Ryan Zimmerman, whose disdain for Grapefruit League games led to him taking most of his at bats against minor league pitchers and filled up more than a few columns this Spring, has gotten off to a relatively slow start, 3 for 22 (.136/.240/.273) through seven games, but Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez isn’t quite ready to move the 14-year veteran out of the cleanup spot just yet.
After Zimmerman went 0 for 4 with a K in Thursday afternoon’s loss to the New York Mets in the home opener, Martinez was asked how committed he was to keeping the first baseman where he’s had him thus far this season.
“I’m very committed,” Martinez said.
“His at bats haven’t been bad, they haven’t been. Hit a couple balls hard over the past week, so I like him hitting fourth.”
Martinez’s squad charged out the gate this season with four straight wins, but now they’ve lost three straight heading into today’s matinee with the Mets.
“I want to watch these guys play,” Martinez said when asked what he’s seen in the wins and the losses.
“Right now the last three games, not so good. The first four games, really good. So the fortunate thing is we play a game Saturday, they get a day off, they get refreshed, then there’s a whole lot more baseball left, so we’re looking forward to it.”
As a team, the Nationals went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, with the only hit an RBI double by Anthony Rendon in the third, but the opportunities were there, including in the sixth, when Brian Goodwin singled and Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper walked to load the bases with no one out in what was then a 4-2 game in the Mets’ favor.
Ryan Zimmerman popped to right, however, Howie Kendrick lined out to short, and Trea Turner got punched out on a called strike three he didn’t agree with, arguing with home plate umpire Doug Eddings and getting ejected.
“We had an opportunity to score some runs right there and we just couldn’t pull it off,” Martinez said.
“In Howie’s defense, he hit a rope to shortstop, so we just couldn’t get it done.”
How will the Nationals fare against Mets’ lefty Steven Matz?