The Nationals are at the 90-win mark. One more and they’ve locked up a postseason spot, marking the first time since 1933 that there will be a playoff baseball team in D.C.
But again, the Nats insist they don’t have eyes set on clinching a Wild Card spot. Their goal is the NL East title, and their magic number to lock up the division now sits at nine.
“The only thing that’s going to mean anything to me is when we clinch the pennant,” manager Davey Johnson said. “That’s the only number I’m concerned about. It’s down to nine and that’s good. We can get it down to eight (tonight), go from there. And whatever number that is, that’s going to be my favorite number.”
Jordan Zimmermann got his 11th win of the season after going six innings and allowing just one run. Those numbers might be a little deceiving considering Zimmermann put seven runners on over his first three innings and was working out of the stretch for much of the game, but he got the outs when he needed them and settled down later on.
His starts on extended rest this season haven’t been stellar, and coming into this outing on seven days rest left him off kilter a bit early.
“I was a little out of sync,” Zimmermann said. “The last three innings, I felt much better and I was able to control everything. It was definitely good to get a win. The infielders did a great job, played some great defense today.”
Zimmermann’s numbers have dropped off recently, but he insisted that today’s outing - especially the latter few innings - didn’t really reassure him that he still can deliver the type of performance he expects.
“I felt fine the whole time,” he said. “I was just nibbling a little bit and missing some pitches. I stayed more on the plate tonight, and when I do that I get some quick outs and some early contact. That’s what I want to do.”
The Nats manufactured their three runs, bringing them in on a sac fly and two RBI groundouts.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take what you get,” Kurt Suzuki said. “(Aaron) Harang did a good job of not really leaving anything over the plate. He kept the ball down and out of the zone a lot, so just try to string some hits together and not try to do too much.”
Danny Espinosa made it through Game 1 OK health-wise, and he tried to negotiate with Johnson to work his way into the Game 2 lineup. That wasn’t happening.
“I told him I want him the rest of the year so he can come sit by me (for Game 2),” Johnson said. “We’ve got a good replacement in (Steve Lombardozzi). I’m glad he came through that game all right and that’s good. Big.”
For the Nats:
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Jesus Flores
P John Lannan
For the Dodgers:
2B Mark Ellis
LF Shane Victorino
CF Matt Kemp
1B Adrian Gonzalez
SS Hanley Ramirez
RF Andre Either
3B Luis Cruz
C Matt Treanor
P Josh Beckett