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Monday, June 09, 2014

Kilgore - Did Jordan Zimmermann throw the best start in Nationals history?

Two Ns if you please!

Zimmermann has turned any worry about his performance into a quaint relic. He has thrown 17 scoreless innings in June. Sunday, he fired a 12-strikeout, two-hit shutout at the Padres. How is this for improvement: By one objective measure, it stands as the best start in Nationals history.

The linked article has a tabulation of the 16 best game score outings by Nationals pitchers.

boteman Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:47 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, pitchers

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   1. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 09, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4721686)
His command seemed just a little off for most of this season, but it looks like it's now back with a vengeance.

When a guy is hitting the glove like he's hitting the bulls-eye on a dartboard the way Zimmermann was yesterday, it's a joy to watch.
   2. Chris Needham Posted: June 09, 2014 at 09:00 AM (#4721688)
It's pretty amazing that, with as many injuries and terrible performance by those fill-ins, this team is in first place. They've had a relatively soft schedule for a month or so and they (because of those injuries and weaknesses) didn't really rip through it like we thought they could've. Still, there are two other good, but flawed teams. Soemtimes it's less important that you be good, and more important who your opponents are. It's sort of like the old joke about only needing to run faster than your friend when the bear comes charging.

September's definitely going to be interesting!
   3. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 09, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4721717)
This week we're going to find out something about what this team is made of. It might be the toughest week of the entire season.
   4. Bourbon Samurai Posted: June 09, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4721760)
Lots of John Patterson on that list!
   5. Batman Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4721777)
He's second behind Bill Stoneman if you include the Expo years. Zimmerman's is the only WSN start in the top ten for the combined MON/WSN rankings.

Incredibly, two of the games on this were thrown this weekend, which may be a testament to that Padres offense.
The Padres had one hit in their last game before starting the Nationals series.
   6. Chris Needham Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4721778)
"if you include the Expo years."

Why would we do something crazy like that?
   7. Moeball Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4721820)
I was at the game Sunday.

Yes, Zimmerman looked in command. It might have also had something to do with the lineup he faced - here's the slash lines(BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

1)E Cabrera .232/.264/.323/.587
2)S Smith .301/.402/.532/.934
3)C Quentin .213/.333/.362/.695
4)C Headley .199/.279/.327/.606
5)Y Alonso .210/.256/.346/.602
6)Y Grandal .183/.267/.358/.625
7)C Maybin .291/.330/.427/.757
8)A Amarista.200/.267/.276/.543

Up against this collection of rotting lumber, no wonder opposing pitchers are threatening to toss no-hitters just about every game.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4721847)
1)E Cabrera .232/.264/.323/.587
2)S Smith .301/.402/.532/.934
3)C Quentin .213/.333/.362/.695
4)C Headley .199/.279/.327/.606
5)Y Alonso .210/.256/.346/.602
6)Y Grandal .183/.267/.358/.625
7)C Maybin .291/.330/.427/.757
8)A Amarista.200/.267/.276/.543


Ach! My eyes!
   9. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4721851)
Serves them right for trading away Adrian Gonzalez for a steaming pile.
   10. Batman Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4721852)
Maybin had 102 plate appearances before he drove in a teammate. He's now driven in two in 109 PA. He does have a solo HR.
   11. Danny Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4721856)
July 11, 2003: Traded by the Florida Marlins with Will Smith (minors) and Ryan Snare to the Texas Rangers for Ugueth Urbina.

January 6, 2006: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young to the San Diego Padres for Billy Killian (minors), Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.

December 6, 2010: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later, Reymond Fuentes, Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo. The Boston Red Sox sent Eric Patterson (December 16, 2010) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.

August 25, 2012: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for players to be named later, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney and Allen Webster. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Rubby De La Rosa (October 4, 2012) and Jerry Sands (October 4, 2012) to the Boston Red Sox to complete the trade.

The Padres got much more for Gonzalez than the Marlins or Rangers did, though they should have held onto Rizzo.
   12. TerpNats Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4721861)
Yes, Zimmerman looked in command.
Someday, Jordan will be so much in command that people will realize his last name ends with two "n's."
   13. boteman Posted: June 09, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4721918)
Here's a look at the recent performance of the entire Nationals pitching staff for the past couple weeks from a heartless automaton. Worth a read for the statistically inclined.

By the way, reports before yesterday's game were that Zimmermann "felt bad" in the bullpen warming up. Here's to hoping that he feels just as bad before each start the rest of the year if this is the kind of performance he can turn in when feeling like that!
   14. theboyqueen Posted: June 09, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4721923)
Seth Smith! In that ballpark!

But wow that is a bad lineup.
   15. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4721943)
I stand corrected, Anthony Rizzo in fact did turn out to be quite good. And of course they don't have him now either.
   16. AROM Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4721970)
1)E Cabrera .232/.264/.323/.587
2)S Smith .301/.402/.532/.934
3)C Quentin .213/.333/.362/.695
4)C Headley .199/.279/.327/.606
5)Y Alonso .210/.256/.346/.602
6)Y Grandal .183/.267/.358/.625
7)C Maybin .291/.330/.427/.757
8)A Amarista.200/.267/.276/.543


The pitcher, Eric Stults, is 1 for 14 on the year.

Had it been last year's version of Andrew Cashner (245/259/321, 2-2 in steal attempts) the pitcher might have been at the top of the order.
   17. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 09, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4722127)
Zimmermann named the N.L. player of the week.
   18. Moeball Posted: June 09, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4722222)
I stand corrected, Anthony Rizzo in fact did turn out to be quite good. And of course they don't have him now either.


The usual thing for a fan to think whenever a player is traded away and performs well for someone else is “gee, we should have been patient and hung on to that guy so that his good years would come playing for our team”.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that would have actually happened with Rizzo had the Padres kept him.
When he was first called up in 2011, there were two distinct phases to his performance:

1)His first 3 games with the team at Petco (against Washington), whereupon he started off his major league career by going:
A)1 for 2 with a triple and 2 walks in his debut game on June 9
B)0 for 1 but with 2 walks in his second game
C)2 for 4 with a double and including his first career HR in game #3

That’s 3 for 7 with a double, triple and HR plus 4 walks in his first 3 games – at Petco Park, no less! I was at those games and we were all very excited at this promising start to his career!

2)Then came the rest of the season – in his remaining 46 games he went 15 for 121 with 7 doubles, zero triples, zero HRs. At least he walked 17 times (with 3 HBP), but these are dismal numbers: .124 BA, .248 OBP, .182 SLG. From a first baseman. His OPS+ was under 50. It was by far the worst performance of any first baseman in the majors over the last part of the season. Yes, there were pitchers hitting better than he was.

Once the slump started, he couldn’t seem to get out of it and his numbers just plummeted. It appeared that he was especially pressing on the road trips as he figured he wasn’t going to boost his stats at home so he better get the good numbers on the road trips. Except, strangely enough, he was hitting a little better at home than on the road. I think he just mentally got it in his head that he couldn’t hit well playing at Petco, even if that wasn’t what was really killing his stats. With that kind of mental block (one that many of his teammates shared and still struggle with to this day – they keep moving the fences in further mainly due to complaints from the Padres batters, yet opposing teams keep out-homering them in their own park), I don’t think Rizzo was ever going to hit well while playing for the Padres so it was probably best that they try to deal him for something worthwhile.

In a decade of watching the Padres struggle offensively in this park, I have come to the following conclusion: On the rare occasions when you get a player who can still put up good numbers even playing at Petco – one who doesn’t seem psyched out by his own park – Adrian Gonzalez comes to mind – you should pay whatever it takes to keep that player. They cannot be replaced; they are far too rare.

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