CHICAGO - Jordan Zimmermann has had a couple solid starts since the All-Star break, throwing six scoreless against the Brewers and allowing just one run over seven innings against the Giants.
Both those strong outings have been sandwiched by a number of poor starts, which are rare to see from a starter as consistent as Zimmermann.
Tonight's five-inning, eight-run outing was the third time in seven starts since the break that Zimmermann has allowed five earned runs or more, and it was the third time he's failed to reach the sixth inning.
"I felt fine," Zimmermann said. "I just made a few mistakes tonight and made them at the wrong time. A hanging curveball and a fastball that was pretty much middle. The two home runs killed me. I can live with the solo home run or even a few base hits, but when you get guys on you've got to really buckle down and make some pitches and I wasn't able to do that tonight.
"My stuff's been good all year. Fastball's been good, slider was good tonight. Just the location was off tonight. Just the location was off tonight and something I've got to work on."
Ryan Zimmerman was pulled from tonight's game in the sixth inning with the score 8-0. He had been out of yesterday's starting lineup due to a bruised left shin and fouled a ball off his left foot tonight, but says he feels fine.
Zimmerman, like the rest of the Nats hitters, probably didn't feel fine in the batter's box against Jeff Samardzija tonight. The right-hander allowed just six hits and one run in his nine innings of work and needed just 105 pitches to notch the complete game.
"The scouting report says what he has," Zimmerman said. "He throws hard. He's starting to pitch a little bit more. He used to just kinda throw and walk some guys and starting to sink a little bit and cut a little bit, obviously a split and a slider to go with it."
"He threw the ball well today," Wilson Ramos said. "Everything down, mix it up pretty good. All the credit for him today."
Ramos was actually the lone Nationals hitter to do any real damage off Samardzija tonight; his solo homer in the seventh was a moonshot that cleared the bleachers in left field and reached Waveland Ave. It was the catcher's eighth longball of the season.
"I hit that ball well," Ramos said with a smile. "(Samardzija) told me when he come up to hit, 'You hit that ball on the end of the bat?' I said, 'No, I hit it on the barrel.' He (was) laughing. He threw the ball well. Good for him."
Ramos was asked his take on Zimmermann's struggles since the All-Star break.
"It happens in baseball," Ramos said. "Same for us. You can hit .300 and next month hit .120. Up and down. You have to be consistent. We have to keep working, keep fighting, making adjustments every time we go out there."
David DeJesus was traded from the Cubs to the Nats earlier today, and he got an at-bat against his former club in the eighth, when he pinch-hit for Fernando Abad. DeJesus got a standing ovation from the crowd at Wrigley Field, got a pat on the helmet from catcher Dioner Navarro and then tipped his cap to the fans.
"It was an honor getting that reaction from the fans," DeJesus said. "They respected the way I went out there and approached my job every day. I kind of had little shakes in my hands. I had to step out, take a deep breath and get back in there. It was a pretty cool experience.
"I think I was hoping that they were going to (applaud). But when I got there, I didn't know what to do. 'Do I tip my cap or do something crazy?' So I just tipped my cap and tried to keep it as professional as possible. I want to tell them, if you guys can get it out for me, that they're great fans. They understand good baseball and I'm happy to have been a part of the Cubs tradition."
Unfortunately for DeJesus, he was on the wrong side of this 11-1 blowout tonight, and he had to watch his former teammates put the pounding on his new team.
"It was unbelievable, because the last couple games we'd had trouble scoring. Now they put 11 up there," DeJesus said. "It's tough. It's one of those things that, I'm part of this family now. But you see your guys over there swinging the bat well, I want to wish them the best. I hope they go out there and keep playing hard. But I'm here now."