Jordan Zimmermann has been so good over the past month or so that a night like last night, where he allows six runs in just five innings of work, feels like a real disappointment. If you felt that way, you weren't the only one. Nationals manager Davey Johnson was a little bummed about it too. But according to Ben Goessling of MASN, he was more upset about how Zimmermann handled the little things.
The thing that bothered me the most that whole ball game, I'm not one over my whole career with good young pitchers, good arms, I've got a couple guys in scoring position, I've got a base open, if he gets ahead of the guy I don't expect him to make bad pitches. I expect him to - the hitter's gotta hit a pitch off the plate and a nasty pitch. He hung a slider right down the middle, it was flat, drove in a run and the squeeze didn't cover first. Those things upset me. I thought he battled and maybe he didn't have his best stuff. But one thing when you got two strikes on a hitter, you don't just give him a cookie.
The real odd thing about these comments is that they came in response to a question about whether or not Zimmermann being hit affected him at all. He went kind of off topic just to spear Zimmermann on his effort. I'm not saying it was unjustified, Zimmermann didn't have his best stuff or effort, but it does seem a bit odd to lampoon him in this fashion.
After the Houston Astros put up a crooked number in the fourth inning and took a 6-2 lead it looked like curtains for the Washington Nationals. Eventually it was, but the Nationals made a noble effort to erase the mistakes of starter Jordan Zimmermann in a 7-6 loss to Houston.
In the top of the sixth inning Jerry Hairston Jr. put the Nats within two by hitting a two-run homerun. It was the second two-run shot of the night for the Nationals as Michael Morse put one for two over the wall in the third inning. Later shortstop Ian Desmond would add an RBI single and Morse would score in the seventh after Wilson Ramos hit into a double play. Ramos had a particularly rough night going 1-for-5 with a strikeout and stranded six of the 15 men the Nationals left on base.
In the end, reliever Todd Coffey gave up the winning run for Houston in the sixth when Michael Bourn hit an RBI single and the Astros bullpen shutdown the Nats offense the rest of the game. Zimmermann gave up six runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out five in five innings of work. It is a performance he will probably look to forget.
The Nationals fall to 48-49 and back into fourth place in the NL East behind the New York Mets.
Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann is having problems in Houston. Usually such a term is meant for the space industry, but at Minute Maid Park the Houston Astros have started to blow Zimmermann into orbit. The Astros put together a four-run fourth inning to put them in the lead 6-2 going into the fifth.
Zimmermann was doing well up until the fourth. The only snag came in the second inning when he was tagged by Clint Barnes for a two-run homerun. However, the Nationals answered back in the third with a two-run dinger of their own from Michael Morse. It is the 17th homerun of the season for Morse.
The wheels came off the caboose in the fourth for ZImmermann. After striking out Hunter Pence, Zimmermann gave up four straight hits and a double after a sac bunt helped give the Astros a commanding lead. The Nationals have only been able to get four hits off Astros pitcher J.A. Happ.
Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann (6-7, 2.66 ERA) is set to go against the Houston Astros and J.A. Happ (3-11, 5.76 ERA) on Tuesday night in game two of a three game series in Houston. The Nationals took the first game at Minute Maid Park on Monday night by the score of 5-2 and have beaten the Astros in four straight meetings.
Zimmermann has been put on a 160 inning limit and currently sits at 115. This mean he roughly has seven starts left in 2011 and the young, rising ace will look to make the most of it and get the Nats their fifth straight victory against the Stros. Once again Houston is throwing out a struggling pitcher in Happ who is tied for most major league losses this season and has dropped seven straight.
Second baseman Danny Espinosa will take over lead off position duties on Tuesday night and Jerry Hairston Jr. returns to the starting line-up to play left field after coming off the DL on Monday. Manager Davey Johnson grew up about 200 miles west of Houston so he will have family in attendance tonight to watch him steer his new crew from D.C.