Twenty-nine games into his 13th major league campaign, Ryan Zimmerman leads the National League in hits (47), doubles (12), home runs (13), RBIs (34), batting average (.435), slugging percentage (.907), wRC+ (252) and fWAR (+2.3).
Zimmerman’s first hit of the night on Saturday (a two-run home run) gave him a 13-game hit streak over which he’s gone 26 for 53 (.491/.525/1.057) with six doubles and eighth home runs.
Dusty Baker has seen players he’s managed on runs like this before, as he told reporters after last night’s 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“That’s what I was thinking in the dugout, that’s Bonds-like, you know,” Baker said, referring, of course, to Barry Bonds, the former San Francisco Giants’ slugger, who posted a combined .311/.461/.664 line and 162-game average of 34 doubles and 50 home runs during the ten years the two spent together in the Bay Area.
“He continues to stay on the ball,” Baker said, returning to Zimmerman.
“He’s been hot for an extremely long period of time, but we’ve got to watch him. I give him days off from time to time, to make sure he doesn’t tire, make sure he doesn’t — cause when you’re tired, then you end up getting hurt sometimes, and with his history, we’ve got to keep him healthy.
“He’s probably not playing tomorrow. I got to play [Adam] Lind tomorrow, and Lind has been doing the job too. So this is as good a start as anybody I’ve ever seen.”
Zimmerman averaged just 90+ games played over the past three seasons as he’s dealt with a variety of injuries, but Baker said he is determined to manage his first baseman carefully in an attempt to get him through the full season.
He’s started 26 of the Nationals’ first 30 games this season, and Zimmerman is getting another day off in this afternoon’s series finale with the Phillies.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for the third of three in Citizens Bank Park: