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The Case for John Lannan's Continued Freedom

We are, as a world-renowned constitutional scholar once wrote, "facing a crisis of incarceration."  That was in 1997.  Yet, here, in 2011, my usually-wonderful co-blogger FuquaManuel wants to exacerbate the situation in the country with the world's highest incarceration rate.  That, my friends, is not the answer.  Imprisonment for John Lannan?  Where are the world's civil libertarians, suspicious of all state-imposed restrictions on liberty?  For them, I rise up and speak today.  And I say, John Lannan deserves to live free!

Sure, John Lannan has done some very bad things.  But, beyond his failure to have the requisite suspicion of state coercive power that all respectable citizens must have, my esteemed colleague FuquaManuel ignores one important thing in his argument in favor of John Lannan's incarceration:  Lannan sucks against the Phillies.

In 12 games against the Phillies in his career, Lannan has been brutal.  He is 0-9 with a 5.80 ERA.  The Nationals have a 1-11 record in those 12 starts. He has allowed 105 base runners in just under 64 innings, good for a 1.65 WHIP.  He has struck out only 38 Phillies and allowed 14 home runs.  The Phillies collectively have a pristine .311/.388/.520 triple-slash line against him, good for a .908 OPS.

In other words, against John Lannan, the Phillies are better than the 2010 version of Adrian Gonzalez (.904 OPS) and just slightly worse than the 2010 version of Robinson Cano (.914 OPS).

And, what's wonderful about Lannan is that for whatever reason, he pitches against the Phillies very frequently.  He has faced the Phillies 12 times, more than any other team in his career.  Maybe the thinking is that he's a lefty and the Phillies have a lefty-dominated lineup, so it's good to have him face the Phillies.  But, while that may be sound in theory, that's been pretty horrible in practice for John Lannan and the Nationals . . . but wonderful for the Phillies.

Which is exactly why he should not be immediately incarcerated.  Rather, John Lannan should be free to grace the mound whenever the Phillies play.  Let him be free and pitch.

Free John Lannan!  Free John Lannan!  Free John Lannan!