Of the thirty batters 28-year-old Long Beach, NY-born left-hander John Lannan hit over his six seasons in the majors with the Washington Nationals, eleven of them were Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies' hitters took more of the two-time Nationals' Opening Day starter's HBPs than any other team he's faced. Two long-time Phillies, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, got hit during the '05 11th Round pick's June '07 MLB debut. Lannan broke Utley's hand that day and was ejected from the game in Citizens Bank Park. Over the course of his career he's hit Utley two more times and Howard three more times since that first major league start.
The Phillies dominated Lannan for most of his time with the Nationals, however, handing him losses in 13 of 19 career starts against the Nats' NL East rivals in which the lefty posted a 5.53 ERA. Subtract Lannan's numbers against Philadelphia and the pitcher with a (42-52) career record, 4.01 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 3.40 BB/9 and 4.71 K/9 in 134 starts and 783.2 MLB IP is a .500 pitcher at (39-39) with a 3.80 ERA in 115 outings as Philadelphia Inquirer writer Bob Brookover wrote this afternoon in an article about the Phillies officially announcing the 1-year/$2.5M dollar bonus-laden deal with Lannan.
Asked about the HBP-filled debut in 2007 today, Lannan joked with reporters that he didn't, "... remember anything about that day," before saying he was sure that it was all "water under the bridge," at this point. Lannan chalked the HBPs on Utley and Howard up to the difficulties of pitching left-handed hitters inside.
After a rough season with Washington in which he was optioned to Triple-A to start the year after five seasons in the Nationals' rotation, requested a trade and spent the majority of the year with the Nats' top affiliate outside of two spot starts and some fill-in duty at the end of the year once Stephen Strasburg was shut down, Lannan was non-tendered and allowed to become a free agent.
Lannan told reporters that it was a "weird" year in the organization, mostly watching as the Nationals won the NL East, though he did make significant contributions when called upon, going (4-1) with a 4.13 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 3.86 BB/9 and 4.68 K/9 in six starts and 32.2 IP:
"'It was weird definitely not being a part of it,' [Lannan] said. 'But I was happy for them and I was glad I was able to help. The season ended on a bad note, but I got a taste of it and that's why I wanted to come here. I feel like the Phillies have a great shot of winning the NL East and going to the World Series.'"
Lannan wouldn't bite when asked if he thought the Phillies were better than the Nationals, however, though his new teammate Jimmy Rollins went there in a CSNPhilly.com interview earlier this winter. The often-outspoken Rollins told reporters that in spite of the Nationals winning the 2012 NL East championship, the road to the divisional crown still goes through Philadelphia, with the Phillies having won five straight before the Nats broke their streak:
"It still runs through Philly," Rollins said. "[Washington] had one year to win it. It was just like when the Mets took it from Atlanta, it was still up for grabs. I'm sure Atlanta felt it was still theirs, but fortunately we were able to come in and take it the next five years."
"'I'm trying to say that it's a very competitve division and we're ready to go in and win the NL East,'" Lannan told the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover today. Lannan's agent, Brody Van Wagenen told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore in an article published this morning that he thought his client would benefit from the move to Philadelphia, and increased run-support, noting that his numbers were affected by the lack of support and the quality of the teams he was pitching for in previous seasons in D.C. Might have a point there. The Phillies' first visit to the nation's capital in 2013 is in late May, it will be interesting to see how Lannan's received when he returns to Nationals Park.