ST. LOUIS - It didn’t really matter who was on the mound for the Nationals today.
Four of the seven Nats pitchers gave up at least a run. All but Ryan Mattheus allowed at least a baserunner.
The Cardinals teed off this afternoon, jumping out big and not easing up.
“They have a great lineup. It’s tough,” said Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann. “You get a few guys out, then you look up and you’ve got (Carlos) Beltran coming up, (David) Freese. It just never stops. Their lineup, you just have to make your pitches, and I wasn’t able to do that tonight.”
Zimmermann went just three innings today, tied for the shortest outing of his career. He gave up hits to the first four hitters he faced in the second inning, and put the Nats in a 4-1 hole.
“I just didn’t make any pitches,” Zimmerman said. “When you’re off a little bit and you’re missing some spots and falling behind then you have to come across the middle, it’s going to be a long day.”
If you’re wondering about whether the big stage affected Zimmermann at all, the answer is no. The righty was pitching in his first postseason game, but he says he didn’t feel any extra weight on him because of the magnitude of his start.
“I knew the crowd was going to be wild, and they were pretty wild the whole game,” Zimmermann said. “I didn’t have any nerves at all. You would’ve seen something in the first inning if I had nerves. I did a pretty good job there. I kinda zoned them out. The only thing I could tell anyone else if it’s there first time is that it’s going to be loud and the crowd’s pretty crazy.”
Zimmermann didn’t seem too down on himself after the game. He kept his head up, spoke confidently and gave the Cardinals credit for putting up the numbers that they did.
But that doesn’t mean Zimmermann isn’t pretty disappointed with the outing he delivered tonight.
“It’s definitely tough,” he said. “I wanted to go out there and go deep into the game and try to get out of here with two wins. I didn’t do my part. I feel like if the starter doesn’t go out and do their part, it kind of snowballs with the relievers sometimes, and that’s kind of what happened today.”
It sure did. Craig Stammen came in to relieve Zimmermann in the fourth, and retired just one of the five batters he faced.
“You’ve got to handle the bottom of their lineup and you’ve got to be able to get(Jon) Jay out so that they’re not on base for the big guys,” Stammen said. “And today, we didn’t get any of those guys out.”