The Philadelphia Phillies will welcome back one of their veterans to the rotation, and just in time to give one last chance to save their season. John Lannan has been on the disabled list for exactly two months with a knee injury and he will make his return tonight against his former team, the Washington Nationals.
11 days ago, the Phillies supassed the .500 mark for the first time this year. Since then, they have gone 2-7 against the Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies. They now sit at 33-37 and the sense of urgency has never been greater to start winning. They currently trail the two wildcard teams by nine and 8.5 games, respectively. They would also have to jump four other teams in addition to get there, including the Nationals.
With Cole Hamels is sitting at 2-10, Roy Halladay is injured, Kyle Kendrick is getting back to normal and Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone are getting hit around, the Phillies need Lannan to try and stabilize the rotation again. Lannan will have extra motivation on this night against a team that let him walk after 134 career starts over six seasons.
After being a mainstay in the rotation for four years, Lannan started 2012 in the minor leagues because there was simply no room for him in the rotation. With guys like Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals were looking elsewhere and Lannan was forced to sign with the Phillies this past offseason.
Now he gets the chance to not only get the Phillies rolling in his return from injury, but to stick it to his former team in the process. My thoughts all year were that the Phillies just had to stay above water until they get healthy, but as we approach the end of June, the sense of urgency has greatly risen. Lannan and the Phillies need to get it going, starting tonight.