Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez went with Matt Adams against Atlanta right-hander Anibal Sanchez in Friday night’s series opener in the nation’s capital, but he said he’d likely go with Ryan Zimmerman at first base against left-hander Sean Newcomb in the second game of three with the Braves in D.C. on Saturday, before it was postponed.
The lineup for that game was never released since the decision came early, a good five hours before the scheduled start time.
Zimmerman put up a .324/.405/.541 line against left-handed pitchers over 20 games and 42 plate appearances early this season, before he ended up on the DL with an oblique injury back on May 9th.
With a .165/.214/.342 line against right-handers over his first 33 games and 84 PAs, a first base platoon with Matt Adams (.294/.372./607 vs righties, .250/.294/.406 vs left-handed pitchers) makes sense.
“[Zimmerman is] going to get his at bats at first base because he’s an impact player and a guy that’s carried us for months at a time when he was healthy in the past,” Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies earlier this week, “so he’ll play first base for us. It will give us an opportunity to get [Matt] Adams in there against some right-handed starters and come off the bench against right-handed relievers, and have a bench of a [Mark] Reynolds, Adams, and Zimmerman all available to hit the long ball for us is an extremely valuable asset to have down the stretch.”
Zimmerman told reporters before the first of three with the Braves, that he knew the Nats needed him to produce, because they put themselves in a tough spot with a .500 record after 96 games.
A three-game series with the NL East’s second-place team was a good place to start if the Nationals wanted to climb up the standings.
“I think every series from here on out is a big series,” Zimmerman said.
“We didn’t do ourselves any favors with the way we played in the first half, but at the same time we’re fortunate to be in the position that we’re in, I think we could be further out of it, so we’ve just got to take every series no matter whether we’re playing guys in our division or other guys and we’ve got to try to win every series. Technically it is bigger cause you have a team that’s in front of you and you can kind of control the situation, so when you play these guys or the Phillies they’re obviously going to be huge, but with the situation we’re in, honestly every series is a big series.”
It’s looking like Zimmerman’s opportunities might come mostly against left-handers, as good as Adams has been swinging it, though we’d guess Martinez is going to put him in there against a righty at some point.