What could potentially be Jordan Zimmermann's final start in Nationals Park as a National didn't go the way the right-hander or the fans in attendance in wanted it to go. Washington's homegrown, hard-working starter was lifted for a pinch hitter after five innings of work on the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he gave up six hits, three of them home runs, two walks and six earned runs.
The fact that he was lifted in the bottom of the fifth, after loading the bases and watching a line drive to center get by Michael Taylor -- who made an ill-advised attempt at a diving catch -- for an inside-the-park grand slam that put the Phillies up 4-1, robbed fans of an opportunity to recognize the '07 2nd Round pick for all he accomplished in a Nationals uniform.
Zimmermann didn't have a problem with his manager's decision, telling reporters after the game, "I would have pulled me there too."
"I was giving up quite a few hits," Zimmermann explained. "I wasn't really thinking about going out next inning and walking off the mound or anything.
"It would have been nice, but at the end of the day, you have to pitch well and you can get those things at the end of the game."
He did, however, receive a nice ovation as he made his way from the right field bullpen to the dugout before taking the mound at the start of his outing.
"I heard it for sure," he said. "It was awesome. It means a lot to me, just wish I could have given them something a little better tonight."
More than missing out on a moment of recognition, he was disappointed that he didn't get the job done while he was on the mound.
"Obviously I'm a little upset we didn't get the win and I didn't pitch very good," Zimmermann said.
"That's what my job is, to go out there and keep the team in the ballgame, I wasn't able to do that tonight."
As one of several Nationals who are headed for free agency after this season, Zimmermann was asked if he thought he would be back next season?
"I don't know that answer," he said. "We'll see what this offseason brings. I enjoyed my time here, so we'll see after this season."
The way things are set now, tonight's start, assuming that he does leave as a free agent, will be his last in a Nats uniform.
Zimmermann takes on the Atlanta Braves in the second game of three. Stephen Strasburg is lined up for the finale of the three-game set in Turner Field, followed by Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark in New York against the Mets in the final three games of the season barring any changes.
Heading into tonight's start, Zimmermann is (13-9) on the season with a 3.68 ERA, a 3.77 FIP, 38 walks (1.75 BB/9), 163 Ks (7.50 K/9) and a .261/.305/.397 line against in 195 ⅔ innings pitched over which he's been worth 2.9 fWAR.
Against the Braves this season, the 29-year-old, Auburndale, Wisconsin-born starter is (3-0) in five starts with a 1.82 ERA, four walks (1.04 BB/9) and 22 Ks (5.71 K/9) in 34 ⅔ IP, with a .234/.285/.258 line against in those outings.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for tonight's game:
New #Nats lineup: Rendon 3B, Turner 2B, Harper RF, Werth LF, Robinson 1B, Desmond SS, Ramos C, Taylor CF, Zimmermann P— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 30, 2015
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