Ryan Zimmerman is no stranger to the walk-off home run. Including last night, Zim has now ended a game with the long ball six times in his career. He's no stranger to the All-Star game either, having made the team last year, and last night's performance might help him get back there, as Brian McNally from the Washington Examiner notes.
Zimmerman's Washington-style lobbying effort wasn't just on the scoreboard. He performed on the field, too, during a dramatic 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres with a 3-for-4 night that included a double, a walk and two home runs - the second a game-ending bomb in the bottom of the ninth inning.
However, as McNally also points out, Zimmerman still faces an uphill climb to the mid summer classic, with Cincinnati's Joey Votto still leading the vote for the final N.L. All-Star spot.
Zimmerman's all-star situation, (either his inclusion in the final vote, or exclusion from the reserve roster, depending on how you want to look at it) seems to be a good source of motivation. After being named one of the final five finalists, Zimmerman has been able to work himself out of a slump that dogged him for much of June.
Since being named one of five finalists for the last National League spot on Sunday morning, Zimmerman is 6-for-9 with six RBI and three runs scored.
Three of those six hits have left the yard. He seems to have a pretty good attitude about it too.
"Oh yeah - I was just waiting for it to be announced so I could get hot," a sarcastic Zimmerman cracked. "No. I've been working hard the last week or so. I've been struggling for the last three weeks, four weeks, however many weeks it is and it's frustrating. Nobody wants to do that. But I've been working with [hitting coach] Rick [Eckstein] a little bit and it's finally kind of getting back to where I want to be."
He might not make the All-Star roster. In fact, he probably won't. But it looks like he is responding to the All-Star Game in a positive way. Even though he is being sarcastic, anything you can use as motivation throughout the course of a long baseball season helps. He's a player who could really help the All-Star Team win, but even if the all-star push motivates him for the second half of the season, then the N.L. team's loss could prove to be the Washington's gain.