Yay Lann... dammit Clippard. Oh well. He did drop his career ERA under 4.00. ERA is stupid? You're stupid!
Incidentally I was looking up the pitchers of about Lannan's age that had as many innings pitched as he does (not many) and noticed Scott Kasmir's name on that list. Doesn't it feel like he has had the career of a 35 year old already?
Tonight Chien Ming Wang goes for his third (and last?) start. He's hasn't been terrible, but he hasn't been good either. Really, he's let innings get out of hand but that shouldn't be surprising when he's making John Lannan look like Randy Johnson (2 Ks so far - one a pitcher). It's a disturbing number. When you let guys hit the ball against you, eventually they will string together enough hits to score runs. Do your best to limit walks, line drives, and home runs and you can survive (see John Lannan again). Wang has limited walks, but he's getting hit harder than you'd like (increased LD%) and he gave up that huge Uggla homer at exactly the wrong time.
Can Wang succeed? Depends what your definition of succeed is. If you are asking if he can pitch the rest of the year and maybe keep the Nats in some games, then sure. The line drives still aren't "doubles in the gap" versions of line drives yet and 1 homer in two games is more than reasonable. I think he can luck into a couple good games where all the ground balls are hit at people. That could mean a 1 run game or a 4 run game but a few decent games nonetheless.
If you are looking for a 35 games a year rotation filler guy then I don't see it. He's not making anyone miss. Only 2.7% of his pitches so far have been swinging strikes. I know that's his game but when he was successful he was doing it at a 6-7% range. For those unfamiliar with the swinging strike stat, the best guys in the league do it over 10% of the time, the worst between 4-5%. 6-7% is low, but workable. It doesn't necessarily track exactly with success but it's obvious that no one is being fooled by Wang. If they aren't being fooled then that means those ground balls are more likely to be hard ones. Hard ground balls are more likely to be hits. This idea would also gel with the increased LD% we are seeting. He should give up a ton of hits. Mostly singles but a ton of them.
We'll see - maybe Wang just needed time to get back in the groove. Maybe tonight he'll K 4 guys and keep the Cubs to 2 runs in 6+ innings. Maybe that sinker will still be effective enough to make those ground balls weak instead of strong. His slider has been terrible and his "fastball" (which includes sinker) has been his most effective pitch so any plan that replaces the former with more of the latter is a good one. Or maybe the sinker is just another mediocre hittable pitch that batters will be able to key in on to smash worm-burners through the infield and the effectiveness we see is only because he's mixing it in a lot less so batters aren't comfortable swinging against it yet. It's still been only 2 games so anything is possible.