Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Zimmermann notches NL-best 12th win

Photo by USA Today
In 2012 Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann held a 2.94 ERA, tenth best in the majors, through 195 2/3 innings pitched. He took the victory in just 12 of his 32 starts.

In 2013 Zimmermann has a 2.46 ERA, good for ninth in the majors, and has 12 wins already in just 17 outings. He’s matched his career high and it’s only July 1st.

If it were simply run support, perhaps it would make a lot of sense. But during games Zimmermann pitched last season, the Nationals gave him an average of 4.91 runs per game. This year he’s only seeing 4.71 scores come across.

Whatever the reason for Zimmermann’s now MLB-leading win total, whether it’s more timely hitting or what, the 27-year-old isn’t complaining. If you ask him, he feels like he’s getting more help than ever. Maybe it’s because seven of his last ten starts have seen the Nats score at least five.

“They’re giving me great run support, that’s all I can say,” Zimmermann said. “In years past I wasn’t getting that, but this year is a whole different story. It’s definitely fun going out there when you know they’re going to give you four to eight runs a game. It’s nice.”

Zimmermann does have a point with the “year’s past” part. In 2011, his first full season in the majors after having Tommy John surgery, Zimmermann saw the sixth worst run support in the majors at 3.31. Even his 3.18 ERA that season couldn’t offset that number as he went 8-11 in 26 starts.

In the Nationals’ 10-5 win against the Brewers on Monday night, Zimmermann was supported by his teammates early in the game. He took the mound in the top of the fifth inning with an eight-run lead.

But, to continue a bizarre trend, Zimmermann nearly gave up the lead his teammates had built. Two innings later he had surrendered four earned runs and made the game more interesting than it needed to be.

Zimmermann has, in fact, allowed more than three runs only three times this season. And in each of those starts he’s had at least a four-run lead at some point.

On June 15 in Cleveland Zimmermann was up 5-0 before giving up six earned runs in an eventual Nats’ win. On May 29 in Baltimore the Nats were up 6-2 before Zimmermann gave up seven earned and took the loss.

You can even trace it back to last season. On September 1 against the Cardinals, the last time in 2012 Zimmermann gave up more than three runs, he allowed eight total after beginning the day with a 6-2 lead.

It is an interesting statistic no doubt, and Zimmermann thinks he knows why it keeps happening.

“You get eight runs like that and you’re just pitching to the score,” he said. “I’m throwing fastballs and trying to get quick outs and trying not to fall behind anyone.”

“They obviously knew I was going to throw the fastball and I wasn’t going to mess around. They were ready for it.”

Zimmermann had a nice day at the plate with career-high three hits - including a double - and two runs to help his quest for another win. It was the seventh time in his career he’s had a multi-hit game.

The offensive output may have, however, also hurt his cause as it forced Zimmermann to expend energy on the bases.

“I thought I did pretty well in the beginning innings, then I got a few hits and had to run around the bases a little bit and it took a little bit out of me,” he said.

“It was definitely hot and humid out there and I was pretty tired after the double and then I had to run to third right away.”

Manager Davey Johnson agreed with that idea.

“It didn’t help he got a couple of basehits and had to run the bases hard,” Johnson said. “But a good win, a nice win for him.”

Zimmermann wasn’t entirely happy with his outing after giving up four earned on nine hits, including two home runs, but getting the victory was all he cared about. Afterwards he was asked if his day was better on the mound or at the plate.

“Probably at the plate. I pitched alright, but definitely three hits is awesome.”


Joe Seamhead said...

I think he wants Strasburg's Silver Slugger Award.

Eric said...

JZim, on behalf of Nats fans everywhere, please let us have an easy win when the opportunity arises. Don't ease up and look for the quick out, keep bearing down and look for the sure one! ;)

Doc said...

That's our Bulldog, hittin' it 'n pitchin' it!!

You get a feeling about JZim that he'd hustle hot dogs in the stands between innings, if they asked him to do it!

realdealnats said...

Zimm is such a work horse and so quietly proud he wants to win more than the trifecta--he wants lowest ERA, highest Wins, most Shutouts, and most complete games--all while hitting to further his own cause. An impossible task but one you love your guy for stalking. So he was pounding the strike zone with an 8-0 lead. Not to worry.

I know I'm the guy who occasionally weighs in with one game at a time and one pitch at a time--but like a number of you other NIers, I can feel this freight train gathering steam. Forget the scoreboard. Forget the numbers. Just go out and pitch and hit tonight and win this one. Play the game the right way, and it will be a memorable season.

Hope Det is right. And hope Ramos can keep that hammy from woofing. Taylor Jordan looked serviceable in his start and when it's time to sit him down, I guess we cross our fingers with Haren. It's odd but I like Haren. Like his attitude his demeanor. Just don't like big fat meatballs crossing the plate at 90 mph. Hope we do NOT trade for a 5 starter. If everyone can stay pretty healthy--especially Harp--then team worry regarding a 5th starter might even help them keep that edge they're gonna need to do this thing.

Eric said...

Agreed re: Haren, realdeal. I'm really rooting for him to pull it together and succeed, mostly for us but also for him.

NatsLady said...

Rain today and rain tonight. A double header tomorrow would not be fun with an 11 a.m. start on Thursday. Of course, it wouldn't be fun for the Brewers either, so there's that.

Eric said...

Looks like a similar forecast to yesterday: scattered thunderstorms w/60% chance of rain. Before I was a baseball fanatic, I always wanted those thunderstorms to happen to break up the humidity. Now, I want them to NOT happen so they don't break up the ballgame!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JZim's post-game interview where he said he used a 39 inch bat and then broke out laughing was just a great moment.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theophilus T. S. said...

I've been lucky to live in an era of great swing coaches, including Lau -- who revolutionized hitting (for those willing to listen) -- Walt Hriniak, Deacon Jones and Terry Crowley. I've been reluctant to criticize Eckstein -- mostly because of last year -- but at a total loss to comprehend what he's been doing.

Theo pulls out the Deacon Jones. Yes, that Deacon Jones, not the football player.

When Deac took over as hitting coach for the Padres he got a young Tony Gwynn and worked with him on pulling the ball a little more and in Deacon's 1st year with the Padres Gwynn won the batting title. Is it a coincidence that Gwynn became a better hitter or was it his evolution as an already good hitter.

I said this weekend that Rendon was being pitched more inside by the Mets and while I have seen Rendon pull his hands in and hit those pitches he was hitting most of them at the shortstop.

If Rendon can get quicker hands on those inside pitches to pull them through that 5.5 hole or elevate them over the infield, he will have basically no gaping holes in his swing.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Best part of Z'mann's offensive show was the sprint to 1B on the infield "hit" like a scalded cat. Vida Blue was a great base runner but I can't recall a comparable combination of speed and effort by a pitcher.

NatsLady said...

An article on Stras and "pitch to contact"?



Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

So the unspoken argument here in favor of the DH is not that pitchers can't hit, it's that they might.

I still don't want a DH, I'm just saying.

Eric said...

Honestly, the fact that hitting specifically affected JZim's pitching and the tenor of the game overall is *exactly* why I prefer the NL. It's just so much more dynamic.

Section 222 said...

Just catching up on the comments. Fun stuff, especially that article on hitting coaches that JoeS posted. Thanks Joe, and Wonk for the repost. I think I'll add to it to the Glossary under "Fire Eck".

Absolutly great game last night. Bryce's HR couldn't have been scripted any better. As the ball flew out to left, and it looked the like the LF was poised to make a leaping grab, I had a split second thought-- "Darn, wouldn't it have been great if his first swing had been a home run?" And then it was! The place went absolutely beserk. And then it was very entertaining to read the Twitter reaction afterward. My favorite was (and apologies if it was actually someone here who said it): "It's Bryce's world, we just live in it."

Fantastic game otherwise of course. Except for Stammen. It's like our bullpen has been tipped upside down. Stammen is unreliable, and Storen has been lights out. [Cue Twilight Zone music.] So nice to see Zim and Werth (and Desi, though we've come to expect it from him) deliver with men on base.

Plus, big bonus, I got to meet Eric's parents! Their son in law also posts here occasionally. What a baseball family they are!

I'm headed back out tonight. Can't stay away from Bryce's world.

Eric said...

Sec222, from the day I caught on that the NI meet up was at the picnic table behind section 311 I've wondered if my parents had ever come across NIers. Good stuff! And, very nice of you to ease their road home.

My brother in law hasn't posted in here in a long time, but he's the one who turned me on to this place.

Also, in case you didn't notice, my mom is a lunatic about Gio ;).

NatsLady said...

I wish I could go tonight. Luckily, I'll be done by 7 so won't miss much of the game. Now, if there is a two hour rain delay... I might head to the park. I've done that before.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I liked the expression on Bryce's face when he knew he'd gotten it--a little smile as he started running up the line.

Thanks, Seamhead, for posting the hitting coach article, and Deuces for putting it in the NIDO Glossary (row 42).

Section 222 said...

Eric, don't know if your Mom told you that she and I originally connected after she chatted with someone who was in my ticket group last year when they were both on the Metro headed to one of the playoff games. And thus are long lasting Nats friendships made. Had a great time talking with your folks last night. That Bryce homer was a special moment. We joked that he clinched "player of the game" in the first inning.

I forget how we started talking about NI, but it didn't take long to figure out who you were. Your Grateful Dead avatar was part of it. :-) I learned you saw Jerry's last live performance.

Section 222 said...

Theo, I loved JZnn's hustle on that infield hit as well. I don't know if you caught it but in the postgame interview, he said he ran extra hard when he realized he had a chance for a 3 hit game!

His joking around about the length of his bat was hilarious. Wasn't the ump in his previous game examining his bat at some point? I think I remember hearing that they were giving him grief about how light it is. Anyone remember that?

The kid has a great dry sense of humor. It's like he's chuckling at all of us when he answers questions.

Eric said...

"I learned you saw Jerry's last live performance.

Wow, I'm amazed they know that esoteric detail! I saw 4 shows that tour: the two in Chicago to end it all and two at RFK. The second night of RFK was the strongest.

And, y'know, now that you mention it, she did tell me about that conversation on the metro on the way to the playoffs, probably within a week of it happening. Pretty wild that I ultimately came into contact with you by totally unrelated means!

Eric said...

PS - contrary to what my mom apparently told you, I am NOT selling stickers of my avatar, but I do believe I have some that aren't promised out and I'm happy to give them away.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section222, yes on Stammen. We were lamenting over that during the game thread last night.

Movement is off from April and he appears to be over-throwing. Is it a Haren type injury or just trying to keep up velo? Sounds like Haren-itis to me and I don't like it at all.

He was "money" in April and people (not me) were suggesting he could be a starter. The reason I wouldn't have him start was two-fold

1. was too valuable in the bullpen at the time
2. been there done that and wasn't good as a starter

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, great article on Strasburg and enjoyed the reference to Jordan Zimmermann. That's the story behind weak contact when you are pitching that way with a purpose.

Section 222 said...

Eric, I'd love a sticker. Hold onto one for me if you don't mind. We'll figure out a way to do a handoff.

A DC Wonk said...

Tuesdays Tidbits

- Last week/last five games Ryan Howard struck out nine times in 19 PA, compiling a .000/.053/.000 line

- Chris Sale made 6 starts in June -- in 42 IP had had 53 K's, a BAA of just .215, an awesome WHIP of 1.1016, ERA of 3.19 -- and was 0-5

- Adam Jones has played in 41 games since he last drew a walk.

- Mark DeRosa: 5th home run.

- (From NatsLady, last night): The Mets are SO bad!! Putz blows the save, so it's 3-3 in the ninth. 2 out. On a wild pitch, the runner on 2nd goes to 3rd-- but John Buck who is on first base with a MEANINGLESS run, tries to advance to second and gets thrown out. Unbelievable.

- (also from NatsLady, last night): Marquis(L, 9-4) 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 walks, 5 hits (4 unearned runs).

- Robbie Ross: allows 2 runs in 1-2/3 IP on 4 hits and a walk, and also allowed two inherited runners to score. He was credited with the hold.

- Chris Davis has an OPS of 1.135

Section 222 said...

Ghost, I always agreed with you about Stammen as a starter. I sure hope he finds his mojo again. If it's a Haren type "injury" we're in trouble. Does anyone here think Haren is really injured? He sure doesn't.

Eric said...

"Eric, I'd love a sticker. Hold onto one for me if you don't mind. We'll figure out a way to do a handoff."

Sounds good!

Agreed about the Stras article and JZimm reference therein, Ghost. Thanks for sharing, NL!

"[Stammen] was "money" in April and people (not me) were suggesting he could be a starter."

I was definitely curious about the possibility, when he came in for Stras in Atlant, but he had a few outings soon thereafter that put my curiosity straight to bed without any supper.

Section 222 said...

Well, I take it back about Haren. I was on the road yesterday and didn't see this article in Nats Journal.

Eric said...

"Does anyone here think Haren is really injured? He sure doesn't."

He did say that following the cortisone he feels much stronger than has at any other point so far this season.

I dunno. I suppose if an MRI showed mild swelling, it's possible that was throwing him off and that possible a cortisone shot might have a noticeable effect. I remain dubious, but I really do want him to do well. I like the guy.

NatsLady said...

This is encouraging:

NatsLady says:
How did Wilson Ramos look?


Luke Erickson says:
Looked fine – 0-for-4 but last out was loud. Threw out the only runner that tried to go on him.

Eric said...

Looks like I'll be serving up that sticker with a beer, 222!

NatsLady said...

Does anyone think Trevor Cahill is injured?

This time of year these guys all have some swelling/inflamation in their shoulders or elbows. Just a matter of whether it's DL-worthy or not--y'know, based on whether it affects results.

Section 222 said...

Ha ha. My drink deficit on NIDO is very high, so I accept. NL, I think you have it exactly right. Virtually every pitcher at this time of year could claim to be injured. Whether they go on the DL depends on how bad they are doing and whether their team has a ready alternative.

NatsLady said...

Stammen wasn't "money" in April. He gave up a loss (extra inning game) and a blown save. Then he had a string of five scoreless appearances.

Since then (May 10) he hasn't put together more than three scoreless in a row and he's given up at least one run in 7 of his 16 appearances., and one or more hits in 13/16. He has inherited 9 runners and let 5 of them score.

This is not the Craig Stammen of 2012.

Eric said...

Drink added...apparently I now owe you 2.

NatsLady said...

keithlaw ‏@keithlaw
Orioles acquire Scott Feldman and Tony Clevenger from the Cubs for Jake Arrietta, Pedro Strop, and int'l bonus slots.

Well, one guy gone...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, good deal for the Os. Strop had no options and was in HenRod limbo. Arrietta was a promising top prospect who fizzled. Feldman is a solid pickup for their team.

Not sure why the Cubs jumped at that deal as they could've done better IMHO.

Theophilus T. S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theophilus T. S. said...

GoSM --

The point about Deacon Jones, et al, is really that there was a time -- which now seems to have passed -- when hitting coaches were "swing doctors" and taught hitting. According to the NatsJack model, not so much anymore. The product of mega-gazillion dollar contracts? "If you think enough of my hitting to pay me nine figures, why should I listen to a $500K guy about how I hit?"

If all the hitting coach is going to do is the Siskel/Ebert movie review thing, what's the point? And why bother to have "take" and "swing away" signs?

Zimmerman's most refined batting skill appears to be to stand like a house by the side of the road (credit, Ernie Harwell) while called Strike Three passes by, and then look at the plate and the umpire like somebody stole his watch while he was wearing it. So he's hitting .273 or thereabouts. I'm not impressed.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

As opposed to "... like a gas station on Route 66, watching a line of Priuses go by. Helpless."

I love that one.

Theophilus T. S. said...

GoSM --

Re: Feldman, how were the Cubs supposed to do better for a guy w/ a 4 1/2 career ERA, besides taking a couple of wipe-outs and a few Smiley Gonzalezes off the Orioles hands?

JD said...


Zim is getting on base at a .361 clip. Just looking at batting averages on their own doesn't tell the whole story.He's actually been very effective lately. The defense, not so much.

UnkyD said...

Eric... I don't get out much, but I'll happily send you a self adderssed, stamped envelope, in suitable size to accommodate a sticker, without bending it. It'll go on some item of my stage rig, to the consternation of the Yankee fans in the band! Check my blogger profile for my email .... Thanks!!

sjm308 said...

Eric - I am jumping in here late but a sticker would be fantastic!! Not sure if it will go in my baseball room or on one of my sons guitar cases. Either is appropriate and will be shown with pride.

You mentioned picnic tables by 311. I am now confused. I have been strolling by 313 and 312 with no outward signs of NI's. I will widen my search for this elusive group. Will probably see 222 tonight because I do know what he looks like and hopefully MicheleS at Justin's but I am just happy to be there with my son.

Go Nats!!

JD said...


I am so jealous that you guys get to go whenever you feel like it. Sam and I went to 2 of the games at Citi because we live around NY and we always make 1 trip a year to DC to catch a series but it's still not the same as having the team in your town. I miss that.

sjm308 said...

JD: It truly is great! I have said this before but the best part is that my son moved back here from NYC three years ago and we added him to our plan. He is 32 but still slips his arm around my shoulders when they play take me out to the ballgame in the 7th inning.

I have always said, good or bad, watching major league baseball and rooting for your hometown team trumps everything else. The fact that they became a playoff team is almost icing on the cake.

Go Nats!!

jeeves said...

Like the image, sjm.

sjm308 said...

thanks - it never gets old

sjm308 said...

Of course one reason he does that is that I have probably had way too many beverages at that time and he thinks he needs to hold me up.

Post a Comment