US Presswire photo
Jordan Zimmermann shut out the Mets over six innings this afternoon.
"That was superb, to say the least," Johnson said.
It's hard to imagine a better performance in a spring training environment. Over six stellar innings, Zimmermann shut out the New York Mets, allowing two hits, walking none barely breaking a sweat along the way.
Zimmermann was so efficient, he never came close to reaching his predetermined limit of 85 pitches, wrapping up his six innings on a scant 68 pitches. Johnson might have let his young right-hander take the mound again for the bottom of the seventh if not for a blister that developed on his foot, not to mention the fact he had three relievers who needed work.
"An unbelievable outing," Johnson said. "That's him. That's who we've grown to know and love."
This gem came five days after Zimmermann was roughed up a bit by the Astros. He said after that start he would treat his next outing as though it was a regular-season game, and he responded in kind.
"I mean, the other starts, I was working on some stuff," he said. "Today, I had a little talk with [pitching coach Steve McCatty]. "He said: 'Let's go after these hitters like you're going to go after them during the season.' That was the game plan."
Only two Mets reached base against Zimmermann: Lucas Duda, whose looping single in the second inning was nearly caught by right fielder Jayson Werth, and Rob Johnson, who lined a double to left-center in the sixth as the blister began to bother the pitcher more.
Otherwise, New York's batters were confounded by the young right-hander, who worked fast and pounded the strike zone with an efficiency not often seen.
"Myself, I just like to work quick," he said. "If I can get the ball and go, and not have to worry about base hits, stuff like that, I can work quick."
Zimmermann is scheduled to make one more exhibition start (Monday against the Red Sox in Fort Myers) before he takes the mound April 8 at Wrigley Field for the Nationals' third game of the regular season.
"I feel like I'm peaking at the right time," he said. "All the pitches are working well. ... I'm happy with where I'm at."