John Lannan was signed this past off-season by the Philadelphia Phillies to be the team’s fifth starter. However, on this cold April night, he was also given the task of trying to help the Phillies prevent a 1-4 start to their season that would have eyes rolling and questions brewing.
Lannan may not have picked up the victory, but pitched well in his first start in a Phillies uniform. The Phillies ended up needing a three-run walk off double from Kevin Frandsen to win the game Saturday against the Kansas City Royals in a 4-3 thriller, but Lannan’s start helped keep them in the game.
He finished the game with a seven inning, three run performance, with nary a walk to his ledger. He struck out five in the process.
Lannan threw 92 pitches, with 59 of them for strikes. He was generally around the plate all night long, showing good command of his pitches and keeping hitters off balance with his change-up.
Lannan is a guy who doesn’t have overpowering stuff, so he needs to pitch well effectively inside against hitters and keep the ball on the ground as well. Keeping the ball on the ground was the name of the game for Lannan as well, as he picked up 14 ground ball outs and just two flyouts to go along with those five strikeouts.
For the Phillies, it was a sigh of relief to see a starter go deep into the game. Besides Cliff Lee’s outing on Thursday in Atlanta, the other three starts by Phillies pitchers this year hadn’t gotten them into the later parts of the game.
The Phillies aren’t asking Lannan to be Lee, Cole Hamels or Roy Halladay. They’re just asking him to be John Lannan. Tonight, Lannan did his job in his first outing as a Phillie.