Starting to really hit their stride

Michael Morse’s first home run last night was measured at 434 feet by

Call me shocked the thing wasn’t projected to travel at least 460 feet. That ball was crushed.

It registers as Morse’s second-longest homer of the season, apparently not even coming all that close to his mammoth 465-foot blast back at Nats Park on July 20.

Outside the Mid-Atlantic region, you probably won’t hear Jordan Zimmermann’s name tossed around during many discussions about the top pitchers in baseball.

You’ll hear about the Verlanders, the Weavers, the Prices. But Zimmermann often gets overlooked.

Maybe it’s the lack of wins that he’s racked up, largely due to poor run support early in the season. Maybe it’s the fact that he pitches in a rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, three pretty big names in the baseball world. Maybe it’s that he’s not even the best-known Zimmerman(n) on his own team.

Regardless of the reason, it’s about time those outside of the nation’s capital start taking notice of what Jordan Zimmermann is doing this season.

After last night’s six-inning effort, in which he didn’t allow a single run and struck out 11, tying a career high, Zimmermann’s ERA sits at 2.35.

That’s the third-best mark in the majors, behind just Jered Weaver and Ryan Vogelsong.

zimmermann-red-throw-sidebar.jpgZimmermann’s record (9-6) is average. His stuff and location are anything but. Over his last nine starts, he’s allowed one run or fewer in eight of them.

You hope people start learning about Zimmermann sometime soon. It’s about time this guy hears his name mentioned among the league’s best hurlers, because that’s a group in which he’s proven he belongs.

All season long, we’ve talked about how the Nationals’ starting rotation will make it so that lengthy losing streaks are few and far between.

When you have this group of five starters, all of which have ERAs below 3.60, you’ve got a good chance to emerge victorious on any given day.

To that point, the Nationals’ longest losing streak of the season is five games. Only twice all year have they dropped more than three games in a row.

On the flip side, they’ve now won six in a row for the third time this season and have seven winning streaks of four or more games.

Through this most recent turn in the rotation, the Nationals’ five starters have pitched to a 1.89 ERA. They’ve allowed just 20 hits in 33 1/3 innings, walked seven and struck out a total of 34 batters.

That’s how a team ends up with the best record in the major leagues. At 69-43, the Nats are now 26 games over .500 after their four-game sweep of the Astros, find themselves at least three games above all other 29 big league teams and are on pace for 100 wins.

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