Jul 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher John Lannan (27) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
So the Phillies aren’t making things easy on the decision makers in the front office.
After Monday night’s 3-2 defeat of the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils have taken three of the first four games on their all-important homestand, a homestand that could define the rest of the 2013 season.
So far, the players are doing all they can to prevent the sell-off.
Last night, John Lannan suddenly showed up and pitched his most effective game since 2009. Against his former team, Lannan threw eight shutout innings, giving up just four hits and two walks, in earning his second win of the season. Jonathan Papelbon then tried to choke it away in the ninth (this is NOT helping your trade value, Jonathan), giving up two earned runs on two hits, but in the end secured his 19th save, helping the Phillies take the first game of their four-game series against Washington.
The Phils don’t need Lannan to do what he did last night in order for him to be useful, although they will certainly take it. What they need out of Lannan is for him to put up Jamie Moyer-type numbers at the back of the rotation.
In his five seasons in Philadelphia, Moyer posted an ERA of 4.55, averaged 28 starts a year and 167 innings pitched. Moyer was effective most nights and certainly took his lumps in others.
If the Phillies can get that kind of production out of Lannan, their one-year, $2.5 million investment in the grounder-inducing left-hander will have been well worth it. His stellar start last night dropped his ERA to 4.23, which would be adequate if he can maintain it moving forward.
Offensively, the Phils did just enough to win. They scored two runs in the first inning thanks to an RBI infield single by Domonic Brown and a bases loaded walk by Darin Ruf. They added another run in the sixth thanks to a two-out double by Ben Revere (who went 3 for 5 and is now hitting an even .300 on the season) and an RBI single by Jimmy Rollins.
Papelbon made things interesting in the ninth, giving up RBI singles to Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche, before finally nailing down the final out.
With the win, the Phillies are now 44-46 and have won four out of their last five, keeping them 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and 6 1/2 back in the NL wild card chase.
Yes, they are making things difficult on Ruben Amaro. It remains to be seen if this is a good thing or not.
Where It All Went Right
When Rollins knocked in that all-important insurance run in the 6th, a run that turned out to be the winning margin.
Lannan, who pitched eight innings of shutout ball for the first time since 2009. It’s hard to remember, but at one time, Lannan was considered the staff ace of some very bad Nationals baseball teams. Those were the days.
David Wright, who didn’t pick Domonic Brown to be in the home run derby. What, there’s a RULE that the villain has to come from THIS game?