As if the later part of tonight wasn’t crazy enough, with an 85-minute rain delay which only saw about 15 minutes of rain and a 12-hour turnaround until first-pitch tomorrow, the Nationals had some theatrics go on before the game, as well.
This afternoon, while throwing a bullpen session, Chien-Ming Wang felt a little something in his hip. He was checked out by Nationals’ doctors, who determined that Wang had a hip strain and needed to be placed on the disabled list. That meant, in order to fill out their roster, the Nationals needed to activate right-hander Henry Rodriguez, who was ready to come off the DL.
Only problem was, Rodriguez couldn’t be found.
“So we’re scurrying around to find Henry, he’s going to have dinner with his wife, so I’m running around trying to find Henry,” manager Davey Johnson said with a smile after tonight’s game. “At the last minute, Henry had dinner plans and I said, ‘Well, you’ve got to cancel your dinner plans.’ And he looked disappointed.
“That was my day!”
Rodriguez ended up putting the finishing touches on the Nationals’ 9-3 win over the Giants by striking out Ryan Theriot on a 100-mph fastball to end the game.
The victory went to starter Jordan Zimmermann, who won his first start at Nationals Park in his last nine tries, dating all the way back to August 18, 2011.
And for the second straight outing, Zimmermann actually got some solid run support, as the Nats had eight runs on the board by the end of the fourth inning.
“It’s what we always do for Jordan. We give Jordan all the runs,” shortstop Ian Desmond deadpanned.
Actually, in Zimmermann’s previous eight home starts, the Nats had scored a total - a total - of 10 runs while he was in the game. They put up 11 for him his last time out in a win at Colorado and brought the bats out again today, helping Zimmermann improve to 5-6 on the season.
His ERA sits at 2.70 on the year, best among Nationals starters.
“It’s definitely huge,” Zimmermann said of the run support. “When they give you a lead like that you don’t want to let them back in the ballgame. I just went out there and threw strikes and pounded the zone, and I was able to go six tonight.
“(The offense is) starting to come around and score early and, you know, give you a little room to breathe when you’re out there.”
Zimmermann has now gone at least six innings in every one of his 16 starts this season, and has yet to allow more than four earned runs any time out. He says focusing on throwing strikes and getting early contact has allowed him to be so consistent when it comes to his outings.
His teammates are certainly noticing the performances delivered time and again by the 26-year-old righty.
“He’s a competitor, and he’s obviously the bulldog of our staff,” Desmond said. “He’s going to go out there and give the best he’s got, rain or shine. We appreciate it. That’s why it kind of hurts when we don’t score runs for him. So to do that tonight - back to back starts, actually - it’s nice. I’m sure he appreciates it.”