VIERA, Fla. - For most of his short career with the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann has alternated moments of brilliance with games where he labors to get outs. His last start was the former, and today is the latter.
Zimmermann has given up four runs in two innings, allowing six hits and a walk, and the Nationals trail the Mets 4-0.
There's no question Zimmermann has the best stuff on the Nationals' staff, but my concern with him all along has been consistency; if his fastball flattens out or he struggles to locate it, he can run up his pitch count early. He's only posted back-to-back quality starts once in the majors, and his five-inning shutout performance last week against the Tigers was sandwiched between his March 18 outing, in which he gave up six runs in four innings, and today's struggles. If anything is preventing him from becoming the pitcher he's supposed to be, it's consistency.
The Nationals have had a rough day in the field, too. Danny Espinosa made an error in the second inning, and Jerry Hairston and Michael Morse let a ball fall between them in the first. Morse also failed to track down an Ike Davis double a minute ago, but he did make a nice catch on Brad Emaus' fly ball.
And in the second inning, they loaded the bases on an Adam LaRoche walk, a Hairtson single and an impressive bunt from Danny Espinosa that went for a single when the second baseman hustled down the line and beat it out. But when Zimmermann lofted a fly ball about halfway between the infield and the left field fence, third base coach Bo Porter held up LaRoche at third. Ian Desmond grounded out on the next at-bat, and the inning was over.