The cortisone shot continues to work wonders for Ryan Zimmerman.
Since getting a pain-killing injection in his inflamed right shoulder 10 days ago, Zimmerman is batting .369 with four home runs, five doubles and 16 RBIs.
Today, he notched a run-scoring double in the third and a two-run homer in the fifth, a ball which was absolutely smoked over the right-center field fence.
Is it fair to assume the cortisone shot is the lone reason for this dramatic increase in production of late?
“It was a lot of that,” Zimmerman said. “I was banged up for a while there. When you try to play through things, sometimes it doesn’t allow you to do the things you’ve been doing. And sometimes that leads to other things. It’s definitely a lot better when you show up to the park every day and you feel healthy.”
The big names weren’t the only ones to produce offensively for the Nationals today. Zimmerman had three RBIs and All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond had two, but rookie catcher Jhonatan Solano continued a torrid start to his major league career with a 2-for-4 day which included a homer to right-center.
The Onion is now batting .393 on the season and has five extra-base hits and six RBIs in just 28 at-bats.
“It’s exciting, especially with this lineup,” Solano said. “I like to see everyone happy because I help out the team to get the win.
“It’s good, you know. I feel great right now because everyone’s playing good. It’s a little pressure, but I try to do everything good because I don’t want to look like, ‘Oh, he’s the only guy who’s not doing it.’”
Is there any particular reason why Edwin Jackson has struggled so mightily in the first inning this season and been so effective after it? Jackson doesn’t think so.
“Some of it can be just (the opposing team) hitting the ball,” Jackson said. “Some of it just not hitting spots. It’s been a little bit of everything. It hasn’t been one particular thing. There’s been games where I hit my spots and still give up runs in the first inning. Been games when it’s a matter of one pitch. Just (need to focus on) coming out and being aggressive from the start.”
Jackson’s pitched in a lot of really low-scoring ballgames this season and failed to earn wins numerous times even when he delivered a quality start. Today, Jackson didn’t give a quality start (at least, not by the statistics, which require a starter to work at least six innings and allow three or fewer runs), but his offense gave him plenty of backing.
“It’s definitely great when you have that offensive support where you can battle and keep the game close,” Jackson said. “The last few games, the last week or so, we’ve been swinging it real well. It’s no secret to us in here. We know what these guys are capable of. The last week or so they’ve been showing what they can really do.”
Jackson nearly added to that offensive support himself when he sent a deep fly ball to left field in the fourth inning. The crowd reacted like they thought it was going to leave the yard, and Jackson’s teammates came to their feet in the dugout, only to see the ball fall into the glove of Melky Cabrera on the warning track.
The Nats starter was rewarded with a standing ovation when he came back towards the dugout and his teammates gathered around to give him some playful pats on the back.
“Gotta hit the weight room,” Jackson said of his oh-so-close fly ball. “Gotta hit the weight room a little bit.”