Monday night, John Lannan provided his best start this year while pitching in a place he wants no part of. He continued his adjustment to Class AAA Syracuse by allowing one run over seven innings against Charlotte, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out six.
After the Nationals’ surprisingly optioned him to the minors two days before opening day, Lannan publicly asked the Nationals for a trade. The Nationals want to keep him, barring a significant return in a trade, in order to maintain starting rotation depth with Stephen Strasburg scheduled to be shut down after 160 innings.
Lannan has struggled, his ERA sitting at 5.19 even after last night’s strong start. But those rough starts don’t change what he is, which is a valid major league pitcher. Lannan will surely be fine at Class AAA, but the shock and disappointment, to go along with a completely new atmosphere, led to some bad results at first. You could see that coming.
One more pitching note from the minor leagues: In a rehab start Saturday at Class A Potomac that was just a little upstaged, Chien-Ming Wang threw 49 pitches in four solid innings. He allowed one run on four hits, walking none and striking out three, in his first start at an affiliate as he comes back from a strained hamstring he suffered in mid-March.
The Nationals have not announced Wang’s next minor league rehab start. It will likely come Thursday, and both Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg have home games that day.