On Zimmermann, Rendon, Espinosa and Owings

After three long days, my jury duty is complete, this following more than 7 1/2 hours of deliberation last night that caused me to miss another Nationals game.

I’m all done now, however, and am ready to get back into the flow this afternoon as the Nats wrap up their three-game series with the Diamondbacks and then head up to New York for three against the Mets.

While I didn’t get to see last night’s 3-2 Nats win, I’m studying the box score right now.

Here’s what it tells me: Jordan Zimmermann and Anthony Rendon continue to dominate.

Zimmermann picked up his 11th win last night, tied for most in the majors. His ERA actually rose from 2.26 to 2.28 after the right-hander allowed two runs over seven innings last night, although his WHIP dropped to 0.916, fourth-best in the majors.

To this point in the season, Zimmermann has made 16 starts. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in 13 of them, including all nine starts at Nats Park.

Rendon, meanwhile, picked up another multi-hit game last night, his 10th in 18 games since his most recent call-up. It’s also the fifth time in the Nats’ last six contests that Rendon has recorded a multi-hit game.

He’s hitting .354/.402/.485 on the season and a ridiculous .392/.416/.554 since finding himself back in a big league lineup on June 5.

Danny Espinosa’s numbers at Triple-A Syracuse are not quite at that level. In fact, Espinosa is struggling so mightily that you have to feel bad for the guy.

In 14 games with the Chiefs, Espinosa is just 5-for-47 (.106) with 29 strikeouts. In other words, Espinosa has struck out in 62 percent of his at-bats at the Triple-A level.

Of his five hits, just one has been for extra bases. He has a .173 on-base percentage, a .128 slugging percentage and has multi-strikeout games in nine of his last 10 contests.

At this point, as bad as this sounds, you almost have to hope something is physically wrong with Espinosa. You hate to think that this has become something mental, that Espinosa is fighting himself when he’s in the batter’s box.

If it’s the torn rotator cuff that’s bothering Espinosa - which he insisted was a non-issue during his time with the Nats this season - or if it’s the bone chip in the right wrist, these struggles would be understandable. Espinosa could get those issues worked on either during the season or over the winter, and come back healthy and ready to go next spring.

If it’s something else, something mechanical that he can’t seem to fix or something mental that is affecting him, it could be a bigger issue.

On a more cheerful note, it’s worth pointing out that pitcher-turned-position player Micah Owings is really starting to put up some solid numbers at Syracuse lately. In the Chiefs’ doubleheader yesterday, Owings went a combined 5-for-6 with two homers, a double and three RBIs.

On the season, Owings is hitting .269/.311/.487 with eight homers and 30 RBIs, but in his last 10 games, that slash line is an impressive .370/.393/.815.

The strikeouts (67 in 55 games) and on-base percentage would concern scouts, but this is a process for Owings. It’ll take time for him to fine-tune his swing and approach and get used to seeing how pitchers attack him. This recent surge is obviously a good sign, and if Owings can continue to improve, he certainly has the pop to interest teams at the big league level, whether it’s the Nats or someone else.

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