5. Zimmermann in CBP: Jordan Zimmermann snapped a streak of six winless outings back on August 18th in Coors Field in Colorado, and since then the Washington Nationals' 29-year-old right-hander has put together an unbeaten streak that's stretched over five starts.
Over that stretch, which has included wins over the Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves and a no-decision in an 8-7 loss to the New York Mets, Zimmermann has put up a 3.26 ERA, with eight walks (2.37 BB/9), 28 Ks (8.31 K/9) and a .257/.317/.496 line against in 30 ⅓ innings pitched.
In his last three outings before tonight's, Zimmermann allowed three runs total in 18 ⅔ IP (1.45 ERA), while holding opposing hitters to a combined .194/.265/.339 line.
Last time out he went just 5 ⅔ innings, however, throwing 100 pitches total before he was lifted with a runner on third, two out and Daniel Murphy due up.
Murphy's numbers against Zimmermann (20 for 61, .328 AVG, 5 2B, 4 HRs) played a role in Matt Williams' decision to go to the pen for left-hander Matt Thornton, who retired the Mets' infielder to strand the runner on third.
"I thought it went well," Zimmermann said after what ended up an 8-7 loss.
"I had a lot of three-ball counts and a lot times I had to make a quality pitch with a full count and those guys ran me up to 100 pitches pretty quick."
"I think that was the right move taking me out in that situation," he said of the "quick hook".
"[Thornton] came in and got [Murphy] out. Everyone knows [Murphy's] numbers against me, lifetime, and they're pretty good and hit two balls to the track tonight. So, I'm fine with that move. And it just didn't work out for us tonight."
The outing left the soon-to-be-free agent starter (12-8) after 29 starts, with a 3.32 ERA, a 3.61 FIP, 34 walks (1.31 BB/9) and 142 Ks (8.20 K/9) in 199 ⅔ innings, with a .259/.302/.383 line against on the year.
Phillies (@Phillies) September 14, 2015
Zimmermann's 30th start of the season began with the Nationals ahead, 1-0, after Anthony Rendon's leadoff home run in the first. Zimmermann threw a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 first.
With one down in the Phillies' second, Ryan Howard got hold of a 93 mph 2-1 fastball and hit a line drive homer out to right for a game-tying blast. 1-1. Howard's 23rd. 16-pitch frame. 27 total after two.
Bryce Harper's 37th home run of the season put the Nationals up 2-1 after two and a half.
Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single to left by Cameron Rupp, who scored from second two outs later on an RBI single to center by Freddy Galvis that was just out of Ian Desmond's reach, 2-2. 18-pitch frame, 45 total.
Darnell Sweeney drew a two-out walk in the Phillies' fourth and a wild pitch allowed him to take second, but Cody Asche K'd swinging to end a 19-pitch inning that left Zimmermann at 64 pitches.
Given a 6-2 lead to work with, Zimmermann worked around a two-out HBP for a scoreless, 13-pitch fifth that left him at 77 pitches.
Brian Bogusevic doubled to start the Phillies' sixth and took third base on a single to left by Aaron Altherr, and one out later, Bogusevic scored on an RBI singleby Darnell Sweeney. 6-3.
Cody Asche stepped in next and hit a 93 mph 1-1 fastball out to right for a three-run blast that tied it up at 6-6. 17-pitch frame, 94 total.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 94 P, 63 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
4. Nola vs the Nats: Aaron Nola, 22, started the 2015 campaign as the top-ranked pitcher in the Phillies' system on Baseball America's list of Philadelphia's Top 10 prospects.
After twelve starts at Double-A Reading, over which he was (7-3) with a 1.88 ERA, a 2.88 FIP, nine walks (1.06 BB/9) and 59 Ks (6.93 K/9) in 76 ⅔ innings, and ten starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in which he went (3-1) with a 3.58 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, nine walks (2.48 BB/9) and 33 Ks (9.09 K/9) in 32 ⅔ , Nola was called up to make his major league debut on July 21st.
In ten starts for the Phillies, the right-hander, who features a 90.6 mph fastball, (which gets up to 94.5), a two-seamer (89.9 to 93.6), curve (76.5 to 79.4) and change (82.1 to 84.5), is (6-2) with a 3.56 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 15 walks (2.23 BB/9) and 51 Ks (7.57 K/9) in 60 ⅔ IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .234/.287/.389 line.
Nola had a seven-start unbeaten streak snapped in his first start this month, when the New York Mets knocked him out after just four innings in which he gave up nine hits and six earned runs. He bounced back from that outing with seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves last time out.
"Nola was outstanding," Phillies' skipper Pete Mackanin told reporters after the win.
"We talked about -- I was asked earlier about how he would rebound after his lackluster performance the last time out, and he stepped up to the plate and really hit it out of the park.
"He located his fastball, kept them off-balance, made some great pitches," Mackanin said.
"His ability to locate his fastball down in the strike zone on both sides of the plate is his strong suit. And to mix in his secondary pitches when he has to or when he wants to is a real good sign for the future. He's a special guy."
Tonight in Citizens Bank Park, Nola, a 2014 1st Round pick taken 7th overall out of LSU, matched up with the Phillies' NL East rivals from Washington, D.C. for the first time.
His outing began with a long fly ball off Anthony Rendon's bat. Rendon crushed a first-pitch fastball and hit a solo home run out to left for a 1-0 lead. 12-pitch frame.
Nola worked around a one-out single to left by Wilson Ramos for a scoreless, 17-pitch second. 29 total.
With two down in the third, Bryce Harper got ahead in the count and got a 2-1 change he liked and absolutely crushed it, sending his 37th home run of the season out to right for a 2-1 lead. 15-pitch frame, 44 total.
Clint Robinson singled to start the fourth, but one out later, Wilson Ramos grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3. Nine-pitch frame, 53 total.
Nola collected his sixth and seventh Ks in the fifth, but Bryce Harper stepped in with two on and two out after singles by Jordan Zimmermann and Yunel Escobar and singled to left to load the bases for Jayson Werth, who hit an 0-2 fastball into the left field seats for a grand slam that made it 6-2. 26-pitch frame, 79 total.
• Aaron Nola's Line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 3 HRs, 79 P, 58 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The Nationals and Phillies played 13 times over the first 83 days this season, but the NL East rivals haven't played in 78 days. Washington took eight of the first thirteen games between the two teams this season.
• The Phillies have won nine of the last 14 games against the Nationals in Citizens Bank Park and 20 of the last 32.
• Philaelphia is 44-0 when leading after eight innings this season, making them one of six major league teams (along with San Diego, St. Louis, Washington, New York (AL) and Toronto) that hasn't lost a game they led after nine.
• Current Nats' closer Jonathan Papelbon was 17 for 17 in save opportunities with the Phillies. Ken Giles is 13 for 13 as the closer with Luis Garcia 1 for 1 in the role.
• Opposing hitters have a .164 AVG against Aaron Nola's curve ball so far this season.
• The Nationals snapped a five-game losing streak with Sunday's win in Miami.
• The Nats are 31-41 overall on the road this season, 41-29 inside Nationals Park.
• Jayson Werth extended his on-base streak to 22 straight games on Sunday. Over the course of his streak, Werth's hitting .295 (26 for 88) with seven doubles, four home runs and 14 walks.
They still love JW in Philly. pic.twitter.com/eqf6up5KkT— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 14, 2015
• Anthony Rendon has hit safely in 21 of his last 24 games, with a .323 AVG over the last 24 games.
• In tonight's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Rendon has a .306/.393/.429 line with three doubles and a home run in 12 games and 56 PAs in since September 1st.
• Bryce Harper entered tonight's game ranked 1st in the NL In AVG (.333), OBP (.463), SLG (.648), runs scored (104) and Wins Above Replacement (8.5 fWAR).
• Yunel Escobar's 44 multi-hit games this season are tied with Bryce Harper for the team lead. Escobar's hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games with a .508 OBP over that stretch.
2. Turning Point(s): One pitch into the series opener in Citizens Bank Park, the Washington Nationals had a 1-0 lead after Anthony Rendon hit a 92 mph two-seam fastball from Aaron Nola out to left for his 5th home run of the season.
• One out into the second, however, it was all tied up at 1-1 after Ryan Howard hammered a 93 mph 2-1 fastball and sent a solo home run screaming out to right for his 23rd homer of 2015.
• Bryce Harper struck next, hitting a 2-1 change out to right with two down in the third to put the Nationals back on top. 2-1 after two and a half. Harper's 37th, but the Phillies tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Freddy Galvis drove Cameron Rupp in from second with a sharp grounder up the middle that bounced off a diving Ian Desmond's glove.
• The Nationals loaded the bases with singles by Jordan Zimmermann, Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper in the fifth, and Jayson Werth got hold of an 0-2 fastball and yanked a grand slam to left that put the Nationals up, 6-2. Werth's 8th home run of the season.
• The Phillies rallied in the sixth, however, with a leadoff double and two singles bringing in a run, and Cody Asche stepped in with two on and one out and hit a three-run blast to right to tie it up at 6-6 after six.
1. The Wrap-Up: Justin De Fratus struck out two in a scoreless top of the sixth.
With the score tied at 6-6, Philly righty Hector Narris took over on the mound in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Anthony Rendon and a one-out walk by Bryce Harper. A wild pitch moved both runners up, but Jayson Werth K'd chasing a splitter into the dirt for out no.2 and Clint Robinson popped out to end the top of the frame.
Matt Thornton gave up a single by Odubel Herrera, who was standing at third two outs later when Matt Williams went to the bullpen for Rafael Martin, who struck Aaron Altherr out to end the seventh.
Jerome Williams took over for Philadelphia in the top of the eighth and issued a one-out walk to Wilson Ramos, but Ramos' pinch runner, Trea Turner, was tagged out after sliding by second and coming off the bag as he tried to steal a base. Michael Taylor lined out to right to end the top of the frame.
Blake Treinen retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth in a nine-pitch frame.
Jeanmar Gomez gave up a one-out single to left by Anthony Rendon (3 for 5), but Yunel Escobar grounded into an inning 6-4-3. Still 6-6 in CBP.
Casey Janssen retired the first two batters in the ninth. Felipe Rivero came out to face Odubel Herrera and struck him out to end the ninth. 6-6. On to extras.
Dalier Hinojosa came on for the tenth and gave up Jayson Werth's second home run of the game on a 3-1 fastball inside. 7-6 Nationals after nine and a half.
Jonathan Papelbon came on for the save opportunity and recorded one out before giving up a game-tying home run to right by Freddy Galvis. 7-7 game. Papelbon's first blown save of the season.
A HBP and an E:6 put runners on first and second in front of Jeff Francoeur with one out. Francoeur hit a blast to right that Bryce Harper tracked down in the corner for out no.2. Aaron Altherr took third on the fly ball, but was stranded.
On to the eleventh...
Luis Garcia came on for the Phillies and walked Danny Espinosa in the first at bat of the Nats' eleventh, then threw a wild pitch that moved Espinosa into scoring position. An infield single by Anthony Rendon moved Espinosa to third and Yunel Escobar hit a chopper to second that brought Espinosa in ahead of the throw home for the go-ahead run. 8-7 Nationals.
Doug Fister came to end it and issued a leadoff walk to Cameron Rupp before retiring the next three Phillies in order. Ballgame. 8-7 final.
Nationals now 73-70