationals’ rotation. He doesn’t have Strasburg’s dominating repertoire or Jordan Zimmermann’s slider or Gio Gonzalez’s curveball or Ross Detwiler’s fastball or Edwin Jackson’s experience. And he knows it.

“This rotation’s different,” Lannan said. “There’s something about it. Every five days when Stephen was in it, it’s just different. Day after day, there’s no giving up. I go out there and I had to just not try to do what they do. I’m not necessarily that type of pitcher, but I do like to compete. And that’s the one thing I did see: them competing. And I can do that.”
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  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Another Curly W! Had to stop watching in the top of the 6th with bases loaded and no outs to go to a meeting at my daughter's school; throughout the meeting I just assumed Nats had scored at least a couple — and then I expected a few more after that. Came home to pick up where I had left off and was dumbfounded. But all's well in the end. GYFNG!Now, about Mr. LannEn: I just hope the national writers and columnists and talking heads make a point tomorrow of noting how Stephen Strasburg's replacement pitched 5.2 innings of shutout baseball. And that the Nats have increased their divisional lead since Mr. Strasburg's shutdown. We'll see soon enough.

  2. Sean - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    Please, oh please, tell me someone is writing a book about John Lannan's season. 2 opening day starts. 5 million dollars. Syracuse in April. Spot starts followed by nights alone at the Pizzaria Uno bar. Taking over for the next Justin Verlander for the best team in baseball for most of September. Baseball story for the ages.

  3. baseballswami - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    After John's gem of a start against Atlanta I was hoping that the rest of the staff had watched and learned. Was it a coincidence that several of them started pitching to contact more? He might not have the stuff they have but he knows how to pitch against big league hitters. I have liked this guy since his first start when he broke Utley's hand and got tossed! Things have never, ever been easy for him .

  4. rabbit34 - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Good game. Lannan looked great!! Nats and O's in the World Series!!!!!!!!! N O's doubt about it!

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Another solid performance by a solid professional. Sure quieted the anti-Lannan crowd, well, especially the one who fretted he wasn't man enough for the pressure of this particular situation.

  6. NatsNut - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    swami, you read my mind again. I recall that after Lannan's July start, all 5 starters dominated – all but Z'nn went 7 full innings, Detwiler for the first time, they all won their games and IIRC, they all worked noticeably quicker and more fearless. Lannan is def in my top three favorites, for the same reasons PLUS his strikeout of Barry Bonds in AT&T park when he was sitting on #755 (I know you old-timers are probably tired of hearing me bring that up) =)

  7. karlkolchak - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Great win for Lannan. Happy to see him bounce back.The Nats now have the fifth highest win total in franchise history behind:1979 – 951993 – 941987 – 911980 – 90Another magic number: seven wins to the highest total ever for the Expos/Nationals.

  8. baseballswami - Sep 13, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Heard Desi interview about JL – sounds like his season so far has inspired them. Nice time for an injection of inspiration into the clubhouse. RZ went after a pitch that was pretty low and crushed it. He and JL go back a ways with the Nats – into the losing abyss. Maybe he was determined to help John get a curly W? They were on their toes on defense for him. Funny how Ryan hit that ball out right after he let a ball go through his legs, little-league style. So rare to see that. Guess he was pretty annoyed with himself. And Desi's power? He would seem to be a lock for a silver slugger.

  9. MicheleS - Sep 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    A very satisfying evening all around. The most important thing was a win, sweep, and an increase the division lead. Sets us up for a good weekend in Atlanta.Well played John and welcome back.

  10. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    karlkolchak good research, let us not forget the 99 wins in 1933 in a 154 game schedule, lol

  11. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Lannan pitched as well as I can recall seeing him; lots of strikes (mostly, only one walk), kept the ball down, good tempo. Relied mostly on his fast ball (though rarely over 89 mph, which surprised me). Those are all of the things he needs to do to be successful and re-establish himself in people's minds as a major league pitcher. Nothing focuses the mind like an imminent flame out, particularly when it is one's own.If he applies those principles to his next three starts, I'll be happy. Having said that, the Mets lineup is pathetic. Probably worse than the Astros. They should thank their lucky stars they have an option on Wright for next year as he would sign with almost anyone (Padres, Rockies, 'Stros, Indians) just to get out of town if a FA.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    first of all, great post by ehay2k last night.also I think I missed the part where the top team in NL starts first two games on the road? Am I missing something?

  13. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Kolchak, this is from your editor, Tony Vincenzo: I'm tired of it, Kolchak. I'm fed up! I've got a brother-in-law who's got a fourteen-year-old kid he's always bailing out of juvenile hall, but I've got you, and you're worse! lol

  14. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Back on June 26, as the Nats were finishing the series in Colorado where their bats came alive, I commented here about one of the MASN talking heads who had talked that morning about it being useful to look at the baseball season as being divided into nine 18-game units. He was praising the O's for their consistency, noting that in 3 of the 4 18 game stretches so far, the O's (who were 41-31 at the time) had gone 11-7. In the other, they were 8-10. I thought that was kind of an interesting way to analyze the team's performance, and so I took a look at the Nats record at that point. I found the following:Games 1-18 — 14-4Games 19-36 — 8-10Games 37-54 — 10-8Games 55-71 — 9-8I went on to say that if the Nats could win that night and go just 10-8 in each of the remaining 18 game sets, we'd finish with 92 wins and likely make the playoffs, but if we were 8-10 in each we'd end up with 82 wins. Ah, remember those days of low expectations? We did win that night, so our record was 10-8 in that set, and 42-30 overall at that point in the season, giving us a 3.5 game lead in the NL East. Our hot start put us in a great position and we had played consistently decent baseball, though perhaps not great baseball, after that. Tomorrow night against the Braves will be the Nats' 144th game, finishing the 8th 18-game sets of the season and leaving only one to go. So how did we do in the 4 sets after the ones I took a look at at the end of June? Not only have the Nats kept up the pace of the first 4, but they stepped up and put together a virtually guaranteed playoff season. We're now ahead by 8.5 games in the NL East, with a magic number of 11. The numbers are beautiful to behold, and show a consistency that is truly impressive. This team's success is not built on hot streaks. It's built on strong play throughout the season, improving as the season unfolded and peaking now, at just the right time.Games 73-90 — 11-7Games 91-108 — 12-6Games 109-126 — 12-6Games 127-143 — 12-5So with just 19 games remaining, here are the possibilities. I can hardly believe what I'm typing.7-12 — We finish with 96 wins.8-11 — 97 wins.9-10 — 98 wins.10-9 99 wins.11-8 — 100 wins12-7 — 101 wins!Wow. If we play worse in this last set of games than in any similar stretch of games all year long, we'll still have won 96 games this year. And if we match our more recent stepped up pace — 100 or more. Just wow.

  15. baseballswami - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    So we are on mlbtv Friday, Fox at 4 on Saturday, ESPN on Sunday? None of our regular folks covering the game for two days? Wow. I guess there are lots of people who think this weekend is important. Rest up today. I am predicting 400 posts a game this weekend.

  16. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Sec 222, I do remember that! I would love to see 100 wins ti top the all time DC record, although the 99 wins was when they only played 154 games. Still, it would be something, Phil wood last night hit the nail on the head and I felt his emotion as a long time DC boy myself… when the Nats clinch post season… it is a big fing deal!!!!

  17. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    When I was at Citibank Filed on Monday night, I had a chance to talk and of course drink a few (ha, ha) with to several Mets fans. They are knowledgeable and very polite. All of them understood the Strass situation and agreed with what the Nats were doing, I was impressed. On a negative but understandable note, their contempt towards the Wilpon ownership is nasty. All of the fans preface Wilpon with his relationship with Madoff. I think Peric way back posted something about this. I hope MLB can some how get Wilpon to sell the Mets to a competent owner in NY.

  18. Joe Seamhead - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I had a unsettling thought this morning. We finish the regular season with 3 games against the Phillies.If the Phillies win the second wild card slot, beat the Braves, we would then play the Phillies in the first round best of five series, meaning we could possibly play the Phillies eight games in a row.

  19. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Joe…. my thoughts too and I hate to say this… I posted 2 weeks ago about the Phillies catching fire and getting in post season. I wonder if it would be better for Nats to see the Reds finish number one overall?? I could see the Phillies somehow getting too the NLCS. I would rather play them in the NLCS than in the first round. I will give it to Charlie Manuel… one hell of a coaching he has done since August.

  20. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Nice post Sec 222. Winning 100 games was crazy talk in May! Now it's just positive thinking.How is Fox covering the Nats in Atlanta on Saturday? Don't they know they have to get all their staff to DC to cover RG3?

  21. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    ehay2k lololo

  22. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    My two cents here, which will I'm sure will create a backlash from some dissenters, but I'm not sure I want to see the Magic number for the wild card spot anymore. Not that it isn't important that we make the playoffs, because it is. But that is simply not the goal for these Nats. Winning the division is what matters.

  23. mick - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    ehay2k I understand what your saying and you are probably right. But, when you have waited your whole life to see post season baseball with our Nats, the clinching of a Wild Card will be a big deal

  24. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Faraz, for this year only, the higher seed starts on the road, in a 2-3 format.swami, our TV guys have the call even though the Friday game is on MLB Network, but they get Saturday and Sunday off.ehay2k, just don't look at the top right corner and you'll be fine. :-)

  25. Laddie Blah Blah - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Lannan has handled this so well. He went down to the minors and improved his game. Instead of nibbling, he is throwing strikes, pitching to contact and getting outs more quickly than anyone else in the Nats starting rotation. And it's not just the Mets, he is 3-0 since being brought back up.I don't see how SS would have done any better. If anything, JL's stature has been improved by both his demeanor and his performances.The Braves seem to want to go into their now traditional September swoon. The Nats could all but wrap up the NL East title this weekend, but they will soon turn their attention towards keeping the Reds from sneaking up on them and taking away home field advantage in the NL playoffs.Davey will not allow them to slack off even after they have clinched the NL East. The Reds will keep them sharp, and playing for keeps, until the Nats also clinch the best record in the NL. Burnett still does not look all that sharp. Both Garcia and Duke have also been effective, as well as Lannan. Davey may have to make some tough calls for the post-season roster. Burnett will be a FA after the season, as will Gonzo, CMW and EJax. What will Rizzo do with Lannan? As usual, Rizzo will be a busy guy this winter.

  26. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Whoops, forgot to add that it's for the division series only (on my comment for Faraz).

  28. karlkolchak - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Damn…Tony V is on to me!Anyway, as far as 100 wins goes, if you tack on the Nats' 14-4 finish last year to their 89-54 this season they are 103-58 with one game to go. In other words, they already HAVE been a 100 win team for a whole year.

  29. DaveB - Sep 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    mick & Joe, I'm with you on this one … I think our worst case scenario is that we struggle against the Phils at the end of the season, allowing them in. Then, they win that play-in game, and come in with all the momentum against us in the first round. However, we play them often enough that I think the odds are that either we will play well enough we keep them out, or else they stay hot (even against us), knocking us down to the second seed. I'm actually fine either way, as I feel even more confident against SF than against either Phil or Atlanta.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I don't get all the concern about the Phillies. The only time I have any interest in the Phillies is when they play us or they play a team that affects the Nats ability to win the division (Braves) or have the best record in the NL (Reds). Other than that, I'll let them fend for themselves.Should they fight their way into a WC spot, so be it. I'll give them their props then root for the Nats to beat their brains in. If you want to be the "Big Boy", you can't have fear of anybody.

  31. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    How about this for a compromise on the Magic Number countdown: Use a smaller font for the WC countdown, or put it in ( ) ?Just thinking we can indicate that the WC is nice, but not the same as winning the division.

  32. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    thanks 1a. So Giants with their rotation will start at their friendly home against Reds and then go to GABP. Only advantage I see for Nats is clinching first postseason series at home.Anyways, drinking Kool-aid, if Nats go 17-2 the rest of the way, they will have best winning percentage in history of DC baseball/Expos. Not likely, but one can dream.Liked your post Sec 222.I think Burnett captured this well, 'If you are not rooting for him, you are not human.' Go Lannen!!!

  33. Water23 - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I think this should be Johnny Boyz music when he is announced at the parkWelcome back,Your dreams were your ticket out.Welcome back,To that same old place that you laughed about.Well the names have all changed since you hung around,But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've hot him on the spot, welcome back,Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/Welcome back Johnny! Thanks for all you have done and will do for the team.

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    You're welcome, Faraz, and good take on the bright side. I also enjoyed the Burnett quote. Atta way, John-Boy! :-)ehay, I'm confident that our very intelligent group can comprehend the difference between the wild card and the division without any font or punctuation tweaks, but that's just me. :-)

  35. fast eddie - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Heading to Atlanta this weekend to stick a fork in the Barves (ed.note: I thought this was a typo on NI until I kept seeing it and finally figured it out! Kudos to whoever came up with that)The Barves are hard to hate–their fans are knowledgable and tolerant, unlike the Philthy fans.Atlanta media has been focused on a wild-card for some time. It's surprising that they gave up on the division title so early.

  36. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    [raises hand] OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH! (Yes, natsfan1a.)Good one, Water. :-)

  37. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    fast eddie, the hat tip for that meme would go to Barves fans.

  38. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Natsfan1a, I know we know the difference, but we could show everyone who visits the site.Part of me wants a Phillies Elimination Countdown too…

  39. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    In case ALR is lost to free agency, is Josh Hamilton an option?

  40. ehay2k - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Lol water23 – well done!

  41. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Also, I can't get past that whole chop/chant thing.

  42. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    ehay2k, that's pushing it (Phillie elimination countdown). I am gonna get used to the idea that on Oct 4th Phillies will be one of WC teams. NatsJack probably jinxed all the teams in front of Phillies by saying that the other teams would all have to collapse for Phillies to make it to postseason. :P

  43. JD - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    BTW, We can't play the Phills in the NLDS. If the scenario described in the previous posts unfolds; Philly would play Cincinnati and we would play the Giants. But I agree with Nats Jack. Bring on any competition and let's see how it plays out.

  44. hiramhover - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    NatsJackExactly.

  45. JD - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Faraz said,'In case ALR is lost to free agency, is Josh Hamilton an option?' Why do you want to worry about next year? One don't you just enjoy this historic year?

  46. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Following up an old post:Melissa Rabey said… Wonk: each teams plays 76 games within their division, 66 games within their league, and 20 interleague games. As it shakes out, we'll play each NL East team 19 times.So, then we play 6.6 games against every NL team not in the East? What's the breakdown?

  47. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Eh, I think even visitors can comprehend that the division and wild card are two different things. Plus, it's Mark's job to inform them, not ours. :-)Anyhoo, off to an appointment soon so type at you later.

  48. JD - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I am still trying to figure out how St.Louis and LA will manage to both continue losing while they play each other this weekend?

  49. hiramhover - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    And congrats to Lannan on a solid start, and to the team for another curly W.Now rest up, and go make like Sherman in ATL–set the place on fire.

  50. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Re: Phils1. I agree with NatsJack — we're the top dog in MLB, we can't be scared of a WC team2. The WC "play-in" game is a total crap-shoot. One bad pitch by somebody, and the season's over. As even the best teams only play .600 ball, it's easy for a good-solid WC team to lose.3. The WC winner will move on after (possibly) just having burnt their #1 starter. They will move on with less rest, more stress, and will be tougher to win their next series.I am 100% behind the idea of the Nats winning the top seed. It is, by far, IMHO, the best position to be in.

  51. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    JD, I was just going over free agents list and saw his name and started dreaming. yeah that's what I do all day, fantasize about Nationals.

  52. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    JD said… I am still trying to figure out how St.Louis and LA will manage to both continue losing while they play each other this weekend?Exactly.That's part of what makes it hard for the Phils. It's not only that they are 3 games behind the WC — any team could make up that. It's that they have to leapfrog three other teams and beat out a fourth team they are currently tied with, and many of those teams play each other). Not impossible, but more difficult.If I have this figured out right, the WC standings are:Braves 81-63St. Louis 75-68Dodgers 74-69 -1Pittsburgh 72-70 -2.5Philly 72-71 -3Milwaukee 72-71 -3Arizona 71-72 -4(anybody have any tips for getting the columns to work out in this?)

  53. natscan reduxit - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    "… in the end the Nationals stuck with what has become their forte in recent weeks: the long ball."… right from the start, I love Davey J. And I'll be lining up along with everyone else just to prostrate myself in front of him and kiss his WS ring.… that's why it's so hard to stay loyal to my own baseball preferences. I love small ball. I believe in my heart that's the way the game is meant to be played; it is clearly the more pleasing game for fans than the big inning, long ball, pre-emptive strike kind of assault that says, go up there; beat the crap out of the ball for a couple of middle innings; then coast to the ninth.… but I'm fortunate. I get to watch the game on TV or my computer. I don't have to stand in the dugout and be responsible ultimately for everything that happens on the field. Davey does that, and I'm ready to accede to his way. If he wants to win the World Series via the long ball, I'll learn to love it.Go Nats!!

  54. hiramhover - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I am still trying to figure out how St.Louis and LA will manage to both continue losing while they play each other this weekend?Because people are wetting their pants about the Phillies, and even the best of logic cannot control a terrified bladder.

  55. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    So, from here on out we only play teams over .500, all teams that are in the running for the NL WC? We could be facing those teams in the playoffs.Good, I say. I think that will keep the boys sharp, especially as it is not considered "sportsmanship" to rest a bunch of your regulars when the season is on the line for the opponent. I especially look forward to the Dodgers series. A lot has happened since that April sweep–to both teams. Almost completely opposite approaches. Ours has been to wait out the injuries and solidify a consistent lineup (finally!). Some people think the Lannan win in July turned the season around. Maybe. But I think the day after Ankiel was released was when it sank into the guys that this team was going for it all, this year.Meanwhile the Dodgers have added stars–and egos–to the clubhouse, and so far the results have not been great.

  56. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    DC Wonk,reds: 3, 4cards: 3, 3pirates: 3, 4cubs: 3, 4brewers: 4, 3dodgers: 3, 3padres: 4, 3giants:3, 3rockies: 3, 4dbacks: 3, 3

  57. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    does anyone want to do the same for rest of NL East or all other teams to figure out how balanced is the schedule with inter-league?

  58. Swift Eagle - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    JD said… BTW, We can't play the Phills in the NLDS. If the scenario described in the previous posts unfolds; Philly would play Cincinnati and we would play the Giants. But I agree with Nats Jack. Bring on any competition and let's see how it plays out. September 13, 2012 9:18 AM ____________________________I've messed this up before, but I think you're wrong on this one…I believe the Top Seed plays the winner of the WC game, even if from the same Division…I actually think Games 1 and 2 for the Nats will be at Atl…

  59. SonnyG10 - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    ehay2k said… My two cents here, which will I'm sure will create a backlash from some dissenters, but I'm not sure I want to see the Magic number for the wild card spot anymore. Not that it isn't important that we make the playoffs, because it is. But that is simply not the goal for these Nats. Winning the division is what matters. September 13, 2012 8:36 AM The way I look at it, neither countdown represents a goal, but is a milestone towards the ultimate goal which is to win the World Series.

  60. NatsNut - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Wow, 222. Seeing it written down like that has my jaw on the floor.

  61. hiramhover - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    SwiftYou are correct–winner of WC plays the top seed; teams from the same division can meet in the WC and the LDS.This overview of the 2012 format from mlb covers that and other scheduling matters.

  62. feelanau - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I'm confused. How can Lannan's ERA be 2.41 if he's thrown, according to this article, 23 2/3 scoreless innings in his three 2012 starts?On MLB Radio this morning — so that's AFTER another stellar Lannan start — Terry Francona said his pick to win the World Series WAS the Nationals but now it's not without Strasburg. Boob.

  63. Feel Wood - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… does anyone want to do the same for rest of NL East or all other teams to figure out how balanced is the schedule with inter-league?How do you define "balanced"? Each team plays 76 games within their division, 66 games within their league, and 20 interleague games. With every divsion consisting of five teams, that means every team's schedule works out like this:19 games vs the other four teams in their own division = 76 games6 games vs four non-division teams in their own league (24 games) + 7 games vs the other six non-division teams (42 games) = 66 non-division games3 games vs four teams from one division of the other league (12 games) + 4 games vs the other team in that division + 4 games vs the "natural rival" in the other league = 20 interleague gamesSimple algebra yields that much. Assignment of specific teams to the 3 game or 4 game series probably will vary from year to year. Assignment of home vs away will be determined by whatever gives 81 home games and 81 away games, and 10/9 or 9/10 home/away breakdown for the division opponents.That seems about as balanced as you can get, given the parameters.

  64. hiramhover - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    feelanauThe ERA is for his 3 MLB starts only; the count of scoreless innings includes this start and his last two in AAA.

  65. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    You are correct Derek. There is no consideration given to Divisional foe or not after the WC play in game. It's WC versus best record and #2 versus #3 no matter what Division a team is from.On another note, you still in for next Saturday afternoon for the Brewers game?

  66. Feel Wood - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    feelanau said… I'm confused. How can Lannan's ERA be 2.41 if he's thrown, according to this article, 23 2/3 scoreless innings in his three 2012 starts?Two of those three scoreless starts were in AAA. The 2.41 ERA refers to his three MLB starts.

  67. Doc - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Regarding Lefty's comment, it's nice to see Lannan's teammates pulling for him.I know that his life with the Nats is limited, but I think that I'll pull for him wherever he lands.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I agree Doc. This year has made me a John Lannan fan wherever he pitches.

  69. Water23 - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Faraz,One big problem with signing Josh Hamilton would be that the Nats are not in the AL. As a result, they could not move him to DH in two years when his body really gives out. As opposed to now when his body has mostly give out. I hope he does stay healthy as his story of redemption and success is a good one but he does seem very injury prone.

  70. feelanau - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks for the clarification, Hiram and Feel Wood. Still, 2.41 is pretty darn good. Was there a more important win all season than the second game of that July double-header against the Braves? Weren't we all scared to death that the wheels were falling off the cart? I was a nervous wreck! John Lannan made sure the wheels stayed firmly on and we've kept on cruising ever since. Nats fans should be forever grateful, wherever John pitches next season.

  71. Steady Eddie - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    222 — great post @ 8:12. The one key thing I would point out about games 19-71, in which you described us as playing "consistently decent baseball", is that that was what everyone rightly described as the crucial stretch of the season — mostly against our division and the AL East — that would test whether this team was for real. So while I agree that in general, going 27-26 is no more than "decent," in the context of what that stretch of the schedule represented, it was solid and — under the circumstances that we had no Morse, no Storen, a LaRoche who had largely gone cold after mid-May, and a pre-cortisone Zim for virtually that entire period — proved this was a resilient and even outstanding team that could go the distance.Agree with NatsJack on the fear-no-team theme — we all know what our pitching is capable of, and with our hitting what it's become, having ALR, Zim, and Harp — and KSuz, and Desi — all heating up together, we're the team everyone fears. Notice that MLB has recently, post-Strasdown, given the Nats minimal attention? Partly because there's little drama in the NL East race, but shouldn't the best team in baseball be recognized as such? It's mostly because they're so invested in the "Nats can't win without Stras" narrative that they don't want to admit that we have, we are, and we will.Also, if we don't play well against the Phillies, we're unlikely to get the top seed. If we do, they're unlikely to get a WC.

  72. Feel Wood - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I know that his life with the Nats is limitedMaybe, maybe not. If EJax can command a 3 or 4 year deal somewhere else, Rizzo could easily decide to let him go and keep Lannan (still under team control for one more year, thanks to losing so much MLB service time this year) as the bridge to the arrival of one or more of the power arms now developing in the minors. Unless they can re-sign EJax soon after the season ends, they would likely tender Lannan a contract rather than let him walk because they have to make that decision fairly early on. That way they preserve his value as a trade chip (if a FA starter is signed) or possible rotation piece next year. If he is tendered a contract and proves expendable next spring, he can always be Pattersoned then, avoiding most of his salary hit, or traded. Lannan could be like a cat for the Nats, with nine lives.

  73. Another_Sam - Sep 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I'm with you guys on Lannan. Last year I was not at all a JL kinda guy. This spring I kinda was okay with his being 4 or 5. Now – he's won me over.

  74. JaneB - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I'm just so impressed with LannAn and LannEn. I hope they find a post season roster spot for him after all he's meant to us over the years. And the book is a smart smart thought. Mark should commence interviewing now.One thing I don't like about national broadcast attention is no FP. Especially when we go into post season, I want their observations. Buy I'll save that whine for later. This is really going to happen, isn't it? Every time I think I totally believe, I find another pocket of myself that is so relieved with every win and the 8.5 games up that I realize I must not yet be 100% sure this miracle is materializing. GYFNG!

  75. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I've messed this up before, but I think you're wrong on this one…I believe the Top Seed plays the winner of the WC game, even if from the same Division…I actually think Games 1 and 2 for the Nats will be at Atl… Wow — I just had a sudden flashback — and I hope history repeats itself.Back in 1969 the NLCS was the same format: 2 games away followed by three games home. It was the Mets vs Braves, and, my dad was able to get two tickets to game #3. The Mets won the first two games in Atlanta and came back home. I (and, it turned out, my mom) went to game #3, where the Mets completed the three-game sweep and went to the World Series.(Some of the highlights of the game included: home runs by Hank Aaron and Orlando Cepeda — and Tommy Agee; Nolan Ryan coming in to relieve in the 3rd inning and finishing the game; and successfully convincing my very cool mom to climb over the barrier and go onto the field after the game).May history repeat itself: a three game sweep of the Braves, and my attendance at game three! ;-)

  76. fast eddie - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    With all this talk about "magic numbers", why stop with the wild card or division? How bout the WS? What would it be–add another 3 for the NLDS, 4 for the NLCS and 4 for the WS??Hey, it's already a dream season–why not go all the way!

  77. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    natscan reduxit said… "… in the end the Nationals stuck with what has become their forte in recent weeks: the long ball." … that's why it's so hard to stay loyal to my own baseball preferences. I love small ball.I think there is a key attribute about Davey that most folks don't realize: he tailors his strategy to the team he has. When he had the Reds, e.g., a fast team, they stole lots of bases.Of players on the Nats who have played over 80 games, only two of them are hitting over .285 (and nobody over .300).Bottom line is this: the Nats are fourth in batting, but second in home runs (and don't play in a band box). So — you go with your strength: home runs.(Further, there's lots of data that shows that bunting a guy over from first reduces the expected value of runs for that inning).

  78. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Trivia question of the day:What do you call a team that leads the league in homers, is second in batting, and is first in ERAAnswer: best team in baseball.Clarification: there are two answers to that question, what's the other answer?Answer: The Washington Nationals

  79. Water23 - Sep 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    One thought on Lannan, Ejax et al and their future with the Nats. The Nationals have been extremely fortunate with the health of their starting rotation. Only afew injuries, CMW and SS, which was already a known factor at the start, is really unusual. There is a reason Rizzo's mantra is you can never have enough pitching. It is likely he will sign one if not both of them and may still seek out another option (Greinke etc). That and all the prospects coming up should be enough to buffer against injury.

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    New Post

  81. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Um, angering the baseball deities? :-)fast eddie said… With all this talk about "magic numbers", why stop with the wild card or division? How bout the WS? What would it be–add another 3 for the NLDS, 4 for the NLCS and 4 for the WS?? Hey, it's already a dream season–why not go all the way! September 13, 2012 11:19 A

  82. do1teach1 - Sep 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Well, with the new thread up on Ryan Z, I'm sure everyone has moved onto Mark's new post.But I just want to say how much I respect John Lannan.We all saw his parents in the stands last night. They should be very, very proud of their son.

  83. realdealnats - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I agree with NatsJack. I'd as soon go through the phillies as around them. I don't mind the Magic Number, but trying to avoid opponents might seem strategic, but I believe it takes away your confidence and your edge. I say full steam ahead and if we go down in the playoffs that's the way it goes. But I still think, like I've always felt this year–we're going deep–and have as good a chance as any to go all the way. The way I see it, no one wants to play US!

  84. peric - Sep 13, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Sure quieted the anti-Lannan crowd, well, especially the one who fretted he wasn't man enough for the pressure of this particular situation.Just telling it like it was and still is. Its not Lannan's fault, replacing Strasburg is the luck of the draw. There is a great deal (as he himself seems to have observed) of difference between the rotation he finds himself a part of and those which featured Jason Marquis and Livo Hernandez, the defacto ace before the younger arms made the scene.Add on the whole pile of horse hockey about Stras's shutdown and you have Danny style controversy. The kind that has made many a competent (if not consummate) professional crack.Lannan did get over 5 innings, but even Mark noticed the Riggleman-like hook that Davey pulled out in the fifth when Lannan walked that hitter. Davey didn't want to risk an implosion ruining what was a solid, bordering on spectacular outing into the fifth inning. Exactly what Riggleman use to do with Lannan. Davey's done the same with the others including Strasburg early on in the season wanting to ensure they always take something positive from the outing.Nonetheless, five relievers were required. Which isn't exactly a good thing given the remaining schedule.Davey is keeping a close watch on John Lannan.

  85. realdealnats - Sep 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    222 @ 8: 12 am–Awesome compilation of figures and projections.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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