Aug 24, 2011, 4:19 AM EDT
Jordan Zimmermann reacts to Sean Burroughs’ seventh-inning home run.
Jordan Zimmermann has, in so many ways, exceeded even the Nationals’ loftiest expectations this season. Team officials merely wanted the right-hander to enjoy a pain-free year after recovering from Tommy John surgery, and perhaps flash a glimpse or two of the front-line starter they believe he will be some day.
Zimmermann wound up doing far more than that, establishing himself as one of the National League’s best young arms and maintaining an ERA right around the 3.00 mark for the last three months.
But as his season reaches its early conclusion — he’s due to be shut down after making one more start Sunday due to an organizational limit on innings pitched — Zimmermann still knows he has one more major hurdle to cross in his professional development. He still needs to learn how to gut his way through one more inning, avoiding the late disasters that unfortunately have plagued him far too often this season.
It happened again Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks. Dominant for six innings, Zimmermann made one critical mistake in the seventh, resulting in Sean Burroughs’ two-run homer. And that proved the difference in the Nationals’ 2-0 loss at the end of a strange day in Washington that included the region’s largest earthquake in more than a century.
“One pitch kills me again,” Zimmermann said.
Indeed, this wasn’t the first time the 25-year-old saw an otherwise fabulous outing ruined by a late blast from the opposition. Vladimir
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