5. Zimmermann left Chicago: Jordan Zimmermann held the New York Yankees to two runs on five hits last time out on the mound, winning his second straight start and avoiding a loss for the sixth straight outing.
Over that stretch, the just-turned-29-year-old right-hander has put up a 2.54 ERA with six walks (1.38 BB/9), 29 Ks (6.69 K/9) and a .264/.290/.304 line against in 39 IP.
Zimmermann completed seven innings on just 88 pitches in the Nats' 3-2 win over the Yankees.
He told reporters after the start in the nation's capital, in which he gave up two runs on three hits in the first, then went on to complete six scoreless, that he felt like he had his full arsenal at his disposal.
"Everything was working," he said. "I had pretty good stuff tonight. First inning was just -- they were on the fastball, and I just left a few over the middle. I like to try to go a few innings with just the fastball and I had to break everything out right away after the first, and I told myself, 'Gotta hold them here, we're going to score runs and I was able to do that."
"He was on the corners, down in the zone," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said.
"First inning, [Brett] Gardner got a bloop hit and then the double. They did a good job of moving him over to third and scoring the second one, but from then on he was really good."
That outing left Zimmermann (4-2) through nine starts this season, with a 3.52 ERA, a 3.01 FIP, 11 walks (1.84 BB/9), 36 Ks (6.04 K/9) and a .273/.314/.325 line against in 53 ⅔ IP.
Tonight in Wrigley Field, Zimmermann was facing the Cubs for the seventh time in his career and pitching in Chicago for the fourth time after going (0-3) with a 6.27 ERA and a .297/.329/.622 line against in 18 ⅔ IP in the previous three starts.
Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 26, 2015
Zimmermann's tenth start of the 2015 campaign began with a solo home run to right by Dexter Fowler, who jumped all over a 2-2 fastball and hit a towering blast out to the unfinished bleachers. One out later, Anthony Rizzo lined a double to right on an 0-2 slider inside to the Cubs' first baseman. Miguel Montero took a 3-2 fastball up high for ball four and a two-out walk, but some TOOTBLAN action on the basepaths led to Rizzo being tagged out at home to end a 22-pitch first.
Zimmermann needed nine pitches to set the Cubs down in order in the second. 31 total.
Addison Russell singled to right to start the bottom of the fourth, took second base on a groundout to second and then third on a flyout to center. Anthony Rizzo walked with two out to put two on for Starlin Castro, but a force at second ended a 19-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 50 total.
Miguel Montero lined to right-center to start the Cubs' half of the fourth and Kyle Hendricks drew a 10-pitch, two-out walk to bring Addison Russell up with two on, but a flyout to center on a 2-2 slider ended a 20-pitch frame. 70 total.
Zimmermann struck out the side in a 17-pitch fifth. 4 Ks, 87 pitches.
Starlin Castro singled to center to start the Cubs' sixth, but Miguel Montero grounded into a 3-6-3 DP in the next AB, and a groundout to third by Jorge Soler ended an eight-pitch frame. 95 total.
Addison Russell doubled to left with two down in the fifth, but Dexter Folwer K'd swinging to end an 18-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 113 total.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 113 P, 77 S, 11/1 GO/FO.
4. Kyle Hendricks not Kyle Kendrick: Kyle Hendricks, 25, made his major league debut last July, two years after the Cubs acquired the 2011 8th Round pick from the Rangers in a deadline deal in 2012 that sent Ryan Dempster to Texas.
Warm welcome at Wrigley: pic.twitter.com/7eKHrc84Sj— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 26, 2015
The 6'3'' right-hander was (7-2) in 13 starts for the Cubs last season, with a 2.46 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 15 walks (1.68 BB/9), 47 Ks (5.27 K/9) and a .242/.287/.323 line against in 80 ⅓ innings pitched.
Through eight starts this season before tonight's, Hendricks was (1-1) with a 4.14 ERA, 3.45 FIP, nine walks (1.77 BB/9) and 37 Ks (7.29 K/9) in 45 ⅔ IP over which opposing hitters had a .256/.303/.381 line.
Hendricks was coming off a complete game shutout of the San Diego Padres in Petco Park in which he gave up just five hits while striking out seven and walking no one to become the first Cubs' starter since Jason Marquis in 2007 to throw a complete game shutout without any walks.
The sinker-balling righty, who averages just 88.2 mph with his sinker, 80.2 mph with the change and mixes in a slider (84.8), cutter (87.4) and curve (77.6), was facing Washington for the first time in his major league career tonight in Wrigley Field and facing all of the Nationals' hitters for the first time as well.
Hendricks began his tenth start of the season with back-to-back swinging Ks from Denard Span and Ian Desmond, but hit Yunel Escobar with an 0-2 sinker inside. Bryce Harper stepped in with a runner on and two out, but Escobar got picked off first on a snap throw to first from Miguel Montero. 15-pitch frame. 0-0 after one.
Addison Russell made a diving play on a grounder up the middle off Ryan Zimmerman's bat and Kris Bryant made a barehand play on a swinging bunt from Wilson Ramos for the second and third outs of an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 second that left Hendricks at 23 pitches overall.
Tyler Moore walked in the first at bat of the Nats' third, took second on a sac bunt by Jordan Zimmermann and third on a two-out infield single by Denard Span, but he was stranded there when Ian Desmond grounded out to second to end a scoreless, 15-pitch frame by Hendricks, who was up to 38 pitches.
Yunel Escobar walked to start the fourth, but was doubled up on a Bryce Harper grounder to second. A groundout to third by Ryan Zimmerman ended a 15-pitch frame, 53 total.
Tyler Moore was 1 for 1 with a walk after a one-out single in the top of the fifth, but he was doubled up on a 4-6-3 DP off Danny Espinosa's bat. Eight-pitch frame, 61 total.
Ian Desmond doubled to center with two out in the sixth, lining a 2-0 sinker to the right-center gap, but a groundout to to second by Yunel Escobar ended Hendricks' sixth scoreless tonight and 15th scoreless overall. 12-pitch frame, 73 total, nine groundouts.
Bryce Harper got hold of a 3-1 sinker in the first at bat of the seventh and hit a fly ball out to left that just. kept. going. Solo home run. 1-1 game after Harper's 17th of the season. 12-pitch frame, 85 pitches for Hendricks.
• Kyle Hendricks' Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 53 S, 11/1 GO/FO
3. Harper and Bryant; Bryant and Harper: With a 2 for 3 game and a home run for the Cubs' only run in yesterday's series opener, Kris Bryant was left with a .282/.400/.473 line after 36 games and 160 plate appearances this season in which he's hit five doubles and six home runs.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said he was impressed with the second overall pick of the 2013 Draft, who debuted in the majors back on April 17th.
"He's doing what they tout him to do," Williams said. "He got a hanging slider and hit it. So, he's got power, he's a good player. We need to make good pitches on him to get him out."
Bryce Harper, 22, went 1 for 3 with a double yesterday in Wrigley Field, leaving him with a .333/.471/.727 line, nine doubles and 16 home runs 191 PAs into his fourth major league season.
Cubs' skipper Joe Maddon was equally impressed with what he's seen from Harper, and he talked to reporters, including CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney about some of the public and private criticism of the 2010 no.1 overall pick.
"'I don’t know what everybody else doesn’t like,'" Maddon said. "'I like players that play hard and care and obviously he’s pretty good. So I probably would like him.'"
The two players grew up playing against one another in Las Vegas, if you haven't read one of the hundred or so articles in the last few days exploring their shared history.
Bryant started tonight's game with an eight-game hitting streak, over which he was 12 for 25 (.471 AVG).
Harper started the game leading the majors in runs scored, with 39, walks, with 40, on-base percentage (.471 OBP) and slugging percentage (.727 SLG) and was second in the majors in RBIs, with 39.
Both Bryant and Harper hit fly balls to deep in center in their first at bats.
Bryant was 0 for 2 after a fly to center in the third.
Harper came up with a runner on after a leadoff walk by Yunel Escobar in the top of the fourth, and grounded into a 4-6-3 DP. 0 for 2.
A swinging K on an 2-2 slider in the Cubs' fifth left Bryant 0 for 3.
Harper got hold of a 3-1 sinker and sent a towering fly to left that he thought was a pop-out, but it kept sailing and cleared the wall for a solo home run that tied it up at 1-1. No.17 for Harper and his 12th in the last 23 games.
Not to be outdone, Bryant flat crushed a 3-2 slider from Aaron Barrett in the first at bat of the eighth and tied the game up at 2-2 with his seventh blast of the season. 9-game hit streak.
2. Turning Point(s): Denard Span led off with a home run in the series opener on Monday, but tonight in Wrigley Field it was the Cubs' leadoff man, Dexter Fowler, who hit a towering shot to right field in the first at bat of the bottom of the first for a solo blast and a 1-0 lead early in the second game of three in Chicago.
• Kyle Hendricks threw six scoreless inning to start tonight's game with the Nationals, and he was up to 15 scoreless overall after a complete game shutout last time out, when Bryce Harper hit a 3-1 sinker out to left in the first at bat of the seventh to tie things up at 1-1 in Wrigley.
Just another night at the ballpark. pic.twitter.com/29DaVFnEUf— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 27, 2015
• Denard Span's second home run of the series and 5th of the season broke up the 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth. 2-1 Nationals.
• But Kris Bryant tied it back up with a solo home run to left off Nats' right-hander Aaron Barrett in the bottom of the inning., however, 2-2 game after Bryant's seventh.
1. The Wrap-Up: Pedro Strop took over for the Cubs in the top of the eighth inning and retired the first two batters he faced, but a two-out home run to right by Denard Span put the Nationals up 2-1 after seven and a half in Wrigley.
Aaron Barrett came on for the bottom of the eighth and battled Kris Bryant for eight pitches before giving up a huge HR to left that Wrigley couldn't contain. Solo blast, 2-2 game. Bryant's 7th. First home run of the year off Barrett.
Matt Thornton took over for Barrett and retired three straight to keep it tied at 2-2 after eight.
Hector Rondon took over for the Cubs in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single by Yunel Escobar, but two outs later, with Wilson Ramos up, Escobar was caught trying to steal third to end the inning.
Matt Grace gave up a one-out single by Chris Coghlan in the Cubs' ninth, but he was forced out at second on a grounder to second base off pinch hitter Jonathan Herrera's bat. Herrera took second on a throwing error by Ian Desmond on an ill-advised attempt at a double play, and he scored on a line drive to right by Addison Russell.
Ballgame. 3-2 Cubs.