John Lannan put out another solid start at Triple-A Syracuse over the weekend to finally take his minors ERA this season under the 5.00 mark. He pitched his third game allowing just one earned run in his last four, and signs of progress are clear.
Lannan has had an overall miserable year after being demoted to Syracuse in spring training. He was the expected fifth starter for the big league club before being sent down in lieu of lefty Ross Detwiler. Lannan posted a 5.19 ERA in the month of April and saw batters hit .308 off of him.
Things got worse in May as Lannans ERA soared even higher to 6.00 and his opponents batting average went all the way to .328.
This month, however, Lannans ERA is a solid 3.00 and he has earned two wins and a no decision in three of his last four outings. He will need to continue his progress throughout the month to get his ERA down closer to 4.00, but an opportunity at the major league level could present itself soon.
Number five starter Chien-Ming Wang has yet to make it through the sixth inning in a start and sits with a 4.67 ERA. Lannan can reposition himself as the next man up in case of an injury, or if neither Wang or Detwiler can lock down the fifth spot.
Also, with Stephen Strasburgs innings limit about half-way through, at least one pitcher will be needed late in the year. That guy should in theory be Lannan who held a 3.70 ERA last season in 184.2 innings with the Nats. But if he reverts back to not being able to get Triple-A hitters out, they may consider other options.