I am not surprised the Washington Nationals were beaten by their former teammate, John Lannan. Eight innings of shutout ball on the other hand, was a bit surprising. The Nats have trouble hitting lefties and soft tossers. When Lannan’s sinker is working, he induces lots of ground balls and typically pitches about 5 2/3 innings, giving up 2 or 3 runs. Last night was rather exceptional. Lannan gets a small measure of personal revenge that he was cast aside for Dan Haren (who kept the Nats in a game for a change and Edwin Jackson last year). The biggest downside of Lannan’s dominance was that they couldn’t get to the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen. Once they faced Jonathan Papelbon, they started hitting and got two late runs.
I’ve gotten to know a Philly sports fan in the office. Yesterday morning, he was telling me he kind of hoped the Phillies wouldn’t take this series because the reign is over and he wants the rebuilding to begin in earnest and recent good play is probably going to delay it. That’s an interesting place to be as a fan, but I’ve always been of the mindset that I’d rather win. DC teams have a tendency to not play too well to mess up their draft position anyway, it least of late. I suggested that Lannan could have a good night and took a blind guess that Haren would keep the Nats in it. Also, because stereotypes are sometimes built on truth, Philly Dan (seems a good shorthand for him) did mention Donovan McNabb’s weak stomach in critical situations.
So, the 4 game winning streak ended last night the questions about where the Nats are come up again. They took the Arizona Diamondbacks series, but only split with the Milwaukee Brewers. They were some big outbursts of 8+ runs, but the team pitched to the score resulting in some 11-7 and 8-5 games. That’s just the kind of season the Nats are having. Overall, I think with a healthly lineup, they have started their run, but this Phillies series will be tough to win or even split. I may owe somebody a half-smoke again after the season.
I’m not too worked up about the All-Star game and which Nats are or might be playing in it. Bryce Harper was voted a starter and Jordan Zimmermann goes in as a pitcher. I expect Matt Harvey to start it since the New York Mets are hosting and that’s fine with me. If Zimmermann doesn’t make an appearance, that’s probably for the best. He’s not as dominate as he was earlier in the season and a little rest wouldn’t hurt.
Harper in the Home Run Derby doesn’t excite me. I’ve seen him take batting practice up close — he usually hits line drives about 200 MPH. I don’t want him messing up his swing.
As a programming note, I’m in the “not much to say” period of Nats blogging. This happens after 9 years I guess.
Oh and Nats fan fights on Twitter are dumb.
SOME OTHER STUFF YOU OUGHT TO CHECK OUT
The Worst NatsTM fan and puppy hater is tumblin‘ a little bit. Good to have you back Chris.
Thomas Boswell chat from yesterday – he’s the Bos-iest!
VIDEOS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
I was going to have Wilson Ramos’ 5 RBI July 4, but they don’t have it embeddable. MLB Video is arbitrary.
D’oh! Didn’t get this up for Federal Baseball’s Wire Taps.
Taylor Jordan vs. Cole Hamels tonight.