After Ryan Zimmerman earned National League Player of the Week and Month nods within the last few days, he went out and drove in the winning run in last night’s 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
D-Backs’ left-hander Robbie Ray held the Nationals to one run on two hits through 5 2⁄3 innings, giving up just two hits before Bryce Harper lined a two-out single to right in the sixth.
Ryan Zimmerman stepped in next and smoked a 2-2 slider, sending an RBI double to center field, over center fielder A.J. Pollock’s head to drive Harper in and break up a 1-1 tie.
“Robbie Ray looked like he was unhittable,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the win.
“What did he strike out, the first six or seven hitters or whatever it was. [ed. note - “It was five straight to start the game.”]
“He did that same thing against us last year in Arizona. He has an electric arm. He threw the ball great.”
Harper and Zimmerman finally got to the southpaw, with Zimmerman’s double his second hit of the night after he’d extended his current hit streak to ten-straight games, over which the 32-year-old first baseman is 20 for 41 (.488/.511/1.024).
The double was Zimmerman’s fourth over that stretch, to go along with six home runs, three walks and 10 Ks.
“Man, he’s hitting that ball hard too,” Baker said. “If Pollock can’t run it down out there, there aren’t very many outfielders that can. The main thing is that — what did he lead the league in last year, his exit velocity is unbelievable, and he’s getting some exit hits, and at the right time.
“He’s clutching up for us, big time, and he’s continuing in May the way he was in April.”
For the record, Zimmerman actually finished the 2016 campaign with the 13th-highest average exit velocity in the majors (94.1 mph).
So far this season, Zimmerman has the eighth-highest (94.4 mph) exit velocity in the majors, and this year, his launch angle is up a bit.
Zimmerman and the Nationals try to take the rubber match with the D-Backs this afternoon in the nation’s capital.
Here’s the Nats’ lineup for the third of three with the Diamondbacks in D.C.: