In his last four starts and 32 innings pitched, Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has walked three batters (0.84 BB/9), struck out 27 (7.59 K/9), posted a 0.84 ERA, a 2.09 FIP and held opposing hitters to a .153/.175/.207 line and gone (2-2) with the Nats beating the Phillies, 7-0, and Padres, 6-0, and losing to the Cardinals, 1-0, and Braves, 3-0. In the loss to the Cards in St. Louis, Zimmermann went head-to-head with Lance Lynn, who held the Nationals hitless through 5 ⅓ IP and completed eight scoreless. Last night against Atlanta at home in the nation's capital it was right-hander Gavin Floyd who held the Nats' bats at bay with five scoreless innings in which he gave up just two hits.
"Standing over in the dugout it looked like he had a really good curveball," Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said after the Nats lost to the Braves for the sixth time in seven games between the divisional rivals this season.
"Certainly [threw] his fastball for strikes, but the curveball was the difference. Got Jayson [Werth] a couple times on it. Got [Ian Desmond] a couple times on it, so it was good."
"Really, we're swinging the bats well the last few games before this one we've been scoring runs and just one of those nights tonight," Zimmermann told reporters after the Nationals were shut out for the sixth time in 2014.
Floyd left the game after throwing one pitch in the sixth with what was later diagnosed as, "a fracture of the olecranon, the prominent bone of the elbow joint," as MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported.
"You don't want to see anybody get hurt and it's a long road back," Williams told reporters after the game. "So, we hope everything is alright, but you never want to see anybody leave the mound. Never want to see anybody get hurt. Everybody competes and everybody wants to win but you don't want to see injuries either."
As for getting shut out by the Braves' starter and bullpen.
"It's disappointing," Williams said, "but they threw a three-hit shutout at us, so they pitched really well."
Zimmermann put together a strong start too. Last time out in St. Louis, it was really just one bad pitch that cost him when he left a change up in the zone to Cards' slugger Matt Adams, who sent a solo shot out to center field in Busch Stadium for the only run the Cardinals would need that night.
The Braves strung together four straight one-out singles last night with third baseman Chris Johnson's bases-loaded hit driving in two runs and providing all the offense Atlanta needed to take the series opener in Nationals Park.
"He was good," Williams said. "For him, Chris Johnson came up with a base hit with guys in scoring position. That's the difference in the game today. It's a ball that squeaked through the infield. Not much you can do about it. First pitch to Freddie [Freeman], base hit, and then a base hit after that and then a ball that was into the outfield, so he made good pitches, they got good wood on it and they came up with a big hit."
The Nationals started the night with a 1.5 game lead over the Braves which was down to a .5 game after the loss.
Zimmermann finished his 15th start of the season with a 2.95 ERA, a 2.88 FIP, 16 walks (1.57 BB/9) and 77 Ks (7.56 K/9) in 91 ⅔ IP.
• We talked about Zimmermann's start, the Nats' lack of success against Atlanta and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly: