Saturday, April 9, 2011

Zimmermann's strong impression

US Presswire photo
Jordan Zimmermann allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings during yesterday's win.
NEW YORK -- The focus of my game analysis last night was on Ivan Rodriguez because, well, I thought the veteran catcher had both an interesting impact on the Nationals' 6-2 win and had some interesting things to say afterward. In doing so, I kind of glossed over Jordan Zimmermann, whose performance was as important as anyone's in that game.

So let's give Zimmermann some credit here for his 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball. The right-hander was downright dominant early on, striking out four of the first seven Mets he faced. He didn't issue one walk, becoming the third Nationals starter in seven games this season to do that. And though he started to show signs of fading late, he was strong enough to throw 99 pitches (the most by any Nats starter so far this year and his most since his final start in 2009 before Tommy John surgery).

The fact Jim Riggleman let him return to the mound to start the sixth inning (even though he was only going to face two hitters no matter what) wasn't lost on Zimmermann. "It's a big confidence builder," he said. "He's got trust in me."

Riggleman, in turn, had glowing things to say about Zimmermann: "Very composed. Nothing seems to bother him. He just makes pitches. They've got a good lineup, and they put pressure on him. But he made the necessary pitches when he had to."

It's no secret how big this season is for Zimmermann. Fully healthy for the first time in 20 months, this is the season he's supposed to ascend to a front-line starter for the Nats. There's still some fine-tuning to be done, especially when it comes to keeping his pitch count down, but Zimmermann is well on his way. He had a very strong spring. And he's off to a strong start to the regular season, his ERA sitting at 3.18 after two outings.

"I'm trying to get better every time and soak in as much as I can every time out there," he said. "Every start's big for me. I just try to take a little bit out of every start."

Other thoughts on this Saturday morning in the Big Apple...

-- Tom Gorzelanny finally makes his 2011 debut tonight against the Mets. The left-hander hasn't pitched in a game in 15 days, and few would be surprised if he's a little rusty when he takes the mound at Citi Field. The Nationals need Gorzelanny to be an effective No. 5 starter, though, after trading away three minor-leaguers for him over the winter. We really didn't get to see a lot of him this spring. We'll start finding out more tonight.

-- The Mets also send a lefty to the mound in Chris Capuano, the first time the Nationals will be facing a southpaw starter this season. That means Jerry Hairston will likely start in center field over Rick Ankiel, which makes for an interesting lineup decision for Riggleman. Does he bat Hairston leadoff, or does he keep Ian Desmond there? And where does the other guy end up hitting? Seventh? Eighth? Might Riggleman put Hairston and Desmond 1 and 2, bumping everyone down a slot and perhaps giving Jayson Werth some RBI opportunities for a change out of the 3-hole? We shall see.

-- Ross Detwiler made his season debut for Class AAA Syracuse last night and turned in an impressive performance. Detwiler allowed one run on four hits over six innings, striking out eight while walking only one Buffalo Bison. I don't think Detwiler's suddenly in the mix for a spot in the Nationals' rotation after one start. But if he keeps this up, especially after the spring he had, the Nats are going to have to find room for him eventually.


Doc said...

BallyStar, HenRod, Kimball also doing their jobs.

Keeping Broderick out of any serious BP action is going to strain the workloads of Clip and Stor, and reduce their effectiveness. Three innings for each of them in the last 2 games, and we're only in the middle of the Mets' series.

Time for Rizzo and Uncle Jimmy to get a grip!

sjm308 said...

Have to believe Rizzo is trying to work a trade for Broderick so we can send him down. Mark: If HRod keeps impressing and Ballester continues to do well who do you see them moving? I believe once HRod comes off the dl he has to be up with the big boys. Is that correct?

Cwj said...

I believe HRod has to be on the 25 man roster after coming off the dl. I'm not 100% on this, but I think he's out of options.
That's fine with me though. I look forward to actually seeing him pitch. Haven't seen a 100mph fastball since Strasburg was shut down.

Mark'd said...

JZim looked sharp and didn't get help from the ump which is a recurring theme. Broderick situation causes many issues as they can't use him in tight games so it is like being a man short in the 'pen.

SonnyG10 said...

I was pleased to see Jordan Zimmermann approach the 100 pitch mark in such good shape. He pitched outstanding and of course the BP did an excellent job. A great game all the way around.

On a side note I want to say how dissappointed I am in Rob Dibble. I was a big fan of his and really missed him as color man on the MASN broadcast team. But if Dan Steinberg's column in the Washington Post the other day is true, Dibble tried to revise history on the Strasburg incident and falsely accused Strasburg's father of emailing the Learners to get him fired. I never heard the Dibble interview, but if that's what happened, I am very dissapointed in him. I no longer want him back on MASN. I am beginning to like Santangelo anyway.

Cwj said...

@Sonny - Yeah I liked Dibble at first as well. I didn't really start turning on him until about mid way through last season. His comments started to irritate me.

I do like Santangelo. I thought he was a little boring at first, but I've warmed up to him.

Mark Zuckerman said...

sjm308 said...
If HRod keeps impressing and Ballester continues to do well who do you see them moving? I believe once HRod comes off the dl he has to be up with the big boys. Is that correct?

You are correct: Henry Rodriguez must be put on the 25-man once he's off the DL or else but put on waivers. That's why I think the Nats will try to use up as much of his 30-day rehab as they can. If they need a reliever before then, I think Balester would get the call.

Doc said...

MarkMeister, you are probably corromundo on HenRod and BallyStar.

But what moves do you see on the present roster, if and when someone is called up???

I think that BallyStar, from last fall's and ST's performance, could setup/close for a few MLB clubs.

HenRod, is a bit of a 'work in progress', but has the talent to get there at some point.

Post a Comment