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Lannan likely to start at Braves

Lannan likely to start at Braves

He last pitched five days ago, tossing his second consecutive shutout for Class AAA Syracuse, so John Lannan would normally have been primed to return to the mound tonight.

Except there's nowhere for the left-hander to pitch tonight. The minor-league season has ended, and Edwin Jackson is starting for the Nationals against the Cubs.

The Nationals won't need Lannan until Stephen Strasburg makes his final start (scheduled for Sept. 12) and is shut down, opening a spot in their rotation. So what will he do until then?

The plan, as outlined by manager Davey Johnson today, calls for Lannan to throw on the side and keep his arm fresh, but not to appear in a game for at least another five days. Even then, he'll only pitch an inning or two out of the bullpen.

"It's like I'm skipping him a start," Johnson explained. "Today would normally be his day to pitch if he was on regular rest, but I'm skipping today. It's like if a guy I thought had a tired arm, I'm just going to skip him. And then in five more days, I'll think about getting him in a game for relief just to keep him sharp."

After that, Johnson plans to insert Lannan into his rotation, though not necessarily in Strasburg's exact slot. Actually, the Nationals would like to give Lannan his first start sometime during their Sept. 14-16 at the Braves.

Lannan has enjoyed more success against Atlanta (9-5, 3.20 ERA in 16 starts) than any other opponent, making it a favorable matchup.

After a difficult season in the minors after believing he would make the big-league rotation, Lannan believes he's both in a good frame of mind and is pitching well just in time to join a pennant race.

At the same time, the 27-year-old is being careful not to assume he'll pick up right where he left off when his minor-league season ended on a high note.

"I don't think it necessarily translates to up here," Lannan said. "I threw two great games. I'm not going to just assume I'm going to come up here and deal, because I was doing bad down there in July and I came up here and did well beating the Braves on July 21. I have to forget about everything that happened and just do my thing."

In other news, the Nationals activated Chien-Ming Wang off the disabled list prior to tonight's game. Wang, who had been on the DL with a right hip strain, will be available to pitch out of the bullpen but isn't likely to see much action.

Over three seasons with the Nationals, Wang has made 15 starts in the big leagues and 21 minor-league starts while rehabbing from various injuries.

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Tanner Roark and Jayson Werth lead Nationals past Phillies 4-0

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USA Today Sports

Tanner Roark and Jayson Werth lead Nationals past Phillies 4-0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Tanner Roark threw seven impressive innings, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer and the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 on Monday night.

Roark (14-7) allowed four singles and struck out five. Marc Rzepczynski tossed a perfect eighth and Mark Melancon finished off the four-hitter.

Phillies rookie Jake Thompson (1-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. It was the longest and best of his five career starts.

Werth lined a solo shot to left in the first against his former team. A member of Philadelphia's 2008 World Series championship team, Werth was greeted by boos, as usual.

Bryce Harper raced home from first on Anthony Rendon's single to left-center to make it 2-0 in the first. Clint Robinson and Trea Turner had RBI singles off Frank Herrmann in the ninth.

Thompson settled in nicely after a rough start. His last pitch was a nasty curve that froze Turner for strike three.

Roark didn't need much support. The righty stifled the Phillies again. He's 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA against them this season.

The NL East-leading Nationals snapped a two-game losing streak.

RELATED: NATS MAKE TWO ROSTER MOVES

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Nats look to get back on track as Roark starts at Phillies

Nats look to get back on track as Roark starts at Phillies

Nats (75-55) at Phillies (60-70) at Citizens Bank Park

Having lost six of their last eight, the Nats now hit the road to face the Phillies for three games. This could be a good opportunity to collect some wins against a lesser team, as the Nats swept each of their last two head-to-head series.

Also working in the Nats' favor is that Tanner Roark is on the mound. Roark is 13-7 with a 2.99 ERA and is very good at going deep into games, having pitched at least seven innings in 15 of his 25 starts.

Ryan Zimmerman gets the day off as manager Dusty Baker looks to get him some rest. Clint Robinson is instead playing first base.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Tanner Roark vs. Phillies - Jake Thompson

NATS

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Tanner Roark

PHILLIES

TBA
RHP Jake Thompson

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE STATS AND SCORES

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Nationals option Lucas Giolito to AAA Syracuse, recall Michael A. Taylor

Nationals option Lucas Giolito to AAA Syracuse, recall Michael A. Taylor

The Nationals have optioned pitcher Lucas Giolito to AAA Syracuse and recalled outfielder Michael A. Taylor, the team announced Monday. 

Giolito will return to the minors after starting Sunday in Washington's 5-3 loss to Colorado. He pitched a career-high five innings, allowing four runs on six hits (two HRs) and four walks. 

As Nationals Insider Chase Hughes noted, the rookie pitcher's velocity hasn't lived up to expectations. 

His fastball is supposed to sit comfortably in the high-90s and occasionally touch triple digits ... On Sunday against the Colorado Rockies, Giolito sat consistently around 93 miles per hour. That's not bad at all, but it's a far cry from the prodigious speed he used to have.

Taylor, meanwhile, last played for the Nationals on July 24 against the Padres. He went 0-4 at the plate in the 10-6 loss. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nats to add veteran Mat Latos when rosters expand on Sept. 1