There were plenty of futile images from which John Lannan could choose to spend most of Saturday night reliving. A night that was supposed to be Lannan’s first chance to become the fifth pitcher in Nationals history with a 10-win season devolved so quickly and in such an ugly fashion, the options of moments to forget were abundant.
But the most telling one from the Nationals' 9-3 loss to the major league-worst Houston Astros was not of another well-placed hit sneaking through the Nationals’ infield in a horrific, six-run third inning. It was of Lannan, crouched next to the third-base line, hands on his head, after his throw toward home sailed away, allowing two more runs to score.
Of Lannan, in disbelief at the mess he’d made.
“I really don’t show that emotion on the field,” Lannan said. “I showed some there. Really down on myself for making that errant throw.
“Any out right there would have changed the whole complexion of the inning. But, you know, I didn’t get the out. … That was my night.”
He had some help, and a little bad luck when a one-out double by Jordan Schafer was mishandled against the wall in the left-field corner by Michael Morse that allowed him to take third base. But it was all Lannan from there.
Lannan surrendered six straight one-out base hits, four of them scoring runs. He also fielded Jose Altuve’s weak bases-loaded grounder to the right of the mound, tried for the force at home plate and watched two more runs score when the throw sailed wide of catcher Jesus Flores.
“In reality I think I should just let the ball go and let [third baseman Ryan Zimmerman] have it,” Lannan said. “But it happened so fast that I just wanted to kind of get an out there. I think I had a little more time than I thought.”
“He just didn’t have any location,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said, trying to find the words to explain his team’s 13th loss in its last 17 games. “I didn’t like the pitch selection. I didn’t like location. Just one of those days sometimes you’ve got to have. That’s been one of his few ones. But it sure gets one-sided when it happens.
“What was it, three innings and they had eight hits? One of them was a squeeze, but that’s not making a lot of good pitches.”
Lannan walked off the mound moments later, holding his glove dejectedly in his left hand, and reaching the dugout for the third-shortest start of his career. In Lannan’s 125-start career, he’s been unable to get past the third inning on two other occasions: earlier this season in Philadelphia when he surrendered six earned in two innings, and on Aug. 22, 2009, a seven-earned-run, 1 ⅔-inning performance against Milwaukee.
“I just didn’t get the job done,” he said. “That’s unacceptable.”
“When I needed to make pitches, I didn’t,” he added. “And when I did, they were able to get it through the infield.”
The Nationals meager offensive effort against Houston didn’t help. In the past 13 losses, a stretch that dates back to the same day an earthquake shook the Washington area, the Nationals are averaging 2.5 runs per game. Their outbursts are few and far between, their support as a unit lacking. The same things that plagued the Nationals in May are still haunting them in September.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up.
Richard Ivory, editor-in-chief of Hip Hop Republicans and HHR at Communities Digital News, turns his interests, and pen, to the people making news today.
One man’s perspective. Exploration and commentary designed to challenge the conventional thinking of day on the political issues affecting our nation.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc