It appears that John Lannan may be recalled from AAA Syracuse as a starting pitcher for the Nationals in their scheduled doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Under the new collective bargaining rules, teams are allowed to add a twenty-sixth player to the team for the day of the double header without removing another player from the roster. Lannan will start one of the games of the doubleheader and then be sent right back to Syracuse.
Lannan’s pitching schedule in Syracuse makes it likely that he will be the pitcher to be called up for the day. He had his last start on July 16th, so he will be pitching on his regular start day on Saturday. Yunesky Maya pitched on July 17th, so bringing him up to pitch would require him to do so on four days rest.
Lannan has more major league experience than any other starter on the Syracuse roster. He has traditionally pitched well against the Braves. He was the Nationals opening day starter in 2011, and posted a 3.70 ERA for the season. He was optioned to Syracuse at the start of the 2012 campaign to make way for Ross Detwiler to be the fifth starter in the Nats rotation, a move about which Lannan was very unhappy. He requested to be traded, but the Nationals as of yet have not been able to grant his wish. Lannan’s transition to Syracuse was rough, and he had several horrible outings to start the minor league season, which couldn’t have increased the interest of any trading partners. Lannan’s ERA after several games at Syracuse was nearly 9.00.
He could help his own cause if he pitches well on Saturday. It will give other teams a chance to see him against major league pitching this year. A good performance could solidify his chances to be called up to the Nats when Strasburg reaches his innings limit and the team is in need of another starting pitcher. Lannan is probably the frontrunner to replace Strasburg’s spot in the rotation, but a rough outing against the Braves may give the Nats a tougher decision at the end of August or the beginning of September.
Lannan’s ERA at Syracuse this year is 4.89 in fifteen games pitched, with a record of 6 wins and 9 losses. He has only pitched one day game at Syracuse, which did not go well. He was the losing pitcher in that game, giving up six earned runs in five innings of work. However, in 2011 there was little difference between Lannan’s day ERA (3.40) and his night ERA (3.80). Edwin Jackson, the other scheduled starter for the Nationals, has an ERA of 5.65 in day games this year and an ERA of 3.24 in night games. Based on those numbers, I would expect to see Lannan pitch the day game and Jackson pitch the second game of the doubleheader.