"After a month of July in which [Jordan] Zimmermann earned recognition as MLB's Pitcher of the Month for going (4-0) in six starts with a 0.97 ERA, 2.08 FIP, four walks (0.97 BB/9) and 31 Ks (7.54 K/9) in 37.0 IP over which he allowed 27 hits, five runs (4 ER) and one home run, Zimmermann's (1-2) in five August outings, with a 4.39 ERA, 3.47 FIP, eight walks (2.70 BB/9) and 23 Ks (7.76 K/9) in 26.2 IP in which he's allowed 31 hits and 14 runs, 13 earned. The last five outings also followed a report of the right-hander dealing with shoulder inflammation that didn't bother Zimmermann enough to cause him to miss a start but did warrant treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs and did lead the Nationals to rearrange the rotation for his benefit. Johnson was clear when discussing the shoulder issue, however, that it was something every pitcher goes through over the course of a season.
"For four innings on Sunday, Zimmermann was dominant, throwing 60 pitches and holding the Phillies scoreless while allowing just one hit before a fifth inning in which he gave up four hits, one a HR, a walk and three runs total while throwing 34 pitches. "I thought he was throwing a heck of a ballgame," Johnson said afterward, "and just kind of... the moment shifted and everybody started kind of centering on him. But that can happen." Zimmermann told reporters, including CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman, that, "'The first four innings were kind of a breeze,'" but then, "'In the fifth inning, I just hit a wall and got in a little bit of trouble.'" Zimmermann said he felt strong, however, and for the first four innings he looked like the ace the Nationals will need him to be when Strasburg is eventually shut down."