Jordan Zimmermann gave up a eight runs (matching a career high) on seven hits, three home runs and two walks last time out in the Washington Nationals' 11-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field. Two of the home runs were three run blasts, one by Dioner Navarro and one by Nate Schierholtz. Afterwards, he talked to reporters about the struggles he experienced in his 25th start of 2013. but said it wasn't a health or injury issue.
"I felt fine," the 27-year-old right-hander said, "I just made a few mistakes tonight and made them at the wrong time. A hanging curve ball and a fastball that was pretty much middle. And the two home runs killed me. I can live with a solo home run or a few base hits, but when you get guys on you've got to really buckle down and make some pitches, but I wasn't able to do that tonight."
"[He] left the ball up and this is a ballpark [where] you leave the ball out over the plate, bad things happen," Davey Johnson said.
"The first [home run] was a bad curve ball to Schierholtz," the manager explained. "Two strikes, he's protecting and [Zimmermann] left a curve ball up belt high, that's going to happen. But any time you don't get ahead and you leave the ball up out over the plate you're going to get hit and hit hard."
"He's a tremendous pitcher," Johnson continued, "He's going to be fine. This was not good, obviously, but I think he came throught it all right."
Zimmermann said it just a command issue.
"Just location was off tonight and something I've got to work on," the 14-game winner told reporters. "I'm not hitting my spots right now and the fastball's up and I've to do a better job of locating."
Zimmermann said he would review the tapes and try to figure out what went wrong before his next start, which takes place tonight when the right-hander faces the Kansas City Royals for the first time in his career. As the Nationals' pregame notes mention, Zimmermann is (11-10) in his last 26 starts on the road, with a 3.11 ERA away from the nation's capital over the last two seasons with Washington 16-10 with the '07 2nd Round pick on the hill over that stretch.
So far this season, Zimmermann has a 4.23 ERA on the road, with a 4.05 FIP, 12 walks (1.64 BB/9) and 54 Ks (7.36 K/9) in 66 IP outside of National Park, with opposing hitters posting a .245/.291/.452 line against him in those outings. Since sitting out the All-Star Break and skipping what would have been his first All-Star appearance to rest a neck issue, Zimmermann is (2-3) in six starts with a 6.75 ERA in his last 30 2/3 IP, over which the opposition has put up a .304/.380/.584 line.
Zimmermann will take on the Royals tonight, but he and the Nationals will be without the help of Jayson Werth, who apparently has an infection in his foot:
#Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was not in Saturday’s lineup because of an infected right foot. #MLB #Nats— William Ladson (@washingnats) August 24, 2013
Jayson Werth is out because he has an infection in his right foot. First happened in Chicago. He thought it would be better. It's worse.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 24, 2013
• Game time 7:05 pm EDT tonight in Kansas City...
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