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Zim’s career night an afterthought

May 30, 2013, 3:17 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Photos
Ryan Zimmmerman is greeted after hitting one of his three homers last night.

BALTIMORE — Had the Nationals held on to win last night, everyone today would be gushing over Ryan Zimmerman, who might well have played the best game of his career. Seriously, what is he ever going to do to top a three-homer, two-Web Gem performance? (Aside, of course, from some yet-to-be-experienced October magic moment.)

Zimmerman's evening, though, was completely overshadowed by the Nationals' late meltdown against the Orioles during what became an incredibly disheartening 9-6 loss at Camden Yards. Because of that, the veteran third baseman couldn't take much joy in his individual performance.

"It's tough to have a night like that and not be able to kinda celebrate it and have fun, because we lost," he said. "But I've been swinging the bat better, and it came together in one game."

Indeed, it's rare for anybody to hit three homers and still lose. It's only happened 87 times in modern history, though it happened toRead more »

  1. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    "But you gotta start before you gradually build up."Paging Danny Espinosa. Danny Espinosa to the white courtesy phone…!

  2. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    "I've been hitting the ball well the last couple weeks," he said. "Like you said, I haven't really had much power or damage to show for it. But you gotta start before you gradually build up."And there you go in the evolution of a swing. You have to start hitting and making adjustments as RZim has been working mostly on keeping his head on the ball and hitting line drives while covering the plate. Yesterday it all worked for him with the 2 monster shots he hit on the 1st 2 At-bats and still don't know how he muscled the 3rd one oppo boppo.

  3. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Eric, in all seriousness it's like the saying of "You have to learn to walk before you can run".That's why I have believed for a while that young players like TyMo and Espi would benefit from a few weeks in Syracuse.Players without options like Bernadina and Chad Tracy don't have the opportunity to do that.

  4. Nats 128 - May 30, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    "That's why I have believed for a while that young players like TyMo and Espi would benefit from a few weeks in Syracuse.Players without options like Bernadina and Chad Tracy don't have the opportunity to do that."The quote from Espinosa just wreaks of his entitlement. Rizzo should have had him sit out the full 3 weeks and sent him on a rehab assignment in Syracuse and not brought him back until he was red hot.“I don’t have three weeks to sit. I thought if it was another week that would have been real productive, I probably would have taken one week. But it’s not going to be one week. It’s going to be a good amount of time to get it recovered. I feel better. I don’t have the amount of pain I had.”

  5. A DC Wonk - May 30, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Oddities of the day:- a 3 HR game. Last night. In three at bats (plus a walk). For back-up catcher Dioner Navarro, who (in 10 seasons) has a career high in homers with 9.- Orioles Chris Davis is slugging .766 (only Bonds and McGwire have slugged over .750 in a full season since Babe Ruth did it in 1927).- Gerardo Parra leads the NL with seven times caught stealing (and only four succesful stolen bases)- Yankees are now 0-3 against the Mets. Ivan Nova of the Yanks, however, pitched an "immaculate inning" in the losing effort.- Phils' Domonic Brown is second in the NL in HR's (?!) — and is OBP is _almost_ .300- If you exclude the NL Central division — the best record in baseball is Texas at 32-20. That record would be good enough for fourth place in the NL Central.

  6. EmDash - May 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Hmm. Harper's sister on his injuries, from the Tweeter responding to an article by Jon Morosi "worrying" about Harper's health: "don't be worried-had he been 15 day'd after the LA incident the 'problems' following that day wouldn't have existed!"…there's probably going to be some drama about that.

  7. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 30, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    We're in the middle of one of Zim's patented hot streaks. He can carry a team on his back when he does. I'm erasing Zimm'nn's performance as a quirk; guy deserves an off night considering he's been so consistent last two-plus years.With Zimm red-hot, ALR heating up and softie pitching tonight for the Yo's, I like the Nats behind Haren.Nats 12-10 sounds about right.Wish us well. We're invading Charm City tonight. I've got the 1994 Chrysler New Yorker freshly washed and waxed. Delfonics and the Pretenders in the cassette deck. Nobody is going to out-Baltimore me in Baltimore.GYFNG!!

  8. Drew - May 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Nats Jack and Theo mentioned Matt Purke.Purke started for Hagerstown last night. He threw four innings and gave up two earned runs, striking out six with no walks.I don't know enough to comment on his 40-man status (is it contractual, part of his major league deal?)I'm just glad to see a promising Nats minor leaguer back on the mound.Somebody made a good point here the other day. The travails at Syracuse are misleading.There are a number of promising arms in the pipeline — Karns, Giolito, Jordan, Cole, Solis, Ray, Purke — not to mention the unheralded guys who become pleasant surprises, like Rosenbaum and Blake Schwartz, the kid who's off to a great start at Potomac.

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Drew, yes Purke's draft agreement was done with the agreement he went on the 40 man at the time. With the new CBA, that isn't allowed any more.

  10. Nats 128 - May 30, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    "EmDash said… Hmm. Harper's sister on his injuries, from the Tweeter responding to an article by Jon Morosi "worrying" about Harper's health: "don't be worried-had he been 15 day'd after the LA incident the 'problems' following that day wouldn't have existed!"…there's probably going to be some drama about that. May 30, 2013 11:43 AM"That will get the radio talk shows buzzing on how this is RGKnee.Difference is there was no concussion and no structural damage to the knee so his sister should keep her mouth shut. Harper wanted to play the next day and at least they sat him for a few days.

  11. JD - May 30, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Drew, Ditto on Purke. Once he works he way back (polishes off the rust) I think the proper level for both him and Solis is AA. I am especially excited about these 2 and Giolito although he is many years away for the big leagues. Karns looked pretty good the other night and I also saw him in spring training, he has a great arm but I can't decide in my mind if he will become Jordan Zimmermann or Brad Peacock. Robbie Ray is progressing nicely but Cole seems to be stuck at the A level without yet being able to dominate at that level (for 2 straight years). The numbers on Blake Scwartz look great, he has moved up a level without skipping a beat already this year. Rosenbaum I'm afraid tops out as a bottom of the rotation guy (Lannan?)

  12. Section 222 - May 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    The quote from Espinosa just [reeks] of his entitlement. Sure does. The full story from Wagner on NJ is a jaw dropper. It's almost as if he doesn't realize that he's hurting the team by playing so badly. Just amazing. When I saw it yesterday, I decided I really need to take a break. My blood pressure can't take this.

  13. Jimmy DeMoney - May 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Daveyboy Mr Scragglebeard:I really wish you would play your best players:1. Lombo in LF (while Bryce is out)2. Rendon at 2B3. Bryce in LF exclusively – let the young gun focus on one position and rotate the other guys around him

  14. Nats 128 - May 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Jimmy DeMoney, are you a Caps Fan also.

  15. Candide - May 30, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Section 222 said… The quote from Espinosa just [reeks] of his entitlement. I think it's wonderful that Davey allows the players to write out the lineup cards.Wagner's column quotes Davey as saying he needs to have a sitdown and talk with Lombardozzi. Really? With Lombo? How about a talk with Espinosa, along the following lines?"So Danny, how are you feeling?""Good, skip!""Wrist okay?""Yeah – hurts a little, but everyone has some aches and pains by this point in the season.""How's the shoulder?""Shoulder's feeling pretty good, skip!""Really?""Yeah, skip, it's fine. Just a little tender, but it's not hurting my swing at all.""Okay, then what you're saying is there's no physical reason for you not hitting. You're not in a slump; you haven't hit doodly-squat since the season started two months ago. You struck out three times last night, even after resting your injured wrist, which you claim isn't a factor for you any more. At this point, I have to conclude that you can't hit major league pitching. I don't have – this TEAM doesn't have – the luxury of putting Mario Mendoza in the lineup every day, no matter how great his glove is."So we're sending you down to work on your hitting. Spend some time destroying AA or AAA pitching, and we'll bring you back up."

  16. EmDash - May 30, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I agree with them not rushing Rendon, personally; letting him adjust to the position before throwing him to the major league wolves is the only way to progress with a top prospect.I don't blame Espinosa for wanting to play. He's a highly competitive professional athlete, and those guys are taught from early childhood that if you're physically able to get out there, you sacrifice your body for the team. Or you're not a team player and "tough." It's short-sighted, but that's the culture.However, it's completely inexplicable to me that he hasn't been DLed to at least allow his wrist to heal; three weeks is not that long. They can use Lombo at second, and Kobernus as utility man until Espi's wrist at least heals. I believe Espinosa can be a solid major league regular if he's healthy – not an all-star, but a useful player – but if he keeps aggravating an injury by trying to play through it he could play himself out of baseball.And hitting with a broken wrist and bone chips has to be close to impossible even if you have the best batting eye in the world, which…he doesn't. He's being put in a position where he can't possibly succeed, night after night. It's painful to watch.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    JD said… Karns looked pretty good the other night and I also saw him in spring training, he has a great arm but I can't decide in my mind if he will become Jordan Zimmermann or Brad PeacockKarns looked good because he kept the ball down early and had that element of shock and awe as the Orioles had no scouting on him. I think Suzuki had him rely too much on the fastball and Karns seemed to get fatigued as he was over throwing (97 mph) and his fastball was getting up, losing velo and straightening out. Davey made the right decision to pull him when he did.What I saw was a pitcher with a JZim type of repertoire and velo. Still the mystery of the different wrist action on his breaker had different hook action. With so little data on him I only know what Davey said he was throwing which was a slurve. The only way to find out is to ask him. We know JZim throws the tight slider and the looping curve. Karns has a breaker with more movement to it and unfortunately most didn't get in the strike zone. He threw one breaker to strikeout a batter that had great hook to it.He is a work in progress so for now he is Nate Karns future middle of the rotation righty.

  18. SCNatsFan - May 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    I don't blame Espi for wanting to play. Daniel Cabrera probably still want to play too. That shoouldn't be reason enough for him to be a starting major league player."But he grades super on 4/5 skills". Yeah, I know. But can't run or steal bases if you don't get on base. I was down on Espi a year ago but everyone said 'wait, Desi turned it around'. I'm still waiting but Espi's supporters are dwindling.

  19. Section 222 - May 30, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Perhaps it's been commented on before, but Maya cleared waivers and is headed back to Syracuse. It will be a long road back to the 40-man for him.

  20. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Man, the way some of y'all twist intended meaning is something else. It is plainly evident in that Wagner piece that Davey is sitting down with Lombo to explain why he is being benched so Espi can play, NOT because Lombo "needs a talking to" or whatever.“[Lombo] doesn’t understand, and yes, I probably need to talk to him,” Johnson said. “He knows I think a great deal about him. He’s always been a big part of the success here.“This is also about 25 guys that I’ve got to get going. Lombo is playing really good right now. Espinosa is very capable, and I need to get him going. The injury to [Bryce] Harper and [Jayson] Werth has given an opportunity to a couple guys who have been slow getting going. Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina seem to be hitting their stride. You gotta have 25 guys. You don’t win with 10 or 15 guys. You don’t win a pennant that way.”As for Espi's sense of "entitlement," I don't read that at all from his quotes. All I get from his quotes is he's gonna play if his coach is willing to put him in the game. And, clearly, Davey is willing to do so.Which isn't to say all of this isn't frustrating. It surely is. But, some of the reactions here bring to mind that ironic piece that was linked to about the Lincoln assassination being the cause of the Nats rough start:"It leads columnists [and blog commenters ;)] to make character judgments about ballplayers because of what they do on a diamond. It leads fans to become overly-invested and find heros, villains, bums, gods and frauds around every corner. And all of that noise alienates people who would like to simply enjoy a game once in a while."

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    SCNatsFan said… I was down on Espi a year ago but everyone said 'wait, Desi turned it around'. I'm still waiting but Espi's supporters are dwindling. Everyone??? Everyone minus 1 as I warned people making that comparison of Espi to Desi. Two different players and Desi's problem was never eye/hand coordination and very poor mechanics. Desi's problem was plate discipline and approach and Davey fixed him in August 2011.I know, seeing is believing.I've pointed to Espi's deficiencies since June and July 2011 with that horrific swing & miss. It's amazing he never got sent down to AAA and like I said, part of the problem was the Nats didn't have a better alternative to replace him. They still sort of don't unless you give Lombo time and hope that a AAA stint for Espinosa brings him back in an improved form.One of 3 things will happen, Espinosa will either turn around his season or he will disappoint the entire year or he will get sent down. None of the 3 are great. Last off-season the solution was to trade him and get a new 2nd baseman.

  22. Nats 128 - May 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    "As for Espi's sense of "entitlement," I don't read that at all from his quotes. All I get from his quotes is he's gonna play if his coach is willing to put him in the game. And, clearly, Davey is willing to do so."You need to read his quotes from the end of 2011 when Lombo was called up. Espinosa actually thinks hes good. Heres the definition of entitlement: "belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges"

  23. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Now we're posting definitions of simple words? How about this one:Disagreement: 1. Lack of consensus on a debatable point.

  24. A DC Wonk - May 30, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    One of 3 things will happen, Espinosa will either turn around his season or he will disappoint the entire year or he will get sent down. None of the 3 are great. I find it hard to believe that he will play poorly the entire year. He will either get it together or get sent to the bench or AAA. Davey, Rizzo, et al, have a lot of patience, and most of the time the patience pays off. But if Espi continues imitating Rick Ankiel, Davey-Rizzo will, at some point, say: patience is for next year, we need hitting now.Playing time helps — it's possible that the Shark is finally getting it together, it took ALR a whole month (and he kept in the lineup during that gawdawful 0-for-26 streak that had almost everyone hear screaming), it took RZ while, and maybe TyMo is.OTOH, all of them _are_ showing signs of life in the batters box, and Espi still isn't. But I have a feeling that this time Davey-Rizzo's patience is wearing thin. I just have this feeling that that things are going to change by the middle of June with Espi — one way or the other.

  25. David Proctor - May 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Here's some cause for optimism: in the last 6 days we've scored: 5, 3, 6, 2, 9, 9. If we score that many runs (except the 2) regularly, we'll win a whole lot of games.

  26. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    I agree Espi won't be given the whole season.

  27. JD - May 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Wonk, I agree with you. As much as you'd like to hope for the best I think Espi's performance is untenable and I don't think that there is much time for him to turn it around in the majors. I can absolutely understand why Davie/Rizzo are waiting this out as long as possible. The idea of having a switch hitting power hitter with ++ speed and off the charts defensive ability at 2nd base is very enticing and hard to give up on but at the end of the day if you can't get on base at least once every 3 at bats and if you strike out 28% of the time you can't stay in the majors.

  28. Drew - May 30, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Rendon turns 23 next week.Getting his wisdom teeth pulled has cost him this week, but you've got to figure he'll be on the move soon.Next stop, Syracuse.

  29. JD - May 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Eric, They can't wait that long. I think Wonk is right; we are talking 3 more weeks max IMO.

  30. Nats106 - May 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… Wish us well. We're invading Charm City tonight. I've got the 1994 Chrysler New Yorker freshly washed and waxed. Delfonics and the Pretenders in the cassette deck. Nobody is going to out-Baltimore me in Baltimore.Sunshine Bobby, that is too funny. Best of luck tonight. You also need the Replacements and a DVD of Diner.

  31. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Can't wait how long? I didn't put any time table out there. ;)I was simply indicating I agree with Wonk's first two sentences: I find it hard to believe that he will play poorly the entire year. He will either get it together or get sent to the bench or AAA.

  32. Jimmy DeMoney - May 30, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Yes I agree let Espi tear up AAA before returning.Davey is costing us games with his managerial decisions.TyMo is a liability in LF only place he should play is 1B on ALRs day off. OF needs speed to cut off shots to gap before they roll to wall!

  33. David Proctor - May 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Phil Wood had something interesting to say about Rendon. He said Rendon's pitch recognition is the best on the roster except for Werth and Harper. However, Rendon was struggling one specific pitch: the high fastball (the one that Danny K's on constantly). He said that is why the Nationals are keeping Rendon at Harrisburg. Double-A is where all the flamethrowers are. The Nationals want him to learn to identify and hit (or lay off) that pitch. Moving to Syracuse, he'd see more curves, offspeed, etc. but he's already good at that so there's not a need for him to spend a lot of time there.It made a lot of sense.

  34. Caps Fan - May 30, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Surprised none of you Espinosa conspiracy theorists are raising agent involvement as the reason he remains in the lineup. Who's his agent? Guy named Boras. Maybe you've heard of him.

  35. Caps Fan - May 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    "I find it hard to believe that he will play poorly the entire year. He will either get it together or get sent to the bench or AAA."You could have said the same thing about Cristian Guzman in 2005. And you would have been wrong on all counts.

  36. blovy8 - May 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    It is pretty odd that they WON'T DL him at all. It's a broken bone. You don't need to explain anything to a guy hitting .166 for two months with no sign of improvement except what time his rehab is.

  37. blovy8 - May 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    For the Boras conspiracy, if Strasburg had a broken nail, he'd be on the DL. Every atbat is costing Boras money down the line right now.

  38. David Proctor - May 30, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Strasburg is a Boras client too. Also, he didn't go on the DL for forearm tightness, which is a bit more severe than a broken nail. But don't let facts get in the way of your narrative. :)

  39. Just wonderin' - May 30, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Boras now part of the conspiracy? As I wrote yesterday, time to bring in Darrell Issa.

  40. mick - May 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Borat or Boras, lol

  41. Caps Fan - May 30, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Harper is a Boras client. Seen him on the DL lately? Werth and Ramos are also Boras clients. Can you see either one of them going up to Davey sometime and saying "Take me out of the lineup, skip. I'm hurting the team."? No, you say? I thought so.You know who did say that, up in Baltimore last year? Ryan Zimmerman. Not a Boras client.

  42. mick - May 30, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    just to funny, every time i see the Boras, I keep thinking of Borat and Azamat

  43. Just wonderin' - May 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    So Espinosa and Harper don't go on the DL, thus there's a Boras-based conspiracy. But Ramos and Werth go onto the DL — but they went without asking? — thus that proves the same conspiracy? This really is worthy of Darrell Issa.

  44. Section 222 - May 30, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    "It's tough…. Nobody wants to stop, I guess. That's not the nature of this game. Everyone plays until basically they break, which isn't always the smartest thing, but that's how we've been raised in this game. But I haven't really been helping the team lately, offensively. I feel like I've done some other things to help the team win. It's just frustrating. Obviously we're playing good, we have a good team. And I want really bad to be a part of that."Sound like Danny Espinosa? Of course not. That's Ryan Zimmerman, a guy who cares about his team more than himself. In the same interview, Zim acknowledged that he might have to go on the DL "if things keep going the way they've been going."By the way, Zim's comments came after a game on June 23, 2012, in which he went 0-4 and dropping his batting average to .218, his lowest of the season after April 17. Not long after that, the cortisone started working and he went on a tear. In the next 30 games, he slashed .363/.423/.718, raising his batting average to .270.

  45. NatsLady - May 30, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Actually that's almost word for word what Danny said on the radio yesterday. "I know my offense isn't there, but I keep it out of my defense, and I feel I'm helping the team that way."

  46. Eric - May 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Agreed, NatsLady. He doesn't seem to be making any bones about how badly he's doing on offense.None of us knows the actual extent of his injuries or what is being done behind the scenes to manage them. Is it possible he's straight up lying about it? Sure.But, I trust Davey Johnson a whole helluva lot more than myself when it comes to discerning whether an injury is playing a roll in a slump.

  47. Less Platu - May 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Here's an original thought: Next Spring, can the new manager get the first string 40 more ab's than they got this spring. Davey did not have his veterans ready — no one was ready. Either the players have been negligent or management's style of being laid back is not a proper routine.

  48. Less Platu - May 30, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Eric: I do think it's immaterial whether or not Espinosa's injury is effecting his swing or not: His hitting is proof positive that either it's an injury or he can't hit.Injury or not — he is deeply hurting this team. I feel so bad for Lombo, who did So well in Espi's absence. I bet he doesn't know what else to do to play regularly for this team. I just don't understand the mind of Johnson who basically 'marries" players who will always play regardless and he buries others that ONLY play when others are hurt. Johnson is too weird for me. I don't care for his style at all.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 +0.5
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
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