Philadelphia, PA, United States (AHN) – When the subject of Phillies killers is bandied about, such names as Jorge Cantu, Rod Barajas and Cody Ross are often mentioned.
However, perhaps the greatest Phillies killer is John Lannan. The Washington Nationals starting pitcher broke Chase Utley’s hand during the first start of his career, in July of 2007.
In April of 2009, Cole Hamels twisted his ankle while fielding a bunt from Lannan.
Last month, Lannan drilled Ryan Howard in the elbow. After the Phillies slugger was awarded first base, Howard sprained his ankle at second base during the next play.
“It is weird that some unfortunate things have happened to the Phillies while I was on the mound or at the plate,” Lannan said. “I never had any bad intentions. But after the last thing happened with Howard I got some grief (from the Phillies). The guys were just kidding around. They know it’s all just a coincidence.”
Utley was on his way to a possible MVP award before he lost more than a month courtesy of his hand injury. “That was a shame for Chase,” Lannan said.
“He was having a great year. But the thing is when you pitch to Chase Utley you have to come in on him since he’s such a great hitter. Ask any pitcher and I’m sure they’ll agree. He also crowds the plate as much as anyone in the league. As far as Howard goes, you either want to go inside or outside. Regarding Cole, that was just one of those total flukes. I bunted and he happened to sprain his ankle fielding the ball. I didn’t see it.
“Sometimes unfortunate things happen. But I’m not trying to hurt the Phillies. I’m trying to beat them, but not harm anybody on that team. The guys on the team know that.”
Lannan has considerable respect for the Phillies, who are vying for their fourth straight NL East division title and third consecutive World Series appearance.
“We all know how talented that team is from top to bottom,” Lannan said. “It’s no fluke that they’ve been so successful over the years. They are a rock solid ballclub that only got better this season picking up Roy Oswalt. You know the team is good. They had so many injuries and they still may go to the playoffs. I respect them a great deal. We have a number of games against them and we’re going to try to defeat them.”
Lannan would like to be known as a Phillie killer for his pitching, not due to unfortunate incidents that hurt Charlie Manuel’s squad.
“I would like to beat them every time out,” Lannan said. “They’re a division rival that everyone respects. To beat them means that you’re on top of your game. If I can beat them consistently, maybe people will forget about the injuries when they play against me. We’ll see what happens. I love to play against them. It’s a challenge every time out.”