Coming into tonight, the hitter in front of Ryan Zimmerman in the Nationals’ batting order had only been intentionally walked once since 2009.
That one time, on Sept. 3, 2011, Zimmerman responded with a walk-off homer over the Mets.
Zimmerman, after all, has been the Nats’ most fearsome hitter for some time now. There’s very rarely a reason to put a runner on base in front of him, regardless of most circumstances.
Apparently, that’s changing.
The White Sox decided to intentionally walk Bryce Harper to get to Zimmerman with two outs in the fourth inning. That put two runners on and brought Zimmerman to the plate with a chip on his shoulder.
I guess White Sox manager Robin Ventura chose not to pitch to the red-hot Harper, who is a left-handed hitter. He might’ve preferred to have the right-handed Axelrod face the right-handed-hitting Zimmerman, who was batting .222 on the season going into that at-bat.
Still, it’s a very questionable move. And Zimmerman made the White Sox pay.
Dan Haren is now done after five innings of work. It was a battle, but Haren kept his team in the game and is in line for the win.
His line: 5 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 0 BBs, 5 Ks, 101 pitches, 65 strikes.
By the way, the Nats hitter the Mets chose to intentionally walk to get to Zimmerman in that game two years ago was Roger Bernadina.
No offense to Bernadina, but that makes no sense.
Update: Break out the brooms.
The win gives the Nats the series sweep and keeps the momentum going heading into their three-game set with the rival Braves, starting tomorrow.
Soriano got the save in all three games and now has five on the season. The Nats improve to 7-2 overall.