May 2, 2013, 3:47 AM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Jordan Zimmermann tossed eight more scoreless innings to improve to 5-1.
ATLANTA — While Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez battled their way through the season’s first month, their inconsistency mirroring the Nationals’ overall up-and-down performance, Jordan Zimmermann simply took the ball every fifth day and did everything within his power to pitch his team to victory.
So when the Nationals took the field Wednesday night at Turner Field, desperate to beat a Braves club that had dominated them in five previous meetings this season, who better than Zimmermann to lead the way?
Who knows how the Nationals’ rotation will be aligned come season’s end, who will be designated staff ace and who will bring up the rear? Make no mistake, though: Right now, Zimmermann is the best pitcher on this staff. He’s also legitimately among the very best pitchers in baseball.
“There’s no question about it,” manager Davey Johnson said following a 2-0 victory over Atlanta. “We needed that one bad, and he went out there and pitched a blueprint game. That was outstanding.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- Around the NL East: Which team will make a big splash via trade?
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- Span proving skeptics wrong with summer surge
- Zimmermann, Nationals go fishing in Miami
- State of the Nats: Deal or no deal before the MLB trade deadline?
- Consistency propels Nationals to NL's best record