- John Lannan only pitched six innings or more in one of his five starts since returning from the disabled list. Tonight, the lefty was masterful, tossing eight shutout innings against his former club. Lannan allowed just four hits and two walks on the night.
- The Phillies got Lannan a quick two-run lead in the first inning. Domonic Brown singled home a run, and Darin Ruf drew a walk with the bases loaded.
- Ruf also picked up a single in his second start of the year.
- Jimmy Rollins added the team’s third run with an RBI single in the sixth.
- Ben Revere had another three-hit ballgame, and came around to score two runs.
- Delmon Young went just 1-4, and left five runners on base.
- Carlos Ruiz had an even rougher night, going 0-4 with six men left on base.
- The Phillies as a team went just 2-11 with runners in scoring position.
- Jonathan Papelbon picked up the save in the ninth, despite allowing two runs to score.
John Lannan, arguably the weakest link in the rotation, pitched a gem out of nowhere tonight to anchor the Phillies in the first game of the series. Lannan was the key to tonight’s win, shutting down the Washington lineup and pitching deep into the game. The lefty made it so the only member of the bullpen that Charlie Manuel had to call upon was his closer.
Speaking of Papelbon, I’m still very concerned about his workload. The righty has now pitched in four of the last five games, and showed that he was leaking a bit of oil tonight, allowing the first two batters to get into scoring position. Charlie Manuel may feel like he doesn’t have any other choice, but he just can’t keep running Papelbon into the ground like this. This is why I didn’t agree with Manuel’s decision to go to his closer with a four-run lead in Sunday’s game. Adding unnecessary strain to Papelbon’s arm in a situation like that is going to make it more difficult for him to convert saves during the rest of this homestand.
The Phillies still have three more dates with the Nationals this week. They’ve got to find some way to win these games without leaning on Papelbon in the ninth. Either the offense is going to have to explode for a great deal of runs, or Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are going to have bring their A-games and go the distance.
The good news, however, is that the Phils are now 3-1 on their homestand. They got their series with the Nats off to a great start behind an unexpected performance from John Lannan, and they’re in a good position to take at least two of the final games with Hamels and Lee set to pitch.