Tag:John Lannan
Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:34 am
 

Nats starters go deep (no, not home runs)

Only one team in the majors has yet to go to the bullpen in the first five innings of a game.

No, it's not the Phillies. Or the Giants. Or the A's.

Keep guessing, and let me know when you get to the Nationals.

Yes, the Nationals.

Last year, they didn't get past opening day without an early departure by the starter. By the end of the year, they had 38, the most in the majors.

Now, they're the only team without one (every other team has at least two, led by the Pirates with seven).

It's all according to plan.

"I'm not a big stat guy, but I firmly believe that the farther the starter goes in a game, the better chance you have of winning," pitching coach Steve McCatty said by phone Tuesday morning. "You try to get guys to know they have to go farther in the game to give you a chance to win."

It's not exactly revolutionary thinking, but McCatty has prioritized limiting walks over striking out batters. Sure enough, Nationals starters have just 45 walks in 173 innings, fewer than any rotation other than the Phillies.

"We're trying to stress it in the minor leagues, too," he said. "One thing the pitch count has done is it keeps guys from going deep in games, but we're telling guys you can go seven innings with 100 pitches or less.

"I was a guy who threw 135-145 pitches every time out, but just because I did it doesn't make it right."

The Nationals have gotten innings out of their starters without running high pitch counts. No Nats starter has thrown more than 109 pitches in a game, and last Friday against the Giants Jason Marquis threw a 96-pitch complete game.

The five-inning thing, as McCatty admits, isn't the best indicator. The Nationals are only in the middle of the pack in starts of six innings-plus (they have 19 in 28 games), and the Nats have just six starts of seven innings-plus (the Rays lead baseball with 15).

But for an unheralded staff -- Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny form the Nationals rotation -- the five-inning streak is impressive.

Especially from a rotation no one has paid attention to since Stephen Strasburg got hurt.

Posted on: April 10, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 7:31 pm
 

3 to watch: The most favored opponent edition

Nine games in, the Phillies have the same record they had after nine games last year. They're 7-2, the best record in the National League.

But nine games in, the Phillies have scored 10 fewer runs than they did in the first nine games last year.

Does that mean they really do miss Jayson Werth and Chase Utley? Or does it just mean that they haven't played the Nationals yet?

They do miss Werth and Utley, or at least they should miss them eventually. But it is worth noting that the Phillies played six of their first nine games against Washington last year, and that they scored 50 runs in those six games.

The only reason we're bringing this up now is that Werth left the Phillies to sign with the Nationals last winter, and this week in Washington he'll play against his former team for the first time.

And if the Phillies were off to a slow start, there would no doubt be plenty of talk about how much they miss Jayson Werth.

Instead, Werth is hitting .200 for the Nationals, and the Phils are averaging 6.6 runs a game without him.

And that's without any games against Washington, the team the Phils pounded for 107 runs in 18 games last year.

The 107 runs were the most the Phillies scored against any opponent, but they weren't the most any team scored against any opponent last year.

The Twins scored 130 runs in their 18 games against the Royals (helped by a 19-1 game), and the Brewers scored 125 in 18 games against the Pirates (helped by back-to-back 20-0 and 17-3 wins).

And this week, while the Phillies play the Nationals, the Twins will play the Royals and the Brewers will play the Pirates.

Is there any doubt about the theme for this week's 3 to watch:

1. Ryan Braun is the National League's early home run leader, with four in the first 10 games of the season. And he hasn't even faced the Pirates yet. Braun hit six of his 25 home runs last year against Pittsburgh, the team he'll face in for the first time this year in Brewers at Pirates, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at PNC Park . Braun has homered off each of the scheduled Pirates starters this week, with one in 16 at-bats against Kevin Correia (Tuesday), one in 30 at-bats against Paul Maholm (Wednesday) and two in 16 at-bats against Jeff Karstens (Thursday).

2. The Twins are off to a slow start. Joe Mauer is off to a slow start. But the Twins haven't seen the Royals yet, and neither has Mauer. Last year, Mauer hit an incredible .516 against the Royals, with 17 RBI in 15 games. He gets his first chance of 2011 in Royals at Twins, Tuesday night (8:10 ET) at Target Field .

3. John Lannan is 29-30 with a 3.87 ERA in 86 career starts against everyone but the Phillies. John Lannan is 0-8 with a 6.09 ERA in 11 starts against the Phillies. He gets another chance -- or the Phillies get another chance -- in Phillies at Nationals, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Nationals Park . Bad news for him: He's matched up against Roy Halladay, who allowed one run in 23 innings in his three starts (all wins) against Washington last year.


 
 
 
 
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