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GameThread: Washington @ St. Louis - 2008 Game 7 of 162.

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When John Lannan was sent to the Triple-AAA Columbus Clippers on March 26, 2008, Nationals' Manager Manny Acta told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, in an article entitled, "Nats finalize 25-Man Roster", that:

"'The Lannan situation -- he understands [what's going on],' Acta said. 'He might be here pretty soon, depending on what happens with Shawn Hill. It's a sign of progress. It gives us a chance not to rush anybody and give those guys time to develop.'"

It also didn't help Lannan's case that Matt Chico, his main competition for the final spot in the starting rotation, was the only starter to take the ball at each of his turns in the rotation during the '07 season, or that Chico had some 11th-hour tricks in his arsenal, waiting until the end of this year's Spring Training campaign before swiftboating Lannan with a rediscovered "leg kick", which promised to increase the velocity of Chico's high-80's/low-90's fastball, and caught the attention of the DC baseball press and fan base...(ed. note - "...what you just read was a dramatic politically-themed reenactment, only partially based in fact.")

After two seasons in A-Ball, Lannan, the Nationals' 11th Round pick from 2005 worked his way up from Class-A Potomac, to Double-AA Harrisburg, Triple-AAA Columbus and finally his Major League debut with Washington on the road in Philadelphia on July 26th, where he was famously, (ed. note - "..and foolishly), ejected after hitting Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on their hands in consecutive at bats. Lannan started six games with the Nationals in '07, posting a (2-2) record and 4.15 ERA in 34.2 IP.

When Lannan's recall from Columbus was announced Saturday(yesterday) on the Nationals' official site, Manager Manny Acta again spoke to Bill Ladson, and Mr. Acta's quoted in an articled entitled, "Lannan happy to be back in Majors" endorsing the return of Lannan:

"'[I like] his command. It's very good for a guy his age, especially being left-handed,' manager Manny Acta said. 'He is able to hit that glove consistently and he shows no fear.'"

I, personally, first realized John Lannan had no fear last year in San Francisco, when Lannan was the first of two lefties, along with Mike Bacsik, to face the former Giants' Left Fielder with the All-Time HR Record one long ball away. Lannan retired the Giants' Left Fielder twice and issued him one walk in his start against San Fran, but the Giants' Left Fielder would get one more shot at Lannan with the rookie hurler still on the hill in the seventh inning...(ed. note - "...as I wrote then in an article entitled, "The San Francisco Giants' Left Fielder, John Lannan, Hank Aaron and Al Downing, or It Might Be Good News For Lannan If You're Wondering Who Al Downing Is?", Lannan showed no fear at all in the face of vicarious baseball immortality:

"...John Lannan issues a one-out walk to Omar Vizquel, so barring a double-play-grounder from (Randy) Winn, the Giants' Left Fielder will bat in the inning. Winn flies out to right. The Giants' Left Fielder steps to the plate...Low, ball one on the curve. 1-0. Fastball outside. 2-0. Fastball on the outside corner. Strike. 2-1. Low and outside, 3-1. Fastball upstairs!! The Giants' Left Fielder swings through it. Strike TWO! Full count...Curve? Strike three swinging. Lannan sits Him down. 1-1 after seven..."

Tomorrow at 2:05 PM EST, Lannan has a chance to impress again. Last season, the lefty was (2-2) on the road, but he's yet to face St. Louis. Surely last years' standoff with destiny has to in some way have prepared Lannan for facing Albert Pujols...If anything can prepare you for facing Pujols...