To the bloodthirsty who walk among us, life is so easy. If someone's done something bad, kill him. Don't worry about the consequences. Don't worry about the missed opportunities. Don't worry about any risk of error. Don't worry about the children. Just off with their heads!
But life isn't so black and white. Sometimes, someone who does bad things is also very useful. Sometimes, in fact, someone who does bad things is also pretty damn awesome in other ways.
Let's make no mistake here - John Lannan is a bad man. He hits Phillies batters with baseballs thrown at a relatively high velocity on a ridiculously frequent basis. In other contexts, he'd be locked up for battery. (And in California, he'd be in jail for life.)
But, thankfully for the Phillies, ordinary law doesn't apply here. Instead, John Lannan gets to roam the baseball diamond free from incarceration or worse. And when he does, really good things happen for the Phillies.
Yes, he sometimes injures our players. But, when Lannan is on the mound, the Phillies win. And do I have to remind anyone that the goal in baseball is to win games?
Let's look at the evidence. The Phillies are now 12-1 in games started by John Lannan. That's a .923 winning percentage when Lannan takes the mound. Are you really going to complain about someone against whom the Phillies win over 92% of his starts?
Digging deeper, it's clear Lannan just has no clue how to get the Phillies out. The Phillies have a .938 team OPS against Lannan. In other words, they hit against him as if the entire team were the 2009 version of Ryan Braun (.320/.386/.551). Is there something wrong with watching an entire lineup of Ryan Brauns?
Against the Phillies, Lannan has a career 6.44 ERA, 7.40 RA (with the 7 unearned runs included), and 1.72 WHIP. Since Lannan has entered the league, the Phillies have hit more home runs against him than any pitcher other than Johan Santana (both at 15) and have more hits against him than any pitcher other than Mike Pelfrey.
Sure, the Phillies are a good team that beat lots of different pitchers. But, are you so confident and jaded by winning that you are ready to sacrifice the one pitcher this team absolutely destroys? Are you so bullheaded in your bloodlust that you want to throw away the closest opposing pitcher we have to a sure win?