Lannan Injury Not All Bad News, Phils Fall To Braves


Aug 14, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher John Lannan (27) is checked by pitching coach Rich Dubee (30) and the trainer and infield during the game against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Phillies signed John Lannan to a cheap, one-year $2.5 million contract back in December, it was with the thought that he would be the team’s #5 starter at the end of a rotation that featured Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick.

When that signing happened, I thought it was a decent move by the Phils.

"You can’t have aces in EVERY spot in the rotation. And would it have been preferable had they spend $12 million on the overrated Kyle Lohse, or overpay for a marginal talent like Edwin Jackson?The Phillies needed a cheap solution for the final spot in the rotation, and they got one. I know people are still upset with Lannan for breaking Chase Utley’s arm with a pitch back in July of 2007, but everyone’s going to have to get over that.Lannan has been a decent pitcher against every team not named the Phillies, is still young (only 28), and is only on a one-year commitment.Yes, his control is an issue and there will be starts where he gets shelled, but for a cheap, one-year rental, you could do a whole lot worse than John Lannan."

Apparently, the Phils couldn’t have done a whole lot worse than Lannan after all.

Lannan left last night’s 6-3 loss to the Braves in Atlanta in the second inning with an injured left knee, after suffering a quad injury in the same area as that knee earlier this year. As a result, he may require season-ending surgery to fix it.

It’s likely last night was the last time we will see Lannan pitch in a Phillies uniform.

I will wait a minute for you to complete your weeping…

OK, we’re back.

The Braves got to him early last night, pounding him for five runs in just 1 1/3 innings, including a lead-off home run from Jason Heyward. And after the game, no one seemed optimistic that Lannan would be back.

"“I had the quad problem and some structural damage that happened over the years,” Lannan said. “The other thing, not the quad tendon, flared up before my last start. I tried to fight through it, but it was obviously affecting the way I was throwing.“I want to get it fixed. That’s what it comes down to. Short-term that could create a lot of questions, but long-term, if I get it fixed, I feel I can have a decent career.”"

Lannan, by the way, is 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA in 14 starts. His WHIP of 1.452 was slightly higher than his already-high career average. In short, he hasn’t even been a good #5 starter. Of course, no one else in the rotation has been any damn good lately either, with all starters other than Cole Hamels posting an 8.04 ERA since the All-Star Break (stat courtesy/stolen from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury).

With Jonathan Pettibone close to returning and Roy Halladay making a rehab start today, the Phils may not miss Lannan all that much. His injury also allows the Phils to continue pitching Ethan Martin to see if he can be an effective Major League starter. So the Lannan injury is not all bad news.

Offensively, the Phillies got homers from two of what they hope will be their young cornerstones moving forward, Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf. For Brown, it was his team-leading 27th, for Ruf, it was his 7th.

Brown is now hitting .277/.324/.541 for an OPS of .865 with 78 RBIs, and Ruf is hitting .273/.375/.527 for an OPS of .902 with 12 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 128 PAs.

So, some hope there.

And let’s not sleep on the performance of the young bullpen the last two games. They pitched three innings of shutout ball in relief of Martin on Tuesday night, and last night, the combination of Zach Miner, Cesar Jimenez, Luis Garcia and Raul Valdez combined to throw 6 2/3 innings of one-run relief.

The Phillies are now 53-67, two games behind the Mets for third in the NL East, and just 6 1/2 games ahead of Miami for last place. Not only that…

The Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48 games. So with that in mind, some advice for Phils fans this weekend…