Jordan Zimmermann's Just Getting Started...
According to Washington Nationals' team President Stan Kasten, Braves' Manager Bobby Cox called him up recently after having just watched Ross Detwiler pitch, to tell the former Braves' team President, in Mr. Kasten's words, "This is unbelieveable, this is the exactly* how we did it," referring to the time the two worked together to put together the Braves' rotation of Tom Glavine, Steve Avery and John Smoltz, which enabled them to dominate the NL East for over a decade. Mr. Kasten was sure to preface the anecdote by saying, "I wouldn't compare anyone here to them," but everywhere you look, other people are, and I'm not sure if Detwiler's supposed to be Glavine or Avery, or which one John Lannan would be, but I'm pretty sure Jordan Zimmermann is DC's John Smoltz in this already tired comparison, but, I'll just add that it'll be sweet when the Nationals' sign their Braves'-Maddux. (I'm looking at you, Strasburg...You could be pitching kid!")...So I wonder what Bobby Cox will say when he watches John Smoltz's comeback turn into the Jordan Zimmermann show, as the Nationals' 23-year-old right-hander dominated the AL East's 1st Place Boston Red Sox and silenced the members of the Red Sox Nation who'd been screaming "Youk" over and over all week in Nationals Park.
Jordan Zimmerman (W, 3-3, 4.65 ERA) wins his first start since April 26th, allowing just 5 hits, 1 ER and 1 walk in 7.0 innings pitched in which he strikes out 6. John Smoltz gets hit hard early by the Nationals, who give Zimmermann a 4-0 lead to work with in the first and hold on for a 9-3 win after Tyler Clippard, in his '09 debut, allows 2 runs in 2.0 IP, both on a HR by Rocco Baldelli in the ninth. The Nationals get their offense from the usual suspects, Josh Willingham, Josh Bard, Willie Harris and Anderson Hernandez...who combine to go 9 for 15 at the bottom of the Nationals' order, with two doubles and a HR between them (Bard and the Hammer with the doubles, Willie Harris the HR) and a combined 7 RBI's on the evening. Smoltz gives up 7 hits and 5 ER in 5.0 IP, throwing 92 pitches, 62 for strikes in his first '09 appearance, Zimmermann tosses 109, 77 over the plate.
(ed. note - " * = Mr. Kasten may have said, "...this is the exact way"...if so, I edited.")
Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The Jump...
20,000 Red Sox contribute to the Strasburg Fund...
Nationals now, 21-49.
20-25,000 Red Sox contribute to the Strasburg Fund...
In the second week of June, when the Cincinnati Reds visited Nationals Park, a combined 55,767 ticket holders took in the three game series, for an average crowd of 18,589 people per game. Game one against the Boston Red Sox this week drew 41,517. Game two with the Sox had 41,530 people watching live, and tonight's 9-3 win had 41,985 in attendance, for a three-game total of 125,032 people who passed through one of Nationals Park's gates. Thanks for the $ Red Sox Nation, it all goes into the Strasburg Fund.
Speaking of Strasburg...
In Jon Heyman's SI.com article Wednesday entitled, "Identifying this season's super starts, and the poor ones too", Mr. Heyman adds another name to the list of players the Nationals should compare Stephen Strasburg to when they start to really talk about signing the Nationals' No.1 overall pick. Mr. Heyman writes that:
"Boras is believed to have mentioned Daisuke Matsuzaka ($52 million) and Jose Contreras ($32 million) as comps."
Mr. Heyman also "reports" that, “There have been hints the Nationals may be considering outside general manager possibilities in addition to interim GM Mike Rizzo.” What sort of hints? Whatever. The Nationals beat the Red Sox...Here's the...
Boston Red Sox At Washington Nationals Game 70 or 71 of 162.
Jordan Zimmerman gets two quick strikes on Dustin Pedroia and then throws a 95 mph heater by the Red Sox’ leadoff batter. Willie Harris is in center for DC again and he tracks down a liner off J.D. Drew’s bat. Jason Bay hits a hopper to third and Cristian Guzman guns him at first...Cristian Guzman grounds weakly enough to first even David Ortiz can field it. Nick Johnson gets hit in the shin with a wayward curve from Smoltz. Ryan Zimmerman allows Johnson to cruise around to third on a line-drive double over the third base bag. The Big Walky, Adam Dunn walks to load’em up for the Hammer, Josh Willingham. The Hammer finds a the hole at short and singles a run in for a 1-0 DC lead on Smoltz. Josh Bard chops down on a curve and grounds it through second for a run-scoring single. 2-0 DC. Willie Harris lines out to J.D. Drew in right, whose throw in is perfect, holding Dunn at third. Anderson Hernandez takes a high heater for a ride, singling to left to score two and make it 4-0. Smoltz gets Zimmermann swinging to end a long first.
David Ortiz grounds into the dramatic shift. MIke Lowell grounds one into Zimmerman’s gut, the throw to first is on target. Jason Varitek pops one to short center and just out of everyone’s reach. Jacoby Ellsbury pops up in front of second and it drops in the grass. Two on, two out. Cristian Guzman throws to second for the force on a grounder from Nick Green, Zimmermann’s through two...Jason Bay catches the first out in left on a Cristian Guzman liner. Nick Johnson’s out after being hit. Elijah Dukes batting second, grounds to short. Ryan Zimmerman grounds to Green, and Smoltz has a much better inning.
Jordan Zimmermann gets tired of Smoltz fouling of pitches so he throws a 95 mph heater upstairs to get a swinging K. Dustin Pedroia gets a full-count slider on the outside edge and K's swinging. Cristian Guzman stabs a hard grounder on his backhand and throws to first a step too late to get J.D. Drew. Ryan Zimmerman robs Jason Bay on a sharp liner to third, and Zimmerman throws to second to get the inning-ending force...Adam Dunn gets a two-strike slider up high and he K’s swinging for the first out of the fourth. Josh Willingham doubles off the center field wall. Josh Bard brings Willingham around with a line drive single through second, 5-0 DC. Big Papi can’t make the play on a hard hit grounder to first, Willi Harris safe, Bard takes third. Jordan Zimmermann flies out to center, Ellsbury closes his glove on it.
Big Papi can’t catch up to a 95mph two-strike fastball upstairs. Ryan Zimmerman files, spins and throws to first to get Mike Lowell for the second out. Zimmermann pops up Varitek, Zimmerman catches it...Cristian Guzman grounds back to the mound. Elijah Dukes lines back to Smoltz’s outstretched glove. Ryan Zimmerman pops out high above left, J.D. Drew charges in and gets under it.
Anderson Hernandez throws to first to get Jacoby Ellsbury on a weak grounder. Ryan Zimmerman lays out, stabs a one-hopper and jumps up to fire to first in time to rob Nick Green of a single. Smoltz down swinging, five scoreless for Zimmermann...Adam Dunn gets some nasty sinking junk inside on a 3-2 pitch and K’s chasing. Josh Willingham gets a two-strike fastball from Smoltz and K’s looking. Bard gets a changeup that dies as it approaches the plate, and he strikes out swinging a foot above where it lands.
Dustin Pedroia pops out to Zimmerman at third. J.D. Drew slips a single into center on a soft line drive. Jason Bay hits the second-straight single to center, and it’s two on with one out. David Ortiz flies to left, Willngham throws late to home behind the tagging J.D. Drew. 5-1 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman LEAPS, and brings down a Mike Lowell liner...Daniel Bard takes over for Smoltz in the sixth. Willie Harris hits an excuse-me single to third that dies in the grass. Anderson Hernandez walks. Jordan Zimmermann gets a bunt down and Bard boots it, bobbling the bunt and dropping it. 2-0 fastball to Guzman and he lines to left to score two for a 7-1 lead. Elijah Dukes grounds into a force at second, but beats out Lowell’s DP throw. Full-count slider upstairs to Zimmerman, and he K’s swinging. Adam Dunn flies out to left and it's 7-1 DC after six.
Jason Varitek takes a leadoff walk in the seventh. Jacoby Ellsbury grounds into a force at second. Ellsbury steals second with Nick Green at bat, and the throw to second from Bard sails into center, giving Ellsbury another base. Nick Green K’s swinging through a 94 mph fastball upstairs!!! Kevin Youkilis flies out to right, and Dukes has it!!...Josh Willingham vs Takashi Saito. Nick Green backhands a grounder from Willingham and throws him out at first. Josh Bard doubles to center and off the out-of-town scoreboard. Willie Harris gets a hanging slider from Saito and he deposits it in the second deck in right, two-run blast, 9-1 Nationals. Ronnie Belliard K’s on a fastball inside on the fists.
Tyler Clippard starts the eighth on the hill for DC. Dustin Pedroia grounds to Zimmerman at third, and is beaten to the bag by the throw. J.D. Drew grounds out to the Donkey at first. Mark Kotsay splits the gap in right center with a two-out double. Big Papi pops out to left, Hammer has it!! 9-1 DC after seven and a half...Ramon Ramirez will pitch to the Nationals in the eighth. Alberto Gonzalez grounds to short and right under Julio Lugo’s glove. Elijah Dukes flies out to right. Ryan Zimmerman flies out to left.
3-1 pitch to Julio Lugo lined to left for a single. George Kottaras flies out to Willie Harris in center. Rocco Baldelli gets a hold of a fastball from Clippard, for a two-run blast to left. 9-3 Nationals. Clippard throws a two-strike fastball by Nick Green and goes up high with a heater to get the relief pitcher Ramon Martinez.
9-3 Nationals win.
Nationals now 21-49.