Ryan Zimmerman went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout last night in the Washington Nationals' 5-0 win over the New York Mets, leaving him 13 for 72 with a .181/.225/.306 line, three doubles and two home runs so far in June.
On the year, the 31-year-old first baseman has a .226/.286/.405 line with 13 doubles and 10 home runs in 280 plate appearances.
Before the second game of three with the Mets in D.C., Nats' skipper Dusty Baker was asked for his thoughts on what is holding Zimmerman back.
"I don't know, just hits," Baker said. "He's hit some balls hard. I don't know, why do we always have to pick somebody that's not doing well and try to figure it out?
"It seems like we kind of dwell on the negative things on what people aren't doing versus what other people are doing, I mean, you can't -- I'm one guy, I can't figure it out for everybody. I try to. It keeps me up at night, but it's like, I don't know, I don't have all the answers. If I did, he would have been out of this a long time ago, he'd have been hitting .280 for the month.
"I'm not being facetious or nothing, it's just that sometimes you're bombarded with negatives, especially after we just came off that last road trip. There were more negatives floating around than positives. We'll start from Ryan's double last night."
Zimmerman did double and drive in a run in the Nationals' 11-4 win over the Mets in the series opener, but he has struggled at the plate this season too.
His BABIP is at a career low (.261 vs a career .312), his K% is at a career high (23.9%, up from 17.9% career), his line drive percentage is down for the third straight season (14.7% from a career 18.9%), and he's hitting more ground balls (50.5% up from a career 44.7%), with a higher swinging strike percentage (10.0%) than he's had in his career (8.0% in his career).
"The metrics say he's hitting into bad luck," Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies this morning.
"His BABIP is extremely low. The exit speed on his at bats is right where it always has been. He almost broke the leg of the pitcher last night. I mentioned it last night: That's exactly how Zim's going right now. He hits a bullet up the middle, it crashes off the pitcher and goes right to the second baseman and he's out.
"So, the exit speed on his at bats has been fine, the stroke has been fine, his demeanor and his approach at the plate is Zimmerman of old, that he's always had. I expect the numbers to take a market correction and closer to his career averages."
Will he turn it around? Will Dusty Baker keep running him out there in the hope that he plays to the back of his baseball card eventually?
Zimmerman is back in the lineup tonight as the Nationals take on the Mets in the third game of their three-game set in D.C.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for tonight's game vs Logan Verrett and the Mets:
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