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Instant analysis: Phillies 6, Nats 2

Jul 11, 2014, 9:52 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: This game already wasn’t going particularly well for the Nationals when things really turned sour in the bottom of the fourth, for reasons having nothing to do with the scoreboard. Jordan Zimmermann took himself out of the game after throwing a 1-2 slider to Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, departing with an apparent injury, the extent of which won’t be made public until after the game.

With their lone All-Star in the trainer’s room, the Nationals faced a daunting task, trying to rally from four runs down against Phillies veteran A.J. Burnett. Despite some early scoring opportunities, they couldn’t make a dent in the right-hander until the slumping Bryce Harper belted a solo homer in the top of the seventh. Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI double in the eighth, but it was too little, too late.

So the Nationals dropped their second straight and missed an opportunity to retake sole possession of first place in the NL East after the Braves were walked-off by the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Now they wait to find out the extent of the injury to the man who arguably has assumed the ace role on their pitching staff.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There was one small bit of good news in this game: Harper homered in the top of the seventh, his first since pre-thumb injury in April and perhaps the big blow that will snap him out of his slump. Harper had been just 4-for-33 since coming off the DL, and had looked a bit antsy at the plate in his first two plate appearances, grounding out on the first pitch each time. But he crushed a 1-0 pitch from Burnett over the right-field fence, his first homer in three months and only his second of the season. The bad news: Harper saw a total of only five pitches in four at-bats tonight, on three occasions making an out on the first pitch he saw in a plate appearance.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Obviously, it was Zimmermann’s final pitch of the night, a 1-2 slider to Cameron Rupp that came in below the strike zone and then prompted the right-hander to wiggle his fingers, motion to the dugout with his glove and then touch his left side. Talk about the last thing the Nationals wanted to see happen, especially to their lone All-Star, only two days before he’s scheduled to fly to Minnesota for the Midsummer Classic. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known — the Nationals’ policy is not to reveal injury information until postgame — but the Nationals can only hope this isn’t something especially serious. Even if it’s not, it’s hard to imagine Zimmermann will be cleared to pitch Tuesday night at Target Field.

KEY STAT: Jordan Zimmermann has made 116 starts without going on the DL since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2010.

UP NEXT: The series continues Saturday night when Stephen Strasburg faces Cole Hamels in a star-studded matchup. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. on Fox.

  1. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Don’t have anything positive to say about this one… Just hope Jordan’s injury isn’t real serious…

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  2. ehay2k - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Soft tossers give us problems, have for a few seasons. Need to get the skinny on Jordan

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    • Danny - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Burnett throws 93.. Hearing JZimm has a bicep cramp.

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      • ehay2k - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Burnett throws a lot of off speed pitches. We can’t hit a curveball.

      • unkyd59 - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:20 PM

        Knuckle curve…(grumblegrumble)…

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann left tonight’s game with a right bicep cramp, per Nats Manager Matt Williams. Expected to get a precautionary MRI tmrw.

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  4. David Proctor - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    I always worry about these initial diagnoses. Serious injuries are almost never diagnosed as such immediately. It’s always a cramp or god forbid “tightness.” We’ll see what the MRI says, but not out of the woods yet. Hoping for the best.

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    • Hiram Hover - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      Right. They do make diagnoses of a minor problem plenty of times, and it turns out to be minor, and we quickly forget it. But when they get it wrong, we remember.

      Hopefully, this turns out to be one of those times when they’re right, and we quickly forget.

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      • David Proctor - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:22 PM

        I don’t even mean the Nats. I think the constant criticism of the training staff is overboard because it happens a lot. It’s just that, with UCL injuries in particular, the first symptom is often diagnosed as “forearm tightness” or the like until an MRI reveals the tear. It’s the correct diagnosis at the time, it’s just incomplete.

        But, sometimes it really is just a cramp or tightness. Hopefully this is the case.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        Yes – agree about the criticisms sometimes being overboard. I wasn’t singling out the Nats medical staff or Nats fans. Happens with every club, and with every club’s fans.

  5. David Proctor - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 17s
    “I don’t think it’s anything major, to be honest with you.” — Jordan Zimmermann

    I hope he is right. Of course, Harper said the same thing and had a torn UCL in his thumb.

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  6. secretwasianman - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Listening to phillies radio XM driving home. They are good announcers. They were baffled why the Nats are only 7 games above .500 with this roster.

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    • David Proctor - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      It’d help if we had that roster on the field at any point before the past 2 weeks

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      • secretwasianman - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        I agree. But some of these guys are poor situational hitters

  7. secretwasianman - Jul 11, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    91 games and this team still hasn’t taken off. They might be in first but 49 and 42 is nothing to right home about. Your not going to win consistently with Espi, Harper ( ok so he homered) and the pitchers spot , not to mention the league leader in Ks in your lineup every night. Plus pinch hitters batting 160

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    • veejh - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Patience, SWM, patience.

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      • scmargenau - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        Not much time left. And even if we win the div those are valid point and concerns. We need a power hitter and a real 2b. We thought Bryce would be our hitter, but so far he’s a hole. 5/30 1hr ugh

  8. Nats fool - Jul 11, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    FP alluded to us having too many swing-and-miss hitters as the reason we can’t take off. Just a nice way of saying no plate discipline. You really don’t win this way. It takes all the pressure off the pitcher. We need to make a deal for a bat pronto.

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  9. rabbit433 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Nationals are just not a consistent team. Definitely not getting positive vibes from them. They are running a super max just to stay around .500.

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    • secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      Well spoken. Mediocrity at its finest.

      Reply Report comment
      • rayvil01 - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Since when did first place qualify as “mediocrity?”

      • scmargenau - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Umm, mediocrity is a fair term for this team. First place means nada if division is mediocre….

        I agree, moves need to be made. A true power hitter and a 2b… But who’s out there?

      • secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Alltuve for Harper. Mclouth to left. Thing bring Sousa up for power

  10. coollikelivo - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    Mark – there is nothing “arguable” about JZimm being our ace, it is simply the fact.

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  11. micksback1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    take away Bryce’s homer, his other at bats were just terrible, swinging at first pitch means a hitter is clueless. I am one can’t swing at the first pitch, but every at bat.

    what is comical is how FP and Bobby C tries to sugar coat Bryce’s failures with a stupid 107 mph graph of homerun speed, seriously???

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    • secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Great point Mick. This team can’t hit. I am so sick of FP saying this lineup intimidates people. What a joke. These guys can only hit average to worse pitchers. I think back to Mondays game. All they needed was the ball in play and Desmond swings at garbage followed by Ramos.

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  12. secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Our power hitter plays for the Giants. Sorry, had to do it. ” Take on meeeeeeeeeeee”

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    • micksback1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      lol

      also, is it just me or is Stammen someone who you would never want to see pitch in a playoff game that was tied?

      Reply Report comment
      • secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        Not wasting time beating up the pitching. Was as Crackmore Thursday and watched about 50 guys stranded.

      • secretwasianman - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        Like the Redskins MW plays guys based on who they are and what they should do. Bryce Sucks. And needs to be benched or sent down. Try somebody else. With Bryce, Espi and the pitchers spot your looking at Least 9 automatic outs every game.

  13. micksback1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    you may be right, let’s give Bryce until Aug 1

    that is more thn fair

    Reply Report comment
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