Washington Nationals 3 Atlanta Braves 2...
Jordan Zimmermann's MLB debut with the Washington Nationals ended over five hours after it was originally scheduled to start with the 22-year-old right-hander earning his first major league win in the 3-2 DC victory over Atlanta.
After rain delayed the start of Monday night's game for over two hours, Zimmermann took the mound in Nationals Park just after nine o'clock and matched Braves' starter Derek Lowe with three scoreless frames before giving up a leadoff triple to Chipper Jones in the fourth and making his first big mistake of the night, (with two down, mind you), on an 0-2 fastball to Matt Diaz which ended up high in the zone and then over the wall in left center for a two-run blast and a 2-0 Braves' lead.
The Nationals' offense picked Zimmermann up in the home half of the fourth, however, with Elijah Dukes and Jesus Flores both knocking in runs, and Washington took the lead two innings later after Zimmermann had retired the Braves in the fifth and sixth and Flores had knocked in Eljah Dukes for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame. The Nationals brought out reliever Kip Wells, who pitched a scoreless seventh, and left-hander Joe Beimel, who had recorded two outs in the eighth when the rain clouds returned...
...Just before midnight, the teams were back on the field, and DC reliever Garrett Mock needed just two pitches to record the final out of the Braves' eighth. When Washington failed to add to the lead, the Nationals sent closer "Wild" Joel Hanrahan out to the hill in the top of the ninth, in spite of the fact that he'd blown two-straight save opportunities this past weekend against the Marlins, and Hanrahan rewarded the Nationals' faith by quickly and effectively (with the exception of a one-out walk) dispatching the Atlanta Braves' batters to close out Jordan Zimmermann's first major league "W".
Jordan Zimmermann - (W, 1-0), 3.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K's, 71 Pitchers, 51 Strikes, 9 GO, 5 FO.
The Nationals' #1 Prospect...
ESPN.com's Keith Law described Jordan Zimmermann as a "classic four-pitch pitcher" when he listed the Nationals' '07 2nd Round draft pick as the 42nd best prospect in baseball on Mr. Law's "Top 100 Prospects" list for 2009, and the ESPN.com analyst pointed to Zimmermann's "plus command" of his "90-94 mph four-seamer", "mid-80's slider", tight curve and change, as the reasons for his inclusion on the list.
Most impressive tonight was Zimmermann's fastball which he dialed up a few times, hitting 95 and even 96 mph on the radar gun throughout the evening, coming up and inside to several hitters who couldn't catch up and were often chasing it out of the zone, and when he followed the fastball with a slider 7-10 miles slower, and a curve which he struggled to locate, but used to get one particularly memorable K from Larry "Chipper" Jones, Zimmermann looked every bit the part of a major league pitcher.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson stayed up all night to report on the win, and Mr. Ladson quoted DC catcher Jesus Flores who said that Zimmermann, "...has tremendous command with his pitches (and) threw the ball very well today." DC Manager Manny Acta is quoted in the article praising the debuting starter's efforts especially in consideration of the fact that, "...this was not the nicest day to play baseball."
Washington Times' writer Mark Zuckerman's article entitled, "Zimmermann picks up first big-league win", quoted the victorious 22-year-old pitcher who said, "I couldn't ask for a better start...I mean getting the win, pitching against the Braves...just a great day." Mr. Zuckerman points to the DC Manager Manny Acta's long held belief in, "letting a young starter depart on a high note" as the reasoning behind lifting Zimmermann after he'd completed the sixth, and the Manager's move payed off tonight as the newly-reconstructed DC Bullpen was able to preserve the lead and save Zimmermann's first major league win.
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
Check Out Last Night's Federal Baseball.com GameThread HERE
(Due To Tonight's Late Finish...Tomorrow's Game Thread Will Be Up Late In The Afternoon...Here's A Preview...)
Nationals now 2-10. Zimmermann now (1-0).
The first pitch of Jordan Zimmermann’s MLB career is a 95mph strike to Kelly Johnson, and Johnson flies out on the second pitch. Yunel Escobar grounds weakly to left. A pop fly to short from Chipper Jones ends a scoreless first frame for the Nationals’ newest starter...Anderson Hernandez gets gunned by Yunel Escobar on a weak ground ball to short. Nick “Two-Spot” Johnson lines out to Chipper Jones at third. Ryan Zimmerman gets called out on a fastball on the outside edge in his first at bat as the Nationals’ $45 Million Dollar man...
Casey Kotchman legs out a double on a short fly to right field. Jordan Zimmermann puts a slider in the dirt, Kotchman tries for third and gets nailed by Jesus Flores, one down. Jeff Francoeur swings over a two-strike slider outside. Matt Diaz singles up the middle and takes second on Elijah Dukes’ slow approach. Jordan Schafer vs Jordan Zimmermann. Schafer golfs one to right, Dunn comes in and makes the grab....Adam Dunn grounds into the dramatic shift. Dukes get called out on strikes, (the Ump likes the outside corner), Josh Willingham grounds to short, two scoreless in the books.
ATL catcher David Ross lines a fastball to left for a leadoff single. Derek Lowe pops up a bunt, Nick Johnson waits for it to fall and throws out Ross at second. Kelly Johnson drops another single over the right side of the infield. Yunel Escobar grounds to short, Alberto Gonzalez steps and throws to Nick Johnson, double play to end the inning...Jesus Flores rips a single up the middle to start the DC third. Alberto Gonzalez flies out unproductively after a long at bat. Jordan Zimmermann gets down a successful sac bunt. Anderson Hernandez lines out to short...
Chipper Jones sneaks a sharp grounder under Nick Johnson at first and a horrendous play by Dunn/rain-soaked field in right turns it into a triple. Zimmermann pops Casey Kotchman up over the infield. Jeff Francoeur grounds to second, Chipper stays put as Anderson Hernandez throws to first. Zimmermann challenges Diaz with an 0-2 fastball and pays for it, Diaz goes deeeeep to left and GONE!! 2-0 ATL. Jordan Schafer down swinging, 2-0 Braves...Nick Johnson uses his Discerning Eye for a leadoff walk. Ryan Zimmerman goes the other way with an outside fastball for a single to right. Adam Dunn flies out to deep left center, both runners move up. Elijah Dukes waits on a fastball and lines it to right for an RBI single, 2-1 Braves. Josh Willingham gets the intentionals to bring up Jesus Flores. Flores flies deep to left and...Diaz makes the grab, Zimmerman tags and scores, 2-2 ballgame. Alberto Gonzalez flies out to right to end the inning.
Zimmermann walks David Ross to start the fifth. Lowe tries to bunt and pops it up, Nick Johnson throws to first, Anderson Hernandez chases Ross, but the throw to second bounces off the runner, who collides with Alberto Gonzalez, and gets tagged out off the bag. (Read it again, go ahead...)...Zimmermann pops up Kelly Johnson to end the top of the fifth...Zimmermann grounds out to short. Anderson Hernandez works a one-out walk in front of “Two-Spot” Johnson. Johnson sneaks a single through short. Ryan Zimmerman grounds to short, Escobar to K. Johnson to Kotchman, double play.
Zimmermann’s back for the sixth. Yunel Escobar grounds out to Anderson Hernandez at second. Zimmermann drops a two-strike bender on Chipper Jones for the swinging K. Casey Kotchman grounds to second, Zimmermann’s through six...Adam Dunn rips a 1-0 pitch out to Diaz in left. Elijah Dukes beats out a rain-soaked grounder to short that Yunel Escobar bobbles. Josh Willingham rips a ground ball by Chipper, Dukes goes first to third and there are two on for Jesus Flores. WWJD? Flores singles through short, Dukes scores, 3-2 Nationals. Alberto Gonzalez grounds to short, Willingham and Flores advance safely. Alex Cintron flies out to center to end the sixth.
Kip Wells takes over for Zimmermann in the seventh. Alberto Gonzalez fires to first in time to get Jeff Francoeur. Matt Diaz skies one out to Willingham in left field. Kip Wells walks Jordan Schafer with two down. Elijah Dukes covers the distance in right center and catches the final out of the seventh off David Ross’ bat...Alberto Gonzalez faces Eric O’Flaherty, and grounds out to start the DC seventh. Nick “Two-Spot” Johnson goes down swinging. Ryan Zimmerman battles as Joe Beimel warms. Zimmerman grounds out to third to end the seventh.
Joe Beimel pops up Martin Prado for the first out of the eighth. Beimel slides over the infield grass to field Kelly Johnson’s bunt...Rain Delay...Yunel Escobar grounds the first pitch from new pitcher Garrett Mock to third, Zimmerman throws him out...Adam Dunn drops a double on the line in right field, leadoff double off Braves’ righty Rafael Soriano. Justin Maxwell runs for Adam Dunn. Elijah Dukes gets called out on a check swing strike three. Justin Maxwell steals third. Josh Willingham takes one in the ribs. Jesus Flores walks to load the bases. Alberto Gonzalez fouls strike three into the catcher’s mitt. Ronnie Belliard K’s swinging through fastballs...
“Wild” Joel Hanrahan vs The Braves...Hanrahan gets a groundout to short from? Casey Kotchman walks with one down. Jeff Francoeur flies out to right. Matt Diaz goes down swinging, Jordan Zimmermann wins his MLB Debut!!!!!!!
Nationals win, 3-2 final.
Nationals now 2-10.