As we noted in our preview for last night's game that never happened, Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann enters tonight's matchup with the Detroit Tigers with a couple streaks going. The Nats' 26-year-old right-hander has stretch of 18.0 scoreless innings on the mound going back to the final inning he pitched against the New York Mets back on April 21st in Citi Field.
Since then he's thrown 17.0 scoreless in back-to-back starts against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. Zimmermann's also undefeated at home in his last 14 outings in the nation's capital, going (8-0) over that stretch and so far this season he's (3-0) with a 1.23 ERA, 3.20 FIP, three walks (1.23 BB/9) and nine Ks (3.68 K/9) in 22.0 IP in Nationals Park, in which he's held opposing hitters to a .200/.229/.263 line.
Overall on the year, the Nationals' '07 2nd Round pick is (5-1) with a 1.64 ERA, 2.92 FIP, seven walks (1.43 BB/9) and 27 Ks (5.52 K/9). On 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show this morning, hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier asked the Nationals' General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Ops what was different for Zimmermann this year that's allowed him to take it to the next level.
"I think he's incorporating his whole repertoire into his game," Rizzo explained. "Before he was a prototypical power pitcher. Fastball, hard slider. Not a lot of distinction between the velocities of the pitches [and] now he's incorporated a changeup and a curve ball, slider and the fastball, so I think that it's hard for hitters to sit hard on Zim now, because he has two pitches that the velocities are much slower than his hard stuff. I think that's a big part of it."
"He's matured as a pitcher. He's matured as a big leaguer. He takes great pride in what he does. He's very, very prepared going into games and I think he's just learned how to pitch within himself at the end of last season and this season."
Zimmermann takes the mound against the Tigers tonight at 7:05 pm EST looking to extend his scoreless inning streak and his unbeaten streak at home in Nationals Park.
• Here's the lineup that will take the field behind Zimmermann tonight for the first game of two with Detroit:
#Nationals lineup vs. DET: Span 8, Desmond 6, Harper 9, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Moore 7, Espinosa 4, Suzuki 2, Zimmermann 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) May 8, 2013