Zimmermann vs the Dodgers: Before he was knocked out after just 1 2/3 IP in his April 9th start against the Miami Marlins in Nationals Park, the shortest outing of Jordan Zimmermann's career was a two-inning turn against the Los Angeles Dodgers last July 21st in the nation's capital.
The visiting Dodgers knocked the Washington Nationals' 2007 2nd Round pick around that afternoon, scoring seven runs on eight hits before Davey Johnson went to the mound and took the ball.
After that game, Zimmermann, who was coming off a long break, having skipped an All-Star appearance to rest a sore neck and prepare for the season's so-called second half, told reporters he actually felt better on the mound than he had in weeks in spite of the results.
"After my last start I took a few days off from throwing to give this neck a little break," Zimmermann told reporters, "and that might have something to do with it, but overall today, I felt the best I've felt in a long time. And the command wasn't quite there and all my misses that I left over the plate got hit hard today."
"I hung a few sliders," Zimmermann continued. "Two home runs were hanging sliders. When I did make some quality pitches, they had good swings on them. They're hot right now and it was just one of those days."
Zimmermann hasn't experienced too many of "those days" in his six major league seasons.
He didn't fare particularly well in either of his two outings against LA in 2013, however, giving up a total of 17 hits and nine earned runs in 9 2/3 IP against the Dodgers last season, over which opposing hitters put up a .378/.404/.622 line.
In four career starts against LA before tonight's, the Nats' right-hander was (2-1) with a 6.65 ERA in 21 2/3 IP over which he'd walked seven (2.91 BB/9) and struck out 14 (5.82 K/9) while opposing hitters have put up a combined .322/.374/.522 line.
Zimmermann took the mound tonight coming off a strong outing in Houston, in which he threw 6 1/3 scoreless against the Astros, striking out seven and walking just one in a 7-0 Nats' win.
Tonight against LA in D.C....
1st: Dodgers' second baseman Dee Gordon grounded out to his counterpart at second for the first out of tonight's game. Jordan Zimmermann got ground ball no.2 and out no.2 from Carl Crawford, who rolled one out to Anthony Rendon at third. Hanley Ramirez started tonight's game 9 for 20 (.450/.522/.650) career vs Zimmermann with a double and a home run in 23 PAs, and improved to 10 for 21 after he doubled to right field on an 0-1 slider outside from the Nats' right-hander, but Ramirez was stranded at second when Adrian Gonzalez popped out to the left side of the infield to end a 13-pitch first by Zimmermann.
2nd: Given a 2-0 lead to work with, Jordan Zimmermann started the second with a strikeout of Matt Kemp, who went down swinging at a 93 mph 1-2 fastball. Andre Ethier dumped a 95 mph 1-2 fastball into short-center for a one-out single. Ethier moved up on a broken-bat single through the right side by Juan Uribe. Miguel Olivo went down chasing a 1-2 slider outside for out and K no.2. A groundout to first by Zack Greinke ended Zimmermann's second scoreless inning after 18 pitches. 31 overall after two.
FBB's Recommended Reading:
3rd: Danny Espinosa went with a glove flip to first on a weak grounder to second by Dee Gordon. Got him. Carl Crawford shot a sharp grounder by Ian Desmond's backhand and into left for a one-out single on a 3-1 fastball. Hanley Ramirez battled for nine pitches before grounding into an inning-ending 4-6-3. 46 pitches after three scoreless innings pitched by Zimmermann.
4th: Adrian Gonzalez sent Denard Span back to the Kaiser Permante® wall in left-center, where the Nats' center fielder caught the first out of the fourth. Matt Kemp took a first-pitch curve to left for a one-out single, but he was caught trying to steal second by Sandy Leon on a fastball to Andre Ethier and Ethier K'd looking at the next pitch to end a nine-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 55 total after four scoreless...
3. Greinke in D.C.... with LA: The Washington Nationals courted Zack Greinke in the winter of 2010-11, trying to add an impact pitcher that would make as big a splash as their signing of Jayson Werth did. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo said the discussions didn't get too far when he was asked about the Nationals' interest during an MLB Network Radio interview at the time, but they did have a nice conversation with the right-hander who was still with the Kansas City Royals then.
"It was mostly about waiving his no-trade clause," Rizzo explained. "That was what the conversation was about. And in the conversation we mapped out the plan that we had with Washington. We had a great conversation with him. We brought in not only myself, but ownership... That's about where things ended with Zack because he didn't waive the no-trade to allow us to make a deal for him. But he's a great young man. We would love to have him anchoring the top of our rotation and we wish him well until we play him."
Greinke told The Washington Post's Dave Sheinin several months later that the idea of joining the Nationals did appeal to him, so that's why he agreed to meet with the Nats' brass.
"'It wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did [with the Nationals] if it wasn’t appealing,'" Greinke explained to the WaPost reporter, but he didn't see the point in joining the team if the Nats were going to have to trade away important parts of their young core to get him.
Greinke would have made a great addition to Washington's rotation, and spared the Nats from having to face him.
In just four starts against the Nationals in his career before tonight, Greinke's dominated the Nats, going (3-0) with a 1.78 ERA, four walks (1.42 BB/9) and 22 Ks (7.82 K/9) in 25 1/3 IP over which he's held Nationals' hitters to a .215/.247/.312 line.
He entered tonight's game (5-0) after six 2014 starts with a 2.04 ERA, six walks (1.53 BB/9) and 46 Ks (11/72 K/9) in 35 1/3 IP.
Greinke gave up two runs early, with Denard Span doubling and Anthony Rendon driving the Nats' leadoff man in with a two-run home run to left-center that cleared the fence and landed in the Red Porch seats.
Those were the only runs Greinke allowed through three innings as the 30-year-old right-hander tried to keep his streak of 18 consecutive starts with two runs or less going...
2-0 Nationals in the fourth when the rain picked up and put this one into a delay...