Friday, June 21, 2013

Zimmermann building All-Star case

Photo by USA Today
By Michael Huberman

With about four more starts to go before the All-Star Game on July 16, Jordan Zimmermann’s teammates have little doubt over whether the right-hander deserves to be on the National League roster.

Shortstop Ian Desmond took it even one step further after the Nationals’ 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.

“I think he should probably start the game,” Desmond said. “He’s pitched unbelievable all year long, and if I were the manager that’s the horse I’d want.”

“Who else?” said Denard Span when asked if Zimmermann should start for the National League. “I’m not sure what the other starters numbers are. I can think of (Cardinals pitcher) Shelby Miller and a couple other guys, but you know you got to at least put him in the conversation."

“I mean every time he’s gone out there, he’s thrown the ball well, maybe except for once or twice. But other than that he’s gone at least seven innings and had quality starts, so I think his name should be in the conversation.”

Adam LaRoche, who led the Nationals’ offensive effort with three hits and two RBI in Thursday's win, echoed his teammates’ sentiments.

“Oh absolutely. Yeah, no question,” LaRoche said.

“He’s had, I don’t know, maybe two rough outings. Other than that, he’s absolutely dominated. So it’d be good to see him in it, yeah.”

Zimmermann went eight innings strong against the Rockies to earn his tenth win, giving up six hits and one unearned run while striking out nine Rockies’ hitters. Zimmermann is now tied for the National League lead for wins with Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. The Nats' right-hander is now 6-0 at home with a microscopic 1.06 ERA.

Among National League starters, Zimmermann ranks third in innings pitched (107 2/3), fifth in ERA (2.26), second in WHIP (0.93), and first in complete games (3).

Despite his outstanding numbers, Zimmermann faces tough competition with Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Patrick Corbin, Cliff Lee, and New York’s own Matt Harvey all having legitimate claims to start to the All-Star Game.

But with the possibility of his first All-Star selection coming in the near future, is the 27-year-old preoccupied with what would be an incredible accomplishment?

“No, not really,” Zimmermann said. “I'm just trying to take it one game at a time, one day at a time, and hopefully we can get on a winning streak.”

Whether Zimmermann takes the mound at Citi Field to start for the National League on July 16 remains to be seen, but with each masterful performance his case is growing stronger.


Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Zim has been outstanding.

Harvey might start since it is New York.

Kershaw has been great too, as has Weinwright and :ee.

Faraz Shaikh said...

MNF, Harvery should start only if he is the best NL starter at the time or better starters are not available. I don't think we have seen that in past either.

NL pitching is looking strong again. kershaw, harvey, jz, waino, miller.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Add in Cliff Lee to that list.

alexva said...

he'll make the team and that's all that matters to me. I'm sure he'll have many more honors during his career

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Have you noticed since the Sports Illustrated article praising JZim but calling him a pitch to contact guy and not really a power pitcher that JZim coincidentally has started to rack up the K's.

Last night was JZim's highest pitch count also at 112 which was 8 pitches more than his average for an 8 inning start.

There's no coincidence that a typical K pitcher throws more pitches than a pitch to contact pitcher.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Kershaw, Harvey, JZim, Waino SMiller, CLee are all locks for the All-Star game. Then you have Locke, Corbin, Leake, Minor and Strasburg all in that next tier then you have all the relief pitchers like Kimbrel and Grilli that are locks. Some pitchers will opt out.

Faraz Shaikh said...

yeah that pitching should manage to shut out AL lineup again I hope.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Matt Harvey seems the sentimental choice to start the All-Star game in CitiField. Bochy being the Manager has to put in some of his own guys and Sergio Romo looks like the only one worthy from his pitching staff.

The Giants will probably add Panda, Posey and Crawford at SS for a total of 4 players and possibly Scutaro for 5.

The Nats will have JZim as the only sure bet and hopefully Ian Desmond if Tulo backs out and Bryce Harper if he's voted in with Strasburg as a reasonable pick if they can look beyond his W/L and a long-shot for Rafael Soriano.

NatsLady said...

Gonna wander over to the box office and get my ticket for tonight. Might also wander by this event.

Meet Tyler Clippard

UnkyD said...

Oops!! Got new posted:

UnkyD said...
mick said...
with 16 of the next 19 games at home, this is the time to roll...if they don't, then I think any rational fan would agree the season would be over..the last 2 games were a great start. they have to win every series the next 19 games which is doable
June 21, 2013 7:46 AM
Brother Mick, I love ya, for making me smile, so much! Even after two big wins, you take your finger off the panic button, but keep your hand right next to it.... Just in case. In all seriousness, I love that!

(Disclaimer: the preceding post was in no way intended as an "attack" or as an "insult".... It's merely a good-natured poke on the ribs. Because that's how I roll, Buddy!)


More Face tonight, anyone?

Holden Baroque said...

Back on April 1, beat writers predictions for the ASG:

Amanda Comak (Washington Times) -- Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann

Craig Heist (WTOP) -- Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg

Chase Hughes ( -- Bryce Harper, Rafael Soriano, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann

Pete Kerzel ( -- Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg

Adam Kilgore (Washington Post) -- Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg

Dan Kolko ( -- Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman

Bill Ladson ( -- Ian Desmond, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman

Brian McNally (Washington Examiner) -- Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman

Joey Nowak ( -- Tyler Clippard, Bryce Harper, Rafael Soriano, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman

James Wagner (Washington Post) -- Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg

Mark Zuckerman ( -- Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman

NatsLady said...

I don't see it for Soriano. Won't they go for Grilli and Kimbrel? Maybe one setup guy?

Weather looks great for tonight, then it will be hot for the day games.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I think MadBum will be included. Jose F from marlins has a good shot at it given they have to include at least one player. stanton is the logical choice but he has missed some time.

it is looking like harper might be in NL OF but that wouldn't be fair.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Sofa, mine was harper, jz, and ss.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...
Back on April 1, beat writers predictions for the ASG:

Just curious, who were my picks on that day?

Kilgore should get his media card taken away for putting down Danny Espinosa and Amanda Comak named almost the entire roster of the Washington Nationals.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Sec. 3 @ 10:40,

Fascinating that both WashPost writers had Danny Espinosa -- and Ross Detwiler (along with Mr. Zuckerman) -- in the ASG.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Eugene, didn't see both WaPo's had Danny Espinosa. Maybe for the AAA All-Star team would count.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

All Stars -- Harper, Desmond, JZim

April 01, 2013 12:28 PM

I like my chances.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Also worth noting that this post could have had an alternate headline:

'Zimmerman building case for lucrative contract extension'

Eugene in Oregon said...

'Zimmermann' - sorry.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, I think Kimbrel, Grilli and Romo will be picked as I wrote above. Rafael Soriano is a long-shot as well as Mujica due to limiting the amount of players from 1 team. Soriano's stats are almost identical to Sergio Romo.

Rex Brothers and Melancon are your setup guys that are possibilities and Kevin Gregg has been a set-up and closer for the Cubs.

Doc said...

Nobody's better at EATING FACE than Bulldog Zim!

Get 'em out, and get the team back in the dugout to go after the other guy's pitcher!

Goooooooooooooooooo Bulldog, All Star Game starter!

Faraz Shaikh said...

My NL lineup:
Carlos Gomez

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz, I have to have a healthy Bryce Harper starting. Call me a homer but up until his first wall collision he was putting up some sick numbers.

Faraz Shaikh said...

GoSM, he would be my pick also but I think it is better if he just rests this time.

Holden Baroque said...

Harper may well get voted in, especially if he gets positive attention when he comes back. I like Desmond's chances a little better if he can go, say, 4 for 4 tonight, and get his BA and OBP up about 10 or 12 points, especially with Tulowitzki out.

I bought long on Ramos; "What IF" strikes again.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz, I agree with that. The media requests and activities surrounding the All-Star game would keep Bryce busy most of the time he is there.

The pitchers if set-up properly throw the equivalent of a side session.

Bryce's family I see is leading the Bryce-in-13 charge so they must want him voted in.

Section 222 said...

So it’s a no brainer that JZnn should be an All-Star, but whether he should start the game is far from clear. Kilgore in Nats Journal has the numbers of all the contenders for that spot. It’s a very impressive list, and JZnn certainly deserves serious consideration. But the only metric he leads in is wins, and we all know how much that is worth.

Or do we?

Here are teams whose parks hosted the past 10 ASGs. Also indicated are the managers and starters and their teams and the number of wins the starters had at the All Star break. (Baseball-Reference conveniently uses the ASG and the dividing line for 1st and 2nd half splits.)

Sorry that tables don't translate here, and no, I'm not going to start my own blog.

2003 CHW
AL Loiza/CHW/11, Scioscia/LAA
NL Schmidt/SFG/9, Baker/SFG

2004 HOU
AL Mulder/OAK/12, Torre/NYY
NL Clemens/HOU/10, McKeon/FLA

2005 DET
AL Buehrle/CHW/10, Francona/BOS
NL Carpenter/STL/13, LaRussa/STL

2006 PIT
AL Rogers/DET/11, O.Guillen/CHW
NL Penny/LAD/10, Garner/HOU

2007 SFG
AL Haren/OAK/10, Leyland/DET
NL Peavy/SDP/9, LaRussa/STL

2008 NYY
AL Lee/CLE/12, Francona/BOS
NL Sheets/MIL/10, Hurdle/COL

2009 STL
AL Halladay/TOR/10, Maddon/TBR
NL Lincecum/SFG/10, Manuel/PHI

2010 LAA
AL Price/TBR/12, Girardi/NYY
NL Jimenez/COL/15, Manuel/PHI

2011 ARZ
AL Weaver/LAA/11, Washington/TEX
NL Halladay/PHI/11, Bochy/SFG

2012 KCR
AL Verlander/DET/9, Washington/TEX
NL Cain/SFG/9, LaRussa/STL

So since 2003, there have been 20 starters, 10 in each league. Ok, Halladay started twice, once for each league, but for purposes of this review, he’s two guys.

Only two starters (Loiza 2003, Clemens 2004) pitched in their home parks. Only two starters (Schmidt 2003, Carpenter 2005) were picked by their own managers. And only four (Schmidt 2003, Peavy 2007, Verlander 2012 and Cain 2012) had less than 10 wins. I don’t have the time or skills to figure out if these starters led their leagues in wins or other categories at that point, but it does seem like JZnn might have a shot based on this history. Go figure.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

With Davey being on the All-Star coaching staff, I think he will push for Ian Desmond. His slugging percentage, HRs and RBIs are at the tops of NL Shortstops.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section222, I would be blown away if Matt Harvey wasn't the starter even if JZim throws 3 more shutouts before Allstar pitchers are announced.

Faraz Shaikh said...

For me, it is either Kershaw or Waiwright.
If it is possible, I want to see them rotate pitchers also R-L-R-L-R.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz, Kershaw is the best pitcher in the Majors right now but the sentimental pick is Matt Harvey being it is his home field. I have JZim rated higher than Wainwright.

My Cy voting right now is:

1. Kershaw
2. JZim
3. Harvey
4. SMiller
5. CLee
6. Waino
7. Minor
8. Stras
9. Locke
10. Corbin

Section 222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

Ghost, that's what I predicted awhile ago as well. I was a little surprised when I looked at ASG starters and found that home park or home manager advantage wasn't worth that much. Harvey only has 6 wins. It could be that having so many worthy choices, the managers feel it's safer to pick the guy with the most wins, even though they know that's a meaningless statistic. Also, Harvey is a rookie. It may be that Bochy will think that having him on the team and pitching in the game is enough of a reward at this point, and a pitcher with a longer track record, like Wainwright or Kershaw, should start.

At this point, I'm going to predict Wainwright, given his wins, his comeback from TJ, and the fact that his team is blowing away the league right now and may have only one stater (Beltran) unless Molina beats out Posey.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section222, call me crazy but I think Shelby Miller is having a better season so far than Wainwright. There's a reason the Cardinals are at the top of the MLB and it's pitching and timely hitting.

I just wonder when the Cardinals are going to fall into a collective slump like the Braves have.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Another reason Kershaw won't be the starter is because of that hatred between the Giants and Dodgers.

I don't think Bochy wants to cross that line.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

Steve M Why is Weinwright so low. I would think he would be even with JZim behind Kershaw.

Section 222 said...

Ghost, you're not crazy, but Miller has only 8 wins so far, and he's a rookie too. Not a single starter in the last 10 years was a rookie. And I think virtually everyone in STL would say that Wainwright is their No. 1.

I'm not arguing who "deserves" it more, or who is the best pitcher of all the possibilities. I'm just making a prediction, which is worth less than the paper it would have been written on if this were 1980 when we used paper. You say Harvey, I say Wainwright. We both hope JZnn. We'll see.

Oh, and preseason I also picked JZnn, Desi, and Harper for the ASG. Of course, I also picked ALR and Stras, but who's counting?

JD said...

Based on 1st half performance alone:


But I do agree with Ghost that Kershaw is the best oitcher in the NL.

JD said...


I don't see a prolonged slump for the Cards at all. Not with their starters and professional hitters up and down the lineup. Think about this for a second: They haven't called up their best prospect yet (Tavares, who co-incidentally was ranked ahead of Puig, Meyers and Rendon before the start of the year by most pundits), they have a slugging 1st baseman (Adams) who they don't have room for in the starting lineup and their short stop (Furcal) has been out all year.

JD said...


Wainright has out pitched JZimm so far this year. He has an 8 to 1 K to BB ratio. His BABIP is .313 while JZIM is .241.

You are splitting hairs here but it's just conversation.

Eric said...

So how's this Tyler Chatwood fella? 2.33 ERA is...not comforting.

mick said...


lol brother!

Eric said...

Cardinals are something to behold right now, for sure.

JD said...

Chatwood has been very good this year. 7 to 3 K to BB ratio and no home runs allowed in 66 innings split between AAA and the majors.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Manassas Nats' Fan said...
Steve M Why is Weinwright so low. I would think he would be even with JZim behind Kershaw.

June 21, 2013 11:53 AM

Wainwright is having a great year. He's tied with JZim for most Complete Games and his K/BB and K/9 are great but looking further is the quality of teams he has faced with 2 games against the Mets, the Nats, Cubs, Brewers aren't exactly the Murderer's Row of great teams.

Wainwright has done well against the Reds twice.

When you figure Boston, St Louis, Balt, Colo, and Detroit are your top 5 and the next 5 are Tampa, Oakland, Angels, Cincy, and Cleveland. Waino has only had to face Colorado and Cincy in that Top 10 and faced Colo at home. He hasn't had to play any other Top 5 team while JZim has faced Balt, Colo, Detroit, Cincy and Cleveland.

JD said...


That's a very fair analysis although Cleveland and Baltimore beat up JZimm pretty much so that kind of counters your own argument a bit.

Eric said...

"no home runs allowed in 66 innings split between AAA and the majors."

Now that's a streak that's ripe for breaking!

Joe Seamhead said...

Personally I would be more then thrilled if JZimm just was named, but not as a starter.
I found something quite humorous looking back to the April Fools Day Media Predictions in that one of our [former] bloggers picked Tyler Moore as our dark horse All Star selection. Who knows? Maybe next year.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, it doesn't counter the argument as Wainwright has dominated the bad offensive teams as has JZim. My analysis always starts with ERA and innings per Starr and WHIP. I don't care about Ks nearly as much as some.

Drew said...

Since Bryce has been out, my 401(k) has gone in the toilet.

Coincidence? I think not.

Get well soon!

Section 222 said...

JoeS, I believe that same blogger once insisted that Espi had the most upside of anyone on the team, and would likely end up in the Hall of Fame.

Dee Nile isn't just a river in Egypt.

Everyone makes bad predictions, of course. It's your attitude toward the predictions made by others that determines whether the humble pie or crow will be served cold.

natsfan1a said...

As well, I suspect that my cat may be plotting against me. He keeps sneaking up on me in the kitchen and nearly tripping me on the staircase. Also, he is very fond of birds. Coincidence? I think not. ;-)

Tcostant said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
With Davey being on the All-Star coaching staff, I think he will push for Ian Desmond. His slugging percentage, HRs and RBIs are at the tops of NL Shortstops.

Me: I also think Desi gets the nod, but the Brewers SS is a lock and if they only pick two SS the manager of the Giants just might pick his own SS over Desi. In the end I think all three go, but consider this as the managers lobby adds a lot more than just the a coach on tha All-Star team.

Tcostant said...

Drew said...
Since Bryce has been out, my 401(k) has gone in the toilet.

Coincidence? I think not.

Get well soon!

A: Cover Calls

Drew said...

Emily Litella: Coveralls? Who am I, Mr. Green Jeans?

Chevy: That's covered calls.

Emily Litella: Oh. Never mind.

Tcostant said...

A little small rant here. I was at the game last night (boy was Zimmermann on) and I purchased some peanuts with the coupon in Sunday's Washington Post. In stead of getting the peanuts they sell ever game, I got a smaller bag. One of the guys in the stand near me, just purchased a nag from a vendor and we held them up next to each other. The bag was about half the size.

Just insulting...

Section 222 said...

Someone made a comment earlier about JZnn's increasing Ks and the Nats' pitch to contact philosophy. I've thought for awhile that the focus on Ks as antithetical to keeping a pitch count down may be misplaced. It seems to me that walks and hits are far more important, particularly walks. Both of those increase the number of batters that the pitcher has to face. And a walk, obviously requires at least 4 pitches.

Pitching to contact is great if you can get people out. But if that contact leads to a hit, you've not done yourself any favors. Zim’s work last night is a great illustration. He made just 112 pitches in 8 innings. That’s exactly 14 pitches per inning. Incidentally, guess who leads the major leagues in pitches per innings pitched -- none other than JZnn at 13.5. So last night’s gem was right at his average number of pitches per inning.

There were only three innings where he made more than 14 pitches . In the first inning (15 pitches), he didn’t throw a single ball in 15 pitches. But he gave up two hits , so he faced 5 batters. In the seventh, he threw 13 of 17 pitches for strikes. But again, he gave up 2 hits. In the eighth, his strike percentage fell to 69.6% (16 of 23), still pretty darn good. But he gave up a walk and a hit (and Rendon made his error.)

The only other inning where the Rockies had a baserunner was the second, but JZnn faced the minimum number of batters in that inning by inducing a double play (helluva turn by Rendon by the way). Not by chance, the three innings where there were most baserunners were the innings where he threw the most pitches.

The three innings where he threw the least pitches were the third (10), fourth (11), and sixth (9). In both the third and the fourth, he struck out two batters.

So what I think McCatty is really getting at when he says "pitch to contact" is "don't nibble, throw strikes." If you throw strikes, batters will have to swing. And if they swing and your stuff and command are good, you'll get outs. But if they swing and miss, there's nothing wrong with that. Zim had 9 Ks last night. 8 were swinging Ks. And on 5 of them, he threw five pitches or less.

As we saw last night, JZnn is beyond great in terms of throwing strikes. Last night, the batters happened to be missing too. I don't think JZnn is trying to strike more batters out. His stuff is just getting better and better.

JD said...

Sec 222,

That's a really good analysis and I think people misrepresented Mc.Catty's comments from last year.Generally speaking 30% of ball hit into play will fall for hits. Generally when you give up hits you will face more hitters which by itself will increase your pitch count.

It has to be intuitive that a strike out is the best possible way to get an out. You don't test your fielders, you don't allow runners to advance and you don't tempt the gods of BABIP.

Naturally you can't always prevent hitters from putting the ball in play without walking them but the idea that you intentionally pitch to get balls into play is counter intuitive to me.

Section 222 said...

JD, you made my point much more succinctly than I did. Pitch to contact is about throwing strikes, not trying to let the batter hit the ball rather than get a strikeout. I guess some pitchers (Storen?) think they can only strike people out by nibbling.

A quick postcript. Remember Strasburg's debut where he struck out 14 batters? (How could you forget?) He threw 94 pitches in 7 innings, an average of 13.42 per inning.

Remember the sixth and seventh where he struck out the side? (How could you forget?) He made 11 and 13 pitches in those two innings, respectively. In the third and fifth, when he struck out two out of the three batters he faced -- 10 and 14 pitches, respectively. But in the second, when he struck out three but also gave up a hit -- 19 pitches.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

That os impressive based on his team and his AAA team

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NCNatsie said...

Tcos, let me make sure I've got this right. You got a free bag of peanuts at the game and you're insulted that you didn't get a bigger free bag of peanuts at the game.

natsfan1a said...

Speaking of A/S votes, I took a stack of ballots to Denver, but my Chicago/Denver baseball buddy and I never got around to punching them. I left them with her and will be picking up my own batch to do on Sunday. Yeah, I'm a ballot box stuffer. That's how I roll.

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