Mar 25, 2011, 2:09 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann tossed five shutout innings, striking out six.
LAKELAND, Fla. — Perhaps the two biggest things to take out of the Nationals' 5-2 victory over the Tigers tonight were Jordan Zimmermann's continued dominance and Tyler Clippard's continued improvement. Each was a welcome sight for a Nats club that really needs both of these right-handers to be in top form as soon as the bell rings next week.
Let's start with Zimmermann, who didn't surrender a run for the fourth time in five starts this spring. This outing wasn't quite as dominant as some of his previous ones, but it may actually have been more impressive because he pitched out of several tight jams against a really tough lineup.
In three consecutive innings, Zimmermann put two men on base, and each time he came through to escape without suffering any damage. With two on and two out in the second, he struck out Alex Avila looking at a 3-2 slider. With two on and one out in the third, he struck out Magglio Ordonez looking and then got Miguel Cabrera to ground out. And with two on and nobody out in the fourth, he got Jhonny Peralta to hit a comebacker, then struck out Avila and Brandon Inge on 94 mph fastballs.
"That's a good lineup he's facing there," Jim Riggleman said, later adding: "The hitters he was facing, he made some really good pitchesRead more »
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