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Will Ryan Zimmerman reward the Nationals’ faith?

Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run blast in last night’s game. Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker and GM Mike Rizzo talked about having faith in Zimmerman.

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Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Dusty Baker stated his case for continuing to run Ryan Zimmerman out there on a daily basis in spite of the veteran infielder’s continued struggles at the plate when he spoke to reporters last week.

“I know a lot people are like, ‘Why are you still playing him?’ But see this guy is a carrier,” Baker explained.

“There are carriers and there are helpers. And the helper can help you for so long, but a carrier can carry you a week to ten days. You’ve seen him, right? A couple of weeks would be all we need. Especially at the right time.”

Since returning from his second DL stint of the season on August 20th, the 31-year-old, 12-year veteran was 19 for 97 (.196/.225/.278) with two doubles, two home runs, four walks and 25 Ks in 27 games and 102 plate appearances heading into last night’s series finale in Miami.

In an interview on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies before the third of three with the Marlins, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked if the Nats would be better off relegating Zimmerman to a bench role?

“Zim is one of our best defensive players, first of all,” Rizzo explained, “and he’s a guy who’s capable of carrying a team for an extended period of time and he’s got a track record of doing that and we’re going to go with what we feel is the best, impactful lineup that we can put on the field.

“If we had thought differently that Zim is not in that conversation where he gives us the most impactful lineup, we would make an adjustment, but we feel that Ryan Zimmerman is an impactful player that when he gets hot can keep you going and keep you afloat for a long, long time and carry a team and we’re going to put the best lineup that gives you a chance to win.”

Zimmerman went 2 for 4 in the series opener with the Marlins on Monday night, then after a night off on Tuesday, he came back with a 1 for 4 (2 K) game against the Nats’ NL East rivals on Wednesday night, hitting a three-run home run to left in the fourth to put the Nationals up 4-0 in what ended up an 8-3 win.

It was Zimmerman’s 15th home run of the season. He just missed hitting one in his first at bat, sending a long fly ball to the wall in center field in Marlins Park. He got hold of a hanging curve the second time up...

“The first one, he hit it a ton,” Baker told reporters after the win.

“We thought it was out of here too, and he had two great at bats and that was a big three-run homer that he hit.”

“It’s been a frustrating year,” Zimmerman acknowledged when he spoke to MASN’s Dan Kolko after the win. “But the last few games — the last week really — I’ve had some good at bats and tonight wasn’t any different, hit a couple balls hard and just hoping to continue that trend and carry it on into October.”

• We talked about last night’s win, Max Scherzer’s outing and more on Nats Nightly:

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