John Lannan pitched his second straight victory last night as the Washington Nationals ended a five-game skid, topping the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 at Nationals Park.
The Nationals gave Lannan early run support, poking four singles in the first inning to sneak in three runs against Diamondbacks starter Joe Saunders. The club tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the second as weak hitting Wil Nieves hit just his second homer of the season, a solo shot, giving the Nats former ace a 4-0 lead to work with.
Lannan looked like the pitcher of old Friday night, getting batters to ground out early in the count by keeping them off balance. The 25-year-old allowed only four hits, one walk, and two earned runs while striking out five batters on the night. The victory helped Lannan drop his season ERA to 5.23.
Out of the bullpen came lefty Sean Burnett in the 8th to pitch two hitless frames to close out the game. Showing Riggleman that he has the talent to be more than a one-out-guy, Burnett K’d four Diamondbacks batters en route to improving his ERA to 2.72 and earning his second save of the season.
A Few Thoughts:
- While the Lannan and Burnett looked on fire, earning five and four strikeouts respectively, we have to remember that the Diamondbacks are far and away the worst strikeout teams in the majors…one of the worst in history.
- By only allowing two earned runs last night, Lannan has now allowed two or less earned runs in seven of his last ten starts. He has earned three wins and three losses in that frame.
- The Nationals were successful scoring runs for a few reasons. First, because they were lucky. They had two seeing eye singles that found their way through the infield and scored runs. However, they were able to capitalize on this luck by being smart and playing good fundamental baseball. With the two first batters getting on base, Adam Dunn didn’t fly out or strike out (which he is much more likely to do) he grounded out to first, moving the runners over so the club had second and third with one out. This put the Nationals in position to score on Zimmerman and Morse’s seeing eye singles. The club also helped themselves by not striking out in that inning, all of their outs were productive.
- Ian Desmond and Alberto Gonzalez both had great games hitting at the top of the order. Whether or not this is the result of anything, or just a coincidence, is yet to be seen.