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Zimmermann tames the Tigers

May 9, 2013, 5:07 AM EDT

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Jordan Zimmermann beat the Tigers to earn his NL-leading sixth win.

From his position at first base, Adam LaRoche often gets an unfiltered reaction from opposing hitters to the man they’re facing on any particular night. What LaRoche was hearing from the handful of Detroit Tigers who reached base Wednesday night against Jordan Zimmermann was enough to convince him the Nationals’ young right-hander legitimately belongs in conversation with baseball’s very best pitchers right now.

“Oh man, it’s incredible,” LaRoche said. “When you’ve got the other team coming down talking about how nasty he is and how they’ve all been keeping up and know how good of a pitcher he his, it’s a pretty good sign.”

It’s also a fairly good sign when that pitcher shuts down three of the sport’s most fearsome lineups in succession, capped by this dismantling of the Tigers during a 3-1 victory that was as impressive as any the Nationals have strung together so far this season.

“I don’t think he’s scared of anybody,” LaRoche said. “I don’t think he cares who’s hitting. He’s pounding the zone and working ahead, sticking with his plan. It continues to pay off.”
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  1. sjm308 - May 9, 2013 at 5:44 AM

    Great game – hated to miss but it was the right decision, health wise.I thought last year that JZimmnn should have been the opening day starter based off his performance for us the year before. I realize SS is a special talent but guess what?, we might have two of those!!I have been holding this in but have permission to let people know that Bryce visited the nationals massage therapist from years past, (who is no longer working for the Nationals) on Monday. This is the same young lady that "fixed" Dimitri Young. Just a shame that they went in a different direction but things happen for a reason. Not saying that home run was a result of her work but it sure didn't hurt.Go Nats!! Go Tatiana!!

  2. djinFl. - May 9, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Barkeep, a round of massages for everyone.

  3. baseballswami - May 9, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    I had this prickly little thought in my head. Early pickoff, early error, Tigers score. Here we go again. But not this time – maybe a few weeks ago. It's encouraging to see them tighten up, recover, dig in. It took JZ more pitches against those guys, but he is a patient guy. Even Clip had to battle, but he doesn't change his demeanor on the mound either. The two big hitters seemed to wear him down a bit. Balls and strikes seemed to be a bit inconsistent from the ump. But that's hard to tell from the seats. How did it look on tv?

  4. NatsJack in Florida - May 9, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    And congrats to Danny Espinosa for reaching the Mendoza line. 2 hits a game a couple of more times and you'll be approaching .230.I'm not worried about Adam LaRoche as he's done this several times before.

  5. Rabbit34 - May 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Great game, but after the first three guys in our lineup, there's nothing left in the tank. Thank Zimmermann, as one of the pitchers, for keeping us anywhere close to contending. I'm actually looking forward to seeing Haren pitch again. Was he real or was it Memorex (remember that one?)?

  6. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Braves, Reds, Tigers. Complete domination.

  7. Tcostant - May 9, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I was thinking before the season a 5 year $75M extention was in order to lock Zimmermann up. Now I think the price is going over 9 figures.

  8. fast eddie - May 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Great win, but we're still scuffling to score runs.Sanchez has owned us forever (8-0 in 20 starts against us).Too many regulars hitting around or below .200: Espinosa, Laroche, Zimm, Moore and the Goon Squad.We've been shut down by some top pitchers (Hudson, Harvey) but are still near the league bottom in team batting and runs scored.

  9. Section 222 - May 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I was thinking last night as we went through the middle of the lineup, "I wonder if there are any other teams whose 5, 6, and 7 hitters are all hitting under .200?" And yet, we're 18-15. Two lessons: (1) It's all about starting pitching, and (2) When the lineup gets going, look out.

  10. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Sec.222, I agree about lessons 1&2, and would add #3 in in spite of ALR's error the defense is looking more like what we expected. What a key move by Davey to insert Roger Bernadina for Tyler Moore when he did.NatsJack, hitting is contagious, often getting started from just one spot in the lineup. It will be nice when Ryan joins the party, too.Espy and Adam are waking up. Iliked the Span triple and Harper's sac fly. Things along that line is what Rizzo envisioned when he signed Span to lead off. Now, if Denard would just cut out getting picked! From all I've heard about him, the guy has historically been a smarter baserunner then he has shown on several occasions.GYFNG!!!

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    JZim lost a 2-0 game because the Nats couldn't score. Don't think for a minute those collective slumps hadn't cost the Nats games.

  12. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    And, boy, oh, boy, did the A's get trashed by Angel Hernandez, or what? What good is replay if the ump is going to ignore very clear evidence that the ball was out? Joe Torre should get involved in this.http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130508&content_id=47017588&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  13. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    It's funny how people are forgetting those sloppy losses riddled with throwing errors, mental errors, poor baserunning and poor execution at the plate.

  14. A DC Wonk - May 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… And congrats to Danny Espinosa for reaching the Mendoza line.Last 10 games: .270, 3 doubles, 2 HR's, 7 RBIs.I'm not worried about Adam LaRoche as he's done this several times before. LaRoche, five game hitting streak, where he's gone (yeah, I know, cherry-picking small sample size, but, still): 20 plate appearances: 7 hits and 6 walks — a .538 BA and .650 OBP.

  15. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Yeah, Span needs to stop getting picked off. WTF?! Other than that, though, I couldn't be happier about having acquired him.

  16. NatsNut - May 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Great game last night. have ya'll seen Span's Dmitri Young tongue-hang when he slid into third on his triple? Hilarious.A couple young boys with their dad were a section over last night and they purposely stood up and tucked their shirts in for the last out. They were BEAMING.

  17. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I agree, Ghost, but the same could be said by the Reds, Braves, and Tigers about their batters when they faced Zimm.Sometimes Angel Hernandez seems like he loves being wrong. He really is a disgrace. If he worked for me and his job performance was as bad as his is I'd fire him in a heartbeat.

  18. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    "It's funny how people are forgetting those sloppy losses riddled with throwing errors, mental errors, poor baserunning and poor execution at the plate."If by "forgetting" you mean "watching as the team apparently moves past all that", then yeah, it's pretty funny! ;)

  19. A DC Wonk - May 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Sex 222 wrote: "I wonder if there are any other teams whose 5, 6, and 7 hitters are all hitting under .200?" And yet, we're 18-15. Two lessons: (1) It's all about starting pitching, and (2) When the lineup gets going, look out. Nats are back up to 3rd in the NL in team ERA (and WHIP).(and next to last in BA & OBP; third to last in runs scored)Indeed — as last year — awesome pitching combined with just-enough-hitting, and, like last year, to repeat Sec 222, when the hitting gets going: look out!

  20. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Ghost, I don't think any of us are forgetting the earlier sloppiness, but are instead happy that it is beginning to become "what was" rather than "what is" and hopefully "what will be."

  21. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Exactly Joe. No doubt I still hold my breath every time an infielder approaches a grounder or prepares to throw the ball.

  22. A DC Wonk - May 9, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Today's oddities:- Indians have scored one run four times this season. They are 2-2 when that happens. – (at the start of yesterday) The Nats are the only team in baseball to have a winning record and a negative run differential. – Even after last night's game, Detroit's 2-3-4 batters each have an OPS of greater than .850 (and two of them over 1.000)- Yankees have scored a total of 8 runs in their last 5 games at Coors Field (dating back to 2007)

  23. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Did any of you catch FP and Carp talking about Suzuki and JZimm's pre-game ritual? Something like, Suzuki hands JZimm the ball, JZimm asks, "do you know what the plan is," and Suzuki says, "No."Gave me a good chuckle.Also, anyone think Ramos doubled up in Pittsburgh partly so Suzuki could call JZimm's game again?

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I think back to people proposing trading Jordan Zimmermann + a couple of players for BJ Upton 2 years ago.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Eric said… Also, anyone think Ramos doubled up in Pittsburgh partly so Suzuki could call JZimm's game again? Could be although Davey won't admit it. Go back to Ramos 1st day off the DL and Davey skipped him and it seemed to line up Ramos with Strasburg.I believe you go with what works and Zuk and JZ got something going and Stras and Ramos work well together and Gio did great with Ramos.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    A DC Wonk said…- Even after last night's game, Detroit's 2-3-4 batters each have an OPS of greater than .850 (and two of them over 1.000)They are solid offensively but they had a team slump in mid-April. For the last 2 weeks their bats have come alive but lets face it, 4 games with the Houston Astros can do that for you.

  27. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Agreed on all counts re: catcher/pitcher matchups, Ghost. At any case, I will happily take our new-found team ERA. If Haren can pull another rabbit out of the hat tonight, look out!

  28. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Ghost, I don't think any of us are forgetting the earlier sloppiness, but are instead happy that it is beginning to become "what was" rather than "what is" and hopefully "what will be." May 09, 2013 9:16 AM Trust me, I love getting the W's but this team still isn't turning in crisp games but I do like they are now finding a way to win and exploiting the other teams mistakes. Once this team gets back to mistake free fundamental baseball they will show why they are the best team in the Majors.Last night:1) LaRoche error on soft grounder2) Span picked off 1st and caught flat-footed3) RZim plays a ball off of his right-side and the ball scoots past him. Didn't position himself in front of the ball. That runner scored.4) Tyler Clippard walks 2 batters in 1 inning of work after getting Cabrera/Fielder5) Team batted 1-5 with RISP

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Eric, if Haren can get his split to fall off the table, nobody can beat him. He is all about movement and deception and accuracy.He had a lot of people upset at him most of the year and his last 3 starts have all been very encouraging.

  30. A DC Wonk - May 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Eric, if Haren can get his split to fall off the table, nobody can beat him. He is all about movement and deception and accuracy. He had a lot of people upset at him most of the year and his last 3 starts have all been very encouraging.Agreed. To repeat something that I (and one or two others) mentioned during his last start — one of the announcers (can't remember if it was tv or radio) said that Haren said that since he had so much time off last year (due to injury) and that he worked out so much in the off season, he felt the strongest, healthiest, and best he'd felt in many years.And, with that new strength he was throwing his splitter too hard, and so it lacked good movement.He's finally figured all that out and dialed it back some . . . as we see the results.Let's hope he can keep it that way!

  31. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    By hook, or crook, they beat Anibal Sanchez for the first time. I'm not going to dwell on the negative. They beat him, beat the team that came in having won 9 out of 10. Relax. We got this.GYFNG!!!

  32. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Huge test for Dan Haren this afternoon. Anybody else going? We're going both today, and tomorrow night, weather permitting.

  33. NatsLady - May 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Here's the thing about Clip's walks last night. (1) After he got to 3-2 on Dirks, who is batting .344 over the last couple of weeks, Suzuki made a mound visit. I'm pretty sure he said, don't give this guy anything good, get the next one.(2) After he got to 3-2 on Peralta, also hitting over .300, and his pitch count is getting up there, Cat comes to the mound. The question is, battle this guy who could foul off a bunch, or go for the next guy?(3) Avila is a .186 hitter. You may not like the walks. I don't. But given the situation Clip was in, where he only needs one out, this is the equivalent of IBBs, especially the second one.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    NEW POST

  35. A DC Wonk - May 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    RZim plays a ball off of his right-side and the ball scoots past him. Didn't position himself in front of the ball. That runner scored.That ball was down the line — did he have time? (I have no idea). And it seemed to take a weird hop (which, obviously, would have been irrelevant had he been in front of it — but I'm not sure he had time)

  36. NatsLady - May 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    The only downside to Clip's work was the high pitch count was he probably shouldn't pitch today. But Storen is rested (and Davey said he doesn't want to use both Clip and Storen in the same game), Mattheus and Stammen haven't pitched since May 3. Davey has plenty of arrows.

  37. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    5) Team batted 1-5 with RISPAre you including Harper's sac fly in that? Perfectly good AB.

  39. Ivan Tuski - May 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Sjm308-"I thought last year that JZimmnn should have been the opening day starter based off his performance for us the year before.I totally agree and felt the same way. He had definitely earned it.

  40. Ivan Tuski - May 9, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Seamhead, i am going today and tomorrow too

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