John Lannan will join the Nationals’ rotation after they shut down Stephen Strasburg, but the Nationals will not simply plug him into Strasburg’s spot. Strasburg will make his final start Sept. 12 against the Mets. But Lannan, Manager Davey Johnson said, will make his first start as part of the rotation during a series against the Braves from Sept. 14-16.
With an off day the day after Strasburg’s final start, the Nationals will be able to shuffle their rotation. In his career, Lannan is 9-5 with a 3.20 ERA against the Braves. Earlier this year, in one of his two doubleheader fill-in starts, Lannan held them to two runs over seven innings. This year, the Braves are 25-28 against left-handed starters.
Lannan would have pitched today if he remained on his schedule from Class AAA Syracuse. But he finished his work in the minors with two complete game shutouts, and Johnson wanted Lannan to catch his breath after finishing his minor league season. “It’s like I’m skipping him a start,” Johnson said.
And so Johnson will not consider using Lannan out of the bullpen until Sept. 10 at the earliest. Johnson said Lannan will likely make an appearance in relief as a “tune-up” to his start. “He doesn’t have an aversion to pitching out of the ‘pen,” Johnson said. “He just didn’t want to pitch out of the ‘pen at the start of the season.”