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Resurgent Zimmerman leads Nats to 5th straight

Sep 11, 2013, 11:52 PM EDT

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NEW YORK — Ryan Zimmerman likes to point out that over the course of 162 games, established ballplayers will produce their usual offensive numbers. But only a few weeks ago, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to doubt the Nationals third baseman would eventually get there, especially in the power department.

When the calendar shifted from August to September, Zimmerman found himself with only 15 home runs and 61 RBI to his ledger, well off the pace he has established over the first seven years of his career. Add to that his well-documented throwing issues and this was shaping up to be a wholly un-Zimmerman-like season.

But sure enough, as autumn approaches and the season winds down, here is Zimmerman going on a tear, building his numbers back up and proving himself right again. Things do have a way of balancing themselves out over 162 games.

“I’m just trying to hit the ball hard like I’ve been doing all year, and finally it’s starting to come around,” he said after clubbing yet another homer in the Nationals’ 3-0 victory over the Mets on Wednesday. “Like I tell you guys all the time: At the end of the year, usually people have what they’re supposed to have. I’ve been hot lately. Hopefully I can keep it going for these next 15-20 games.”

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  1. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    “At the end of the year, the .300 hitters will be hitting .300, and the .250 hitters will be hitting .250.”

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I still haven’t drunk the Koolaid, but a drop or two apparently splashed into my wine when I wasn’t looking. That led me to check the schedules and see who was playing whom among the playoff contenders. The Nats may have 17 games left, but the Reds have only 15, six of which are against the Pirates (including the last three of the season, at home in Ohio) and the rest against lower-division teams. The Nats, as most of us know, have three against the Braves (in DC) and three against the Cardinals (in St. Louis), plus three against the .500 Diamondbacks. You can read what you want into the other games each team plays, but after the Pirates’ sweep of the Rangers the Nats will need the Pirates to win all (or nearly all) of their games with the Reds. And I’m just hoping that — maybe, just maybe, if all the planets line up correctly — in the last weekend of the season we’ll be able to root for a Pirates sweep of the Reds and a Nats sweep of the Diamondbacks (in Arizona, mind you) that would create a play-in game into the play-in (i.e. Wild Card) game. Wouldn’t that be a fun days of baseball?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Last sentence should read: Wouldn’t that be a fun few days of baseball?

  3. Sonny G 10 - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    Stay healthy Ryan.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    None of the 3 central teams (including Cardinals) have tough schedules.

    Cardinals play: Mariners, Rockies, Brewers, Nationals, and Cubs
    Pirates play: Cubs, Padres, Reds, Cubs, and Reds
    Reds play (as Eugene noted): Brewers, Astros, Pirates, Mets, and Pirates
    Nationals: Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Cardinals, and DBacks.

    As far as schedule goes, I rate Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, and then Nationals.

    It is gonna be tough for any of these teams to collapse.

    • NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Reds are losing Cingrani (apparently), but gaining Cueto. Will be interesing to see if Cueto starts, and if he can keep from injuring himself again.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        No one knows more about Cueto than I do. I kid but that guy has put my fantasy team through some tough times because I did not drop him. I wouldn’t count on him much.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    Two consecutive seasons Mike Matheny has under-performed with Cardinals if you believe Pyth projections. Is there something to this?

  6. Baseballswami - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Just some thoughts about home run pimping– why does ATL think they are the judge and jury about these things? Young guys have coaches and teammates. Do they really need Brian McCann’s help? We are talking about the team whose fans threw trash on the field when they did not like a call. Like the Upton bros never admired a homer? That team is awfully salty for a first place team. Wish someone could have taught THEM a lesson. Self- righteous prigs. If there are rules, define them. How long can you watch the ball? How much time do you have to run the bases? I mean, seriously. Get a grip Atlanta.

    • nats106 - Sep 12, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      Your thoughts are very much on the mark. What is the common denominator here? Braves-Nationals bench clearing? .Braves-Marlins bench clearing?

      And to top it off, I’m watching Fernandez apologize for his actions. He has no reason to apologize-none whatsoever. He didn’t start it. Johnson did with whatever trash he was talking when he flew out to LF. Where is his apology? This team (Braves) lost all semblance of class that they might have had with Hudson was hurt.

      But Fernandez finished it. Good for him. He’s gained at least one fan in the DC area. Clear rookie of the year. Wearing a turquoise shirt today to show my support. I just might have to get me a Fernandez jersey for the Braves games next week.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        +1.

        I may have mentioned once or twice how much I hate the Braves. Yeah, yeah, I can see the standings from here. That was totally on Johnson barking at third, and McCann at the plate. Classless. You don’t like a pitcher you’ve been chirping at all game watching his bomb off you, then don’t hang sliders.

    • knoxvillenat - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      Swami, as I said last night in the gamer:

      knoxvillenat – Sep 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM
      Sorry Paul but to me McCann is a class A jerk. He didn’t like it when Harper supposedly pimped his home run but he had no problem when his boy, J. Upton pimped it even more the night before. I wouldn’t mind seeing some pitcher giving him the high inside fastball some AB and putting him on his backside.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    yeah i didn’t get that. didn’t gattis (another rookie, much older) do same thing earlier in the game?

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-wladimir-balentien-did-a-more-full-understanding/

    Clip won’t do well against this guy.

    • NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      LOL. Yeah, this guy could HIT the high heat. Would love to see the match up, though.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        a competition between how high Clip can throw and how high WB can swing.

  9. section309 - Sep 12, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Maybe the Barves will get into a bean brawl with Miami and make the mistake of hitting Giancarlo. That would be fun to watch. I for one will enjoy watching the Barves get eliminated in round one. As for Fenandez, sure he’s young and a bit of a punk but he backs it up with his amazing play and on a team with so little to root for he gives those poor fans in Miami something to look forward to each week.

    • nats106 - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Is Teheran pitching? Damn I hope we see him next week.

  10. natsfan1a - Sep 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    Meanwhile, it’s time for your morning Reds blog update. They’re still complaining about managerial decisions and perceived player attitudes, but now they’ve added in questioning of medical decisions. It just goes to show you, it’s always something, no matter what the standing of your team… :-)

    http://redlegnation.com/2013/09/11/titanic-struggle-recap-hey-if-you-hit-333-youre-in-the-big-leagues-right/#comments

  11. nats106 - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Freddie Garcia gets the start for the Braves today. If we face him Tuesday we better do better than last time against him. Looks like Teheran pitches Sunday so we won’t see him. Have to wait until next year.

  12. Doc - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    MEMO

    To: Davey

    From: Absentee Infield Coach

    Resist the temptation to slot in Zach Walters for Zim as a ‘defensive’ replacement in the 9th.

    Walters trotted in to field a bunt last night as if he was hiking in unknown territory. Then he picked up the ball like it was a foreign substance.

    • Jw - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Walters wasn’t a defensive replacement for Zim. He came in because Zim’s back was starting to tighten up after being hit by that throw to second.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

        Well, he did replace Zim on defense, as opposed to offense, but yes, it was because somebody had to play third, and you would rather have had Chad Tracy maybe? Nothing personal, Chad, but still.

        Zim makes that into a play because 1) he still plays in closer than Walters was, and 2) he’s Zim. FP is right, nobody does that better, certainly not Walters from a step further back, fresh in the game, nevermind the league.

    • TimDz - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      He picked up the ball and put it in his pocket because he had NO play at first. He did the right thing there.

      • NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Agree. That was an excellent bunt.

  13. flnatsfan - Sep 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    I followed the game last night on my phone…can someone explain what happened with the balk call/not a balk call?

    • NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Their pitcher “balked”, and it was called. However, the home plate ump reversed the call, saying that Span was not in the batter’s box at the time, hence, no balk, no advance.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        I.e., time was still out.

      • flnatsfan - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Thanks! They didn’t explain it in the highlight I saw…

    • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      And, amazingly, as far as we know, the original balk call was not made by Balkin’ Bob Davidson.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        No, that was Hirshbeck. There was a funny shot of him miming putting his guns back in their holsters after the play.

      • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Right. It was NOT made by Balkin’ Bob.

  14. Section 222 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Even more shocking than Fernandez’s apology was the manager’s not sticking up for him. He basically said that Fernandez was in the wrong, immature rookie mistake, and that his actions ruined the manager’s enjoyment of the game. That’s pathetic.

    As for anyone throwing at anyone as a result of this, well, you all know my views on that….

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      Haven’t seen the apology, not sure I want to at this point, but seriously, what’s the point of letting the Barves intimidate the league? If they weren’t watching home runs themselves, and throwing at anybody who doesn’t blink, it might be different, but these guys are looking like bullies. I hate bullies.

      • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        If you can catch QuickPitch, they have the apology and Redmond’s comments. I feel bad for the kid. He beat the Braves in his last start of the season (they are shutting him down), and the aftermath is all about how he screwed up.

        The Braves are thugs. At this point, I’d rather see the Cards win the pennant than the Braves. Can’t believe I said that.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        I would sooner have the DODGERS win than Atl. And I’ve been a Giants fan most of my life.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        In fact, HEY 1A — you know about these things. Are there any Marlins blogs? Maybe we could all go in there and stick up for Fernandez. Lord knows they don’t have fans to do it.

      • NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        There is a 3rd choice. I got nothing major against that LA team… I think they could knock the Barves out easy.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        I generally just do a search on “[TEAM NAME] blogs” and see what comes up.

        Sec 3, My Sofa – Sep 12, 2013 at 10:47 AM

        In fact, HEY 1A — you know about these things. Are there any Marlins blogs? Maybe we could all go in there and stick up for Fernandez. Lord knows they don’t have fans to do it.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      “Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, bear it, that the opposed may beware of thee.”

    • Jw - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      While the benches were emptied, Fernandez was shown on camera smiling and laughing in the dugout. He won’t even stand up for himself. Why should his manager stand up for him?

      • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        Fernandez was right in the middle of the scrum. McCann started jawing at him as soon as he got to home plate, and the benches cleared. You must have seen him smiling and laughing afterward.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        I think he stood up for himself pretty good, for about 400 feet or so. I’d be happy too. His team-mates whisked him off the field and handled it for him, which they should do. That has to feel good for Fernandez, too. I don’t recall anybody doing that for Carlos Zambrano. Or Hanley, toward the end there. OTOH, I don’t think Ozzie Guillen would be apologizing. So there’s that.

        His manager should stand up for him because the kid is 21, a future star, and he’s the [AB] manager. I was very disappointed in Davey not supporting Harper.

      • Jw - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        Whatever. He was obviously treating the whole affair as a joke. Why should his manager stand up for that?

  15. Doc - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Memo

    RE: Original Memo

    To: Jv & TimDz

    From: Infield Coach

    3B, the last time I checked the baseball dictionary, was a defensive position.

    Rendon would have made the play; Walters has more experience at middle infield positions, and could have been slotted in at 2B. Davey will think better about it, next time.

    Original memo stands!

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      You can’t possibly know that. Maybe Rendon would have made it into a close play, but it was a good bunt by a fast runner, not a one-hopper right at somebody.

      Fair point about Walters being more familiar with SS/2b, but in this case, h/t and get the next guy.

    • Jw - Sep 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      While it’s true Walters played defense, the reason he entered the game was as an injury substitution. The only other option would have been to double switch and use Tracy who had just pinch hit. Rendon could not have moved over from second because his replacement there, Lombo, had already been burned. So there was no opportunity for defensive upgrade along with the injury replacement. Such is life.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Just to clarify, and I realize nobody is reading this anymore, and Doc, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Doc was saying to move Rendon to third and put Walters at second. I don’t agree that would have been better, but I believe that was Doc’s idea.

  16. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I hope we get to Harang early and either Ramos doesn’t start or Davey rests him after a few innings.

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