The Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann put together another quality start Wednesday night.
A delay because the umpires were stuck in traffic was no distraction for the right-hander. He went seven innings and allowed just two runs in a 5-2 victory over the White Sox.
Did the delay at the start of the game shake his preparation?
"I had plenty enough time," Zimmermann confirmed. "They let me know pretty early. They told me to be prepared to sit around a little bit."
So what did Zimmermann do?
"Sat around," he said, drawing laughter from reporters.
Early on, it appeared the delay was going to play into the hands of the Chicago offense. The White Sox's best chance was in the first inning after Zimmermann had to wait to throw his first pitch until 7:21 p.m.
But after two hits and an RBI grounder, Zimmermann didn't allow another run until the sixth inning. In between, he held Chicago to three hits.
"Felt good," Zimmermann said of his second straight win to begin the season. "I had a real good fastball. Me and Kurt (Suzuki) just stuck with that all night. I threw a lot of fastballs inside and got a lot of broken bats. When I had to mix in some offspeed, it was pretty good. I gave up a few hits but got the ground balls when I needed them."
Zimmermann made a point to elevate the fastball in, forcing the hitters into weak swings. His control was good, too. He struck out four and did not allow a free pass. He now has allowed just three runs in 13 innings of work over two home starts.
Again, the Nationals' offense did its job in wearing down the White Sox. Like a middleweight boxer wearing down his opponent with jabs and body blows, the Nationals scored in three consecutive innings, from the fourth to the sixth. On Tuesday, the Nationals scored in five consecutive innings, from the fourth through the eighth.
That lifted Zimmerman's confidence each time he came to the mound following a run-scoring inning for the Nationals.
"It is easy to take the mound when we have the lineup we have," Zimmermann said. "Teams are going to have a hard time shutting them down all game. They will score runs sooner or later. When they score runs like that, it is a lot easier to pitch."
"He looked like Jordan," second baseman Danny Espinosa said. "He goes out there and throws strikes, throws hard. He allows the defense to play behind him. He is just aggressive and he doesn't give in to anybody."