I feel like I could copy and paste any recent blog about Jordan Zimmermann not getting run support into this space and pass it off as my latest entry.
But I wouldn’t dare do that to you. Well, maybe I would if I was a little more tired and wanted to get out of the press box quicker.
The story keeps repeating itself: Zimmermann turns in a quality start, gets minimal offensive help and gets stuck with a loss he didn’t deserve or a no-decision he shouldn’t have been stuck with. Tonight, luckily, the Nationals’ bats came alive late in the game, scoring one run in the seventh inning to tie the game, then plating two more in the eighth to overcome another deficit and earn a 3-2 win over the Astros.
It doesn’t go down as a victory next to Zimmermann’s name, but again, he pitched well enough to earn one.
“I was worried that he was going to have another great game and get an ‘L’,” manager Davey Johnson said. “And you’re right, he hasn’t been getting hardly any (run support) at all. But he keeps pitching like that, he’s going to get a whole bunch of wins. I think he’s the only one that hasn’t got a win in the starting crew. But he’s impressive.”
Johnson ended up pulling Zimmermann after seven innings despite the fact the righty had thrown just 86 pitches. He was due to come up in the bottom of the seventh with the potential go-ahead runner in scoring position, leaving Johnson with little choice but to go with a pinch hitter.
Zimmermann allowed just one run and four hits in his seven innings, giving him this ridiculous stat line through his first three starts: 21 innings, three earned runs (1.29 ERA), 13 hits, two walks, 10 strikeouts. And yet, the guy somehow has a record of 0-1.
“A win’s a win no matter how we get it,” Zimmermann said. “I just try to go out there and battle and keep the team in the game as long as I possibly can. Fortunately, I was able to go seven innings again tonight, and the bats came around late. Better late than never, I guess.”
As good as Zimmermann has been, it’s very possible that he doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves around the league. Folks outside of the D.C. area might look at the mild-mannered, quiet kid from Wisconsin and see just 12 career major league wins against 19 losses or overlook him based on the fact he pitches behind Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez in the Nats’ rotation.
But over his last 29 starts (which includes last year and this year), Zimmermann has recorded a 2.96 ERA and has a strikeout to walk ratio of over 4-to-1. Those are numbers which put him near (if not among) that top-tier of major league hurlers.
“I hope (people) underestimate him. I don’t know, I can’t speak for the rest of the teams, but I hope they underestimate him,” Jayson Werth said. “We know who he is and what he means to this team in here.”
Ryan Zimmerman had a very similar take.
“I don’t really care what other people around the league think,” the Nats’ third baseman said. “I think we value him like he should be valued. Jordan is one of those guys who comes in, gets his work done and goes about his business the right way. When it’s his day to pitch, he’s ready to go. He’s a great teammate to have, and he’s fun to play behind. He gets the ball, he goes and he throws strikes. He works quick.
“I hope the rest of the league continues to under-evaluate him so we can keep sneaking up on them with him.”