Actually, I wouldn’t really characterize space shuttle launches as “punctual”—those things were always getting pushed back and delayed!
HOUSTON — The most worn description of Jordan Zimmermann sells him woefully short. Zimmermann is consistent, yes, the same way you would call space shuttle launches punctual: The supposed compliment reduces him to something less than he is. Zimmermann overwhelms hitters, dominates games and belongs on the short list of best pitchers in the major leagues. He is, most succinctly, an ace.
Thursday night at Minute Maid Park, Zimmermann gashed through the Houston Astros, lifted the Washington Nationals to a 5-0 victory and added to his case as a potential Cy Young Award candidate. Zimmermann tied his career high with 11 strikeouts in six scoreless innings. He walked none, allowed three hits and lowered his ERA to 2.35, second in the National League. [...]
On Thursday, Zimmermann handled the heavy lifting. He dared the Astros to hit his mid-90s, four-seam fastballs. To keep them honest, he fired his devastating slider. Zimmermann threw 65 heaters, 20 sliders and only two of anything else. The Astros could not hit his best two pitches, and so he did not bother with anything else.
His simple, attacking approach overpowered Houston. The Astros swung and missed at 16 of his 87 pitches. He struck out Jose Altuve, one of the best contact hitters in baseball, lunging at a 96-mph fastball over the outside corner. In the fifth, he struck out the side in 16 pitches. [...]
The Nationals have reason to protect Zimmermann, hands down their best pitcher their season. Only Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants has a better ERA than him in the NL. Of Zimmermann 23 outings, 20 have been quality starts. He has yielded either zero or one run in eight of his past nine starts. He now has 4.35 strikeouts for every walk issued. Scroll down his stat sheet and pick any number you want.