Ryan Zimmerman went went 100 plate appearances between his 19th and 20th home runs of the 2017 campaign, but the 20th was a big one in his career.
Zimmerman’s first-inning home run this afternoon in Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park gave him the all-time franchise lead in home runs.
He jumped past Montreal Expos’ outfielder Vladimir Guerrero on that list with his 235th career home run.
Zimmerman hit his 235th in his 6,374th plate appearance. Guerrero hit 234 in 4,220 PAs for the Expos between 1996-2003.
“It’s an honor any time you do something like that,” he said.
“I’m lucky to have been able to play my whole career here and to be in one place with great people and a great organization.
“I’m humbled and honored by it, and... pretty cool.”
Guerrero apparently thought it was pretty cool too. He gave Zimmerman a shout out on Twitter:
Records are made to be broken, congratulations to Ryan Zimmerman, being No. 2 is not bad ⚾️ https://t.co/QmFbrsmSDd— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) July 17, 2017
Zimmerman was going through a rough stretch over that homer-less streak, putting up a .202/.263/.236 line over his last 24 games before he collected three hits today vs the Reds after a planned off day on Sunday afternoon.
Dusty Baker talked earlier this weekend about the mini-slump which took the Nats’ first baseman from a .372/.415/.726 line on the year to .322/.369/.582 heading into today’s series finale in Cincinnati.
“Nobody could sustain that pace that he was on,” Baker told reporters, “but he spoiled us with it and he’s -- I had a discussion with him today that he’s had a tendency to be a streaky hitter because he has a lot of moveable parts, and when they’re on, they’re on, and when they’re off, they’re — like the more moveable parts you have, you’re searching for which one is not working, but usually it’s one that sets everything else in to sync.”
“I’m not worried about Ryan,” Baker continued, “and I told him that he shouldn’t worry either cause I could see him kind of stressing out a little bit after each at bat and just like, ‘Hey, man, when a good hitter is not hitting, the law of averages are on his side.’
“I believe in those law of averages if you have the ability and he certainly has the ability.”
“The last ten days or two weeks has been kind of a grind for me, which happens,” Zimmerman told Kolko.
“It’s a lot more fun when you’re getting hits every day, but I felt a lot better today — actually the last two days, I didn’t get much for it, but today was a little bit better, but to get a nice hit off a tough guy there to end the game and take some momentum with me to Anaheim.”
“There’s a whole bunch of records coming for him in this organization,” Baker said after the win.
“I think he’s been on 19 [HRs] it seemed like about a month, and so it was good to see him — and get three hits, because he’s been struggling a little bit -- it’s hard to believe hitting .325 or .330, but it’s good to see him get some hits and to see him respond after a day off.”
Up next for Zimmerman? Well, Anaheim, and two with the LA Angels like he said, but also the all-time home run lead for D.C.-based baseball players.
He’s currently two behind Frank Howard, who hit 237 over 4,412 plate appearances in seven seasons with the Washington Senators between 1965-1971.