Why is this outing such a big deal to him? While growing up in Long Island, N.Y., Lannan, 24, grew up a Yankees fan. He idolized Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. Lannan started watching the Bronx Bombers in 1995 and enjoyed watching them win four World Series titles from 1996-2000.
In fact, Lannan was at Camden Yards when the Yankees won the pennant in 1996 and a spectator at Yankees Stadium in 2000, when New York defeated the Mariners to win its third successive pennant. He said watching the Yankees is the reason he wanted to become a Major League pitcher.
"I went to more games at Yankee Stadium than I did at Shea Stadium," Lannan said. "I'm going to try to control my emotions as much as possible. It's going to be exciting. Believe it or not, I have more people calling me for Yankees tickets. I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting it to be even [like Citi Field]. But it's kind of crazy."
Lannan entered the new Yankee Stadium on Tuesday afternoon with mixed feelings.
"There is nothing like the original Yankee Stadium. The drive in was kind of cool," Lannan said. "I miss the old Yankee Stadium, but the new one is beautiful."
WSH: LHP John Lannan (3-5, 3.51 ERA)
Thursday was another solid start for Lannan, who went six innings, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) against Cincinnati. Lannan trailed, 2-0, upon exiting the game, but the Nationals took the lead in the eighth inning to get him off the hook. It was the first of five Lannan no-decisions that the Nationals have won this season. "John is just doing what he did last year, going out every five days, giving us a chance to win," manager Manny Acta said. NYY: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (0-4, 14.34 ERA)
This is a pivotal start for Wang, as the Yankees are allowing him one more try to prove that he belongs in a big league rotation. They didn't think much of his last effort, when he lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Wednesday at Fenway Park and took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits while walking three and striking out three. The problems have varied, but in basic terms, pitching coach Dave Eiland is befuddled that Wang's arm slot keeps changing and he isn't able to take his good bullpen sessions out to the mound. Wang has not faced Washington since 2006. Tidbits
Alberto Gonzalez is 5-for-5 with four RBIs as a pinch-hitter this season. ... Adam Dunn has 30 home runs and 63 RBIs against American League teams this season. ... The Nationals are 263-367 against National League teams since 2005. Tickets
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WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.) Up next
Thursday: Nationals (Craig Stammen, 0-2, 5.86) at Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 3-1, 3.84), 1:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann, 2-3, 5.37) vs. Blue Jays (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Nationals (Ross Detwiler, 0-3, 5.23) vs. Blue Jays (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.