5. Zimmermann's farewell: Jordan Zimmermann tied a season-high with four walks the last time he faced the Atlanta Braves in a start in the nation's capital back on September 3rd, though he gave up just two hits and one earned run in six innings of work in the 15-1 win.
That outing left the right-hander (3-0) in five starts against the Braves this season in which he put up a 1.82 ERA with four walks (1.04 BB/9), 22 Ks (5.71 K/9) and a .234/.285/.258 line against in 34 ⅔ IP.
"A few too many walks for my liking," Zimmermann told reporters after the win. "But they gave me some runs early and I was able to settle in and just throw strikes, fill up the zone and let the guys behind me play defense."
"Coming out of the bullpen, he wasn't as crisp as he wanted to be," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said.
"Runs will help you settle in a little bit too, so he was able to just attack hitters and go after them, made it through six pretty good."
Three of the four walks Zimmermann allowed came in the first two innings on the mound, when he threw some pitches he and home plate ump Clint Fagan disagreed on.
"I threw a few good pitches," he said. "I was hoping they'd be strikes and they weren't and they could have gone either way."
After the Nationals jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the second, however, Zimmermann settled in, stopped nibbling as he had in the first two innings and started pounding the zone.
"I just had to start throwing the ball over the middle a little more," Zimmermann explained, "and couldn't nibble on the corner and then when they got me those runs I was in attack mode the rest of the game."
Tonight in Atlanta, in what's likely to be his last start for the Washington Nationals who drafted him in the 2nd Round of the 2007 Draft, Zimmermann gave up a two-out double by Nick Markakis and an RBI single by A.J. Pierzynski that put the Braves up 1-0 early. 24-pitch first.
Andrelton Simmons singled to right to start the Braves' second, but was forced out at second on a pop to short left that Ian Desmond missed before throwing to second. Todd Cunningham, who hit the pop moved to second on a sac bunt and scored on a two-out single to right by Michael Bourn, 2-0 Braves. 10-pitch frame. 34 total.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Zimmermann at 45 pitches. Andrelton Simmons singled with one down in the Braves' fourth, but was stranded at the end of a 15-pitch frame that pushed Zimmermann up to 60 pitches.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Zimmermann at 70 pitches.
Jace Peterson reached first safely on a two-out, infield single that was originally ruled an out. Andrelton Simmons tried to bunt for a hit, but Anthony Rendon was on it. 12-pitch frame, 82 total.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 82 P, 53 S, 12/3 GO/FO.
4. Williams Perez vs the Nats: Williams Perez, 24, signed with the Braves as an amateur free agent out of Acarigua, Portuguesa, Venezuela in 2009, but didn't make his major league debut until earlier this season when he came on in relief in the eighth inning of a May 8th game against the Washington Nationals, giving up two hits, two walks and four walks in a ⅓ of an inning of work in a 9-2 loss for Atlanta in the nation's capital.
After another relief outing, the 6'1'' right-hander moved to the Braves' rotation and has started in all-but one appearance since, going (6-6) in 19 starts before tonight's with a 4.86 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 44 walks (3.69 BB/9), 68 Ks (5.70 K/9) and a .284/.367/.436 line against in 107 ⅓ IP.
Perez snapped an eight-start winless streak (over which he had an 8.85 ERA and a .337/.421/.524 line against in 40 ⅔ IP) with a win in a September 7th start against the Philadelphia Phillies and was unbeaten in four starts before tonight, going (2-0) with a 2.92 ERA and a .293/.333/.478 line against in 24 ⅔ IP over that stretch.
Last time out on the mound, he held the New York Mets to two runs on a walk and seven hits in six innings in a 6-3 win in which he received no decision.
Tonight in Turner Field, Perez gave up a leadoff double by Anthony Rendon in the first, but retired the next three in a scoreless, 13-pitch frame.
Clint Robinson singled to start the second and Ian Desmond walked to put two on with no one out, but Robinson ran into a double play, allowing Andrelton Simmons to tag him on a grounder to short before the shortstop threw to first for a 6-3 DP. Michael Taylor got the intentionals, and Jordan Zimmermann grounded into a force at second to end a 20-pitch frame, 33 total.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with, Perez worked around a one-out single by Trea Turner, getting a double play ground ball out of Bryce Harper to end a scoreless, 14-pitch third. 47 total.
Perez threw a quick, six-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth that left him at 53 pitches overall.
Michael Taylor doubled by third with one down in the Nationals' half of the fifth and took third on a one-out single by Jordan Zimmermann, but Anthony Rendon K'd looking at an 0-2 change and Trea Turner grounded out to end a 15-pitch frame that left Perez at 68 pitches after five scoreless.
Clint Robinson singled with two down in the sixth and Ian Desmond walked, but Wilson Ramos grounded back to the mound to end a 24-pitch sixth that left Perez at 92 pitches.
• Williams Perez's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 92 P, 55 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: Trea Turner hit his first MLB home run last night in Turner Field (no relation), but he was originally out of the lineup tonight. Yunel Escobar was scratched, however, so Turner was added back in and will be making his fifth start tonight.
Almost go time. pic.twitter.com/YeVGoGNqIl— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 30, 2015
• Jordan Zimmermann led Nats' starters with eight wins at home this season and his 12 in 2013 are the most in Nats' history (2008-present).
• The Nationals took all ten games with the Braves in D.C. this season, but last night's loss left them 3-4 against Atlanta in Turner Field.
• Bryce Harper took his 124th walk of the season last night, setting a new franchise record by passing Montreal Expos' outfielder Ken Singleton.
• Harper entered tonight's game leading the NL in AVG (.334), OBP (.466), SLG (.654), home runs (41, tied), runs scored (117) and Wins Above Replacement (9.7 fWAR).
• Jordan Zimmermann's 70 career wins make him the winningestest pitcher in Nationals' history (2005-present).
• In 15 career starts vs the Braves in his career, Zimmermann has a 2.52 ERA.
2. Turning Point(s): A.J. Pierzynski was 3 for 3 with two home runs in last night's 2-1 Braves' win over the Nationals and he got Atlanta out to an early lead tonight, taking a 93 mph 1-2 fastball from Jordan Zimmermann to short left for an RBI single that drove Nick Markakis in from second after the right fielder doubled with two down. 1-0.
• A two-out RBI single in the second by Michael Bourn brought Todd Cunningham in from second to put the Braves up 2-0 on Zimmermann and the Nats.
1. The Wrap-Up: Peter Moylan retired the Nationals in order in a 10-pitch top of the seventh.
Sammy Solis retired the Braves in order in a 10-pitch bottom of the seventh.
Edwin Jackson retired the Nationals in order in a nine-pitch eighth.
Solis came back out for another inning of work and threw a second scoreless frame.
Arodys Vizcaino came on for the save in the top of the ninth and retired the Nationals in order. 2-0 final.
Nationals now 80-78