Zimmerman’s struggles continue, Desmond’s hustle continues (updated)

Boy, Ryan Zimmerman is in a bad way right now.

The third baseman has gone 0-for-2 so far tonight, grounding out to short in the first and striking out looking in the fourth.

His average now sits at a lowly .224, the lowest it’s been since May 9.

Zimmerman has struck out in four of his last six at-bats, three of them looking. He went down on three Jason Hammel pitches in the fourth inning tonight, with strike three coming on a ball right down the middle.

He doesn’t have an extra-base hit in his last 12 games (including tonight) and is stuck on three home runs on the season.

You have to believe that right shoulder is still bothering him a good bit. You just have to.

Meanwhile, Ian Desmond continues to impress with his pure hustle. It’s what’s gotten the Nationals on the board here tonight and tied this game 1-1 in the fifth.

Desmond reached on a single leading off the top of the fifth, then got super aggressive on a Roger Bernadina grounder to third. He took second on the play, and then decided to take a shot at third with seemingly no one covering the bag.

First baseman Mark Reynolds lollypopped a throw over to third and it got away, allowing Desmond to score. It was a risky move by Desmond, and a good throw had him easily. But he forced the issue, and when Reynolds couldn’t make the play, the Nats had tied the game on the E-3.

That play was especially important given how well Hammel has pitched so far for the Orioles. He’s allowed just two hits and struck out six through five innings, and as far as I can remember, hasn’t allowed a single truly hard-hit ball all night.

Update: The game wasn’t tied for long, as Jordan Zimmermann surrendered a run in the bottom of the fifth on a J.J. Hardy double in the left-center field gap.

Luckily for Zimmermann and the Nats, the wet grass in the outfield prevented the ball from getting to the wall, which would have scored another run for sure. Brian Roberts was held at third when the Nats got in a solid relay, and he was stranded there when Chris Davis flew out to end the inning.

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