Jordan Zimmermann looking sharp early; Nationals lead Braves 1-0

Judging by manager Jim Riggleman’s comments this afternoon, Jordan Zimmermann’s status in the Nationals’ 2011 rotation doesn’t seem to be in much doubt. All the team wants to see, Riggleman said, is Zimmermann building arm strength and continuing to improve after Tommy John surgery. But if Zimmermann felt he had something to prove tonight, he’s succeeding so far against the Braves.

He’s retired the first six batters he’s faced, three of them on groundouts. The Nationals just took a 1-0 lead over the Braves on Adam Dunn’s 36th homer of the year, which landed on the grass in center field and ricocheted into the Red Porch seats.

Zimmermann’s fastball is sitting in the mid-90s, and he’s touched 96 several times already. He’s also had good bite on his curveball, and has thrown one slider amongst his first 30 pitches.

If there’s a problem so far with Zimmermann, it’s that he’s already thrown 30 pitches through three innings. The Braves have fouled off some pitches on him, and he might have to introduce his changeup eventually to keep hitters off his fastball. But his stuff looks good through two innings, and the Nationals have an early lead.
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