Ryan Zimmerman was just 2 for 27 over his last eight games heading into Wednesday night’s matchup with the Miami Marlins in the nation’s capital. Zimmerman’s 4 for 4, five RBI, two home run night doubled that hit total in just a few hours.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies about sticking with Zimmerman in spite of his struggles over the last few months after his ridiculously hot start to the 2017 campaign.
Zimmerman put up a .330/.373/.596 line in the first half, with 22 doubles and 19 home runs in 80 games and 324 plate appearances prior to the All-Star Break, but before the third of four with the Marlins, Zimmerman was just 15 for 77 (.195/.250/.429) over 21 games and 84 PAs out of the Break.
Rizzo was asked if, in spite of Zimmerman’s overall struggles, the peripherals were still good like they were last year, when Zim’s exit velo was viewed by the team as a good sign that he was barreling it up even if he wasn’t getting rewarded with hits.
Come for Ryan Zimmerman's franchise record 906th career RBI.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 10, 2017
Stay for his 907th, 908th, 909th, and 910th career RBIs. pic.twitter.com/ZUYshcrAfc
“The exit velocity for Zim is still really good,” Rizzo said. “Zim’s always been a streaky hitter. He’s a guy that can carry you for three or four weeks in a row, you saw that at the beginning of the season.
“He had a great April, May, and into June, and since the All-Star Break he’s down a little bit.
“But he’s having good at bats, he had some great at bats in Chicago, had some big hits against the Cubs in that series, and if he’s feeling good, and he’s swinging it good, he’s one at bat away from getting on a roll and carrying us.”
In other words, no, Zimmerman is not coming out of the lineup any time soon.
Zimmerman homered the first time up tonight, taking Adam Conley deep to left for his 25th home run of the season, and picking up his 906th career RBI to give him the all-time franchise lead in RBIs (Montreal/Washington).
Zimmerman passed Tim Wallach (Expos), who happened (coincidentally, not ironically) to be in the opposing team’s dugout in his role as the Marlins’ bench coach.
An RBI double in the third gave the Nats a 2-0 lead, and he singled in a run in the fifth, walked in the sixth, and then homered again in the seventh (No. 26) for his fourth hit of the night.
When you're a triple shy of the cycle, but homer instead. pic.twitter.com/r4fbWc9YoA— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 10, 2017
“I’m just glad to get some hits,” Zimmerman joked with MASN’s Dan Kolko when asked if he’d have considered going for third (and a cycle) if the second home run hadn’t left the yard.
“It’s been a tough two-week stretch for me, but that’s part of the game, and you just got to kind of grind through it,” Zimmerman said.
“I go through some cold times,” Zimmerman added, “but hopefully today will kind of get me going and kind of take me the rest of the two months.”
Dusty Baker was asked if Zimmerman’s big night at the plate was a positive sign that he’s getting back on track.
“You guys have been around Zim long enough to know — because you’re the ones that told me what a streak hitter he was — but, boy, he had it going on tonight,” Baker told reporters after the 10-1 win.
“I mean, that was Zim’s night. He got a lot of hits, hit a couple homers, drove in a lot of runs and made an outstanding wide receiver-type catch down the line. It was a great night for Zim, he broke the record — and you had Tim Wallach over in the other dugout over there, and I’m sure he really appreciated what Zim has done because he was a heck of a player himself.”