Results tagged ‘ Jordan Zimmermann ’

To the Last Man

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To the last minute.

To the last second.

To the last man.

We fight!

Of all the things asked of Bryce Harper at such a young age, team leader has not been among them. But after a disappointing first two-thirds of the season, the 20-year-old spoke up the other day, then went out and provided the Nationals with a personal slogan, emblazoned on red camouflage workout shirts, prior to Friday’s game. It is a quote with which those who follow the young outfielder on Twitter may be familiar, from the movie Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen.

At just 20 years of age, Harper is stepping into the role of an emotional team leader.

At just 20 years of age, Harper is stepping into the role of an emotional team leader.

The emotional team leader role had been shouldered largely by Ian Desmond thus far in 2013, but he seemed happy to have a second voice in the clubhouse speaking up at this critical juncture in the season.

“I think they’re great,” he said of the T-shirts, displaying his own for the media to see. “It’s good to see him coming into his own.”

As for Harper’s ability to walk the walk, he launched a second deck home run and drove in two of Washington’s four runs Friday night as the Nationals got back in the win column with a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“He rises to the occasion pretty well, if you hadn’t noticed,” quipped Desmond of his teammate after the victory.

Desmond himself got Washington on the board first, taking advantage of a bad route by Carlos Gomez to snag a leadoff double in the fifth, then stealing third and scoring as the throw skipped down the left field line. It was one of the game’s little swings that has seemed to go against Washington all year, but finally broke in their favor.

Of course, in order to once again accomplish their goal of playing in baseball’s postseason, nearly everything will have to go right for the Nationals. That was Davey Johnson’s point of emphasis after the game.

“We have to play really good from here on out to have any chance at all,” he stressed. “I think our guys know that.”

Denard Span had his strongest month yet in July, batting .289/.349/.402 with his first two home runs.

Denard Span had his strongest month yet in July, batting .289/.349/.402 with his first two home runs.

They will need more offense from Denard Span, like the quality at-bat he put in leading off the top of the ninth inning Friday night after quickly falling behind former Nationals lefty Michael Gonzalez 0-2. He fouled off a fastball, took a couple of tough sliders for balls, fouled another breaking ball off, then spoiled the fifth slider of the at-bat for a humpback liner, over third baseman Jeff Bianchi’s head and into left field. He would speed into second for a leadoff double, later padding the Nationals lead back to three runs after the Brewers had gotten one back in the bottom of the eighth.

The Nationals will also need the likes of Ryan Mattheus to fill the void in the seventh inning as he did with one of his best appearances of the season, and easily the strongest since returning from the disabled list. Mattheus got a strike out followed by a pair of grounders from the top two hitters in the Milwaukee order, following Jordan Zimmermann’s six scoreless innings with one of his own.

Speaking of Zimmermann, Washington needs his return to his first half form, as well as for Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez to continue to do what they have done most of the year. Dan Haren, who has pitched well in four starts since his own return from the DL, will be counted on to continue to do so the rest of the way.

But there is a sense among some – Harper and Desmond included – that they need a little extra fire to make all these things happen. If they can continue to lead the way as they did on Friday night, maybe they can close the 6.5 games remaining between themselves and a postseason spot over the final 53 games.

Highlights: 8.2.13

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8.2.13 – Nationals 4, Brewers 1

Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann delivered six scoreless frames for his career-high 13th win of the season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Bryce Harper tied the team lead with his 16th home run and drove in a pair.

It Was Over When: Washington added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to pad the lead and provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 8.2.13

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Washington Nationals (52-56) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (46-62)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-6, 3.19) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 2.83) 

The Nationals have offered a couple of lengthy extensions to players in the last couple of seasons, first signing Gio Gonzalez to a five-year deal with a sixth year club option last January, then following that with Ryan Zimmerman’s seven-year deal, which will retain the Face of the Franchise for the foreseeable future. But Thursday evening, the club offered arguably its most important extension yet, to its top executive, Mike Rizzo.

In addition to a multi-year contract renewal, Rizzo was promoted to President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, a show of faith for the tremendous strides he has made with the Nationals organization. During Rizzo’s tenure as Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and GM, Washington saw its farm system rise from dead last all the way to the top of the Baseball America rankings and saw the Major League club go from 103 losses in 2009 to 98 wins last season. The club now consists of one of the youngest, most cost-controlled rosters in the game, with a large window of contention and a bright future ahead.

“It’s humbling and very fulfilling for me,” said Rizzo in the dugout at Miller Park before the Nationals opened the final third of the 2013 season against the Milwaukee Brewers. “I’m not going to change the way I do my job one bit. I’m going to attack the job the way I always have, with hard work and good decisions, and continue to hire good people and let them do their work.”

Rizzo has been in charge of Washington’s drafts since the 2007 season, when he signed Ross Detwiler and second-round pick Jordan Zimmermann, out of little-known Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He took Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper number one overall in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010, but also the likes of Taylor Jordan (ninth round, ’09) Nathan Karns (12th round, ’09) and quick rising Minor League arms A.J. Cole (fourth round, ’10) and Robbie Ray (12th round, ’10).

“I think it’s great,” said manager Davey Johnson of Rizzo’s promotion and extension. “I’ve made no secret I think he’s a great baseball man.”

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Zimmermann RHP

A WERTHY P.O.M. CANDIDATE

During the month of July, Jayson Werth led the National League in OPS (1.072), on-base percentage (.450) and RBI (22). He also ranked among the Senior Circuit’s top five in home runs (tied-second, seven), batting average (second, .367) and slugging percentage (fifth, .622).

CLASS OF 2005

A closer look at where Ryan Zimmerman ranks among the MLB Draft Class of 2005, which included, among others: Ryan Braun, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon, Andrew McCutchen, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Upton.

Home Runs: Second, 165 (Braun, 211)

RBI: Second, 647 (Braun, 681)

Hits: First, 1208

BELOW THE SURFACE

The .547 winning percentage (309-256) posted by the Nationals Minor League system currently ranks fourth among Major League Baseball’s 30 franchises. Washington trails only Houston (.573), Texas (.566), and San Francsico (.554). The Nationals system has registered winning records each of the last five seasons (2008-12), but has never finished among the top five.

What to Watch for: 7.30.13

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Washington Nationals (52-54) vs. Detroit Tigers (59-45)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-8, 2.85) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 2.68)

The All-Star break provides a number of opportunities for players. The four days are a chance to catch your breath, lick your wounds, and get a mental restart for the stretch run. For managers though, it also provides a chance to reset the pitching rotation to best match up with opponents.

In Davey Johnson’s case, that meant he could line up Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez for this two-game set against Detroit, beginning Tuesday night in the Motor City. It also means Jordan Zimmermann will get to start back in his home state of Wisconsin on Friday night in Milwaukee, where he delivered six strong innings to earn his fourth win in a very strong month of August last season.

Of course, it also means the rotation will roll over once more, setting up the top three Washington starters to pitch during the Nationals upcoming August 5-7 home series with Atlanta. With a little tinkering, Johnson could work around the off days to do the same for the road series against the Braves, August 16-18 at Turner Field.

The ability to set up the top of the rotation is great, but it is made all the more important by the success of the rest of the starters, like the three huge starts delivered by Ross Ohlendorf, Dan Haren and Taylor Jordan over the weekend. After one of their toughest losses of the season in the opening game of the doubleheader with the Mets on Friday – and with All-Star Game starter Matt Harvey and Nats nemesis Dillon Gee on the horizon – Washington needed big performances from all three to have a successful weekend.

That’s exactly what they got. Ohlendorf, Haren and Jordan combined to deliver 20 innings over which each allowed just a single earned run (1.35 combined ERA) on 14 total hits and four walks while striking out 21 Mets batters. The offense did just enough to muster a win Friday night, with Ryan Zimmerman providing the ninth-inning heroics, then powered three home runs Saturday and came alive to set season highs in hits and runs on Sunday. That gave the Nationals three straight wins heading into their current Midwest road trip.

If the rotation can continue to feed off of itself and the lineup behind it finds its groove, the Nationals will be as well positioned as they could possibly hope for the upcoming division showdowns with Atlanta that may well determine the fate of the division.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Harper LF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Werth RF

6. Desmond SS

7. Span CF

8. Ramos C

9. Tracy DH

RHP Strasburg

BETTER AT-BATS = BETTER BALL

The Nationals won four of the final five games on their season-long 11-game homestand. They batted .302 (52-for-172) and plated 29 runs during the 4-1 surge since last Thursday, averaging 5.8 runs per game over that stretch.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .331 (56-for-169) with 23 walks, seven doubles, 11 home runs, 30 runs scored, 32 RBI, and a .410 OBP in 48 games since returning from the disabled list (right hamstring) on June 4. During the month of July, Werth paces the National League in batting average (.376), OPS (1.103), on-base percentage (.455) and RBI (21). He also ranks among the Senior Circuit’s top five in home runs (tied-second, seven), slugging percentage (third, .647) and hits (tied-fifth, 32).

THREE GRAND

With Wilson Ramos’ bases-clearing blast in the third inning on Sunday, the Nationals have now blasted three grand slams in 2013. The club went 70 games before hitting a grand slam, with Ian Desmond providing the first of the year, in the 11th inning on June 19 in Philadelphia. Since then, Washington has collected three in 36 games, also including Ryan Zimmerman’s shot against San Diego on July 7 in The District.

What to Watch for: 7.24.13

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Pittsburgh Pirates (59-39) vs. Washington Nationals (48-52)

LHP Francisco Liriano (9-4, 2.44) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-7, 2.97)

The Nationals look to end their season-high five-game losing streak as they send Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face Francisco Liriano. It will be Strasburg’s first appearance against the Pirates at home in D.C. since his Major League debut on June 8, 2010, in which he fanned 14 in a 5-2 victory.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Hairston LF

2. Rendon SS

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Ramos C

7. Span CF

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Strasburg RHP

THE BUC STOPS HERE

Strasburg has had great success against the Pirates thus far in his career, going 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA (7 ER/20.0 IP) and 35 strikeouts (15.8 K/9 IP) against just four walks (8.75 K/BB rats) in his first three starts. The Nationals have won all three of those games against Pittsburgh.

‘CATT’S MEOW

Gio Gonzalez (ninth, 2.89), Stephen Strasburg (12th, 2.97) and Jordan Zimmermann (14th, 3.01) all rank among the National League’s top 15 in ERA this season. Nationals Pitching Coach Steve McCatty’s rotation is the only one in Major League Baseball with three pitchers ranked among their respective league’s top 15 in ERA. Only St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle and Texas have two pitchers ranked on either of those lists.

WERTH THE WAIT

Jayson Werth is batting .322 (48-for-149) with 20 walks, seven doubles, 10 home runs, 25 runs scored, 29 RBI and a .401 OBP in 42 games since returning from the Disabled List (right hamstring) on June 4.  Werth’s 1.126 OPS in July ranks third in the National League behind only Hanley Ramirez (1.167) and Andrew McCutchen (1.147).

The Second “Half”

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There has been plenty written about the Nationals the past few days and what it will take for them to play in October this season.

We’ll leave the “to reach x wins, they need to go xx-xx the rest of the way” predictions to others. As Davey Johnson and his troops have expressed over recent weeks, what the team needs to do is play at the level its capable of with more consistency. It doesn’t really matter how many games are left, or against whom. We all know this team is capable – when they are playing their best – of beating anyone.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

They’ll get their first test immediately out of the All-Star break. The suddenly hot Los Angeles Dodgers come to town to open an 11-game, 10-day homestand, during which they will throw recently acquired Nationals nemesis Ricky Nolasco, along with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Things don’t get easier from there, as the contending Pittsburgh Pirates visit for four games beginning next week. The homestand concludes with a Matt Harvey-headlined doubleheader followed by a pair of weekend games against the scrappy New York Mets.

Of course, the Nationals will counter with arguable the healthiest team they’ve fielded since the first week of the season. With the lineup at full strength, the only pieces missing are Ross Detwiler and Ryan Mattheus, both expected back off the disabled list soon. Washington will also be throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann in the three Dodgers games, putting its own best pitching foot forward. Dan Haren, who has a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in his two outings since his own return from the DL may be starting to show signs of being the solid veteran pickup that Mike Rizzo and company were hoping for when they signed him last offseason. With Taylor Jordan solidly holding down the fort at the back of the rotation in the meantime, the starting staff looks poised to lead the way.

Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano has closed out 25 of 29 save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA on the season. Tyler Clippard has been one of the best relievers in the game, winning six games out of the ‘pen while posting better than a strikeout per inning and a sub-2.00 ERA. Ian Krol and Fernando Abad have given Washington two lefty relievers they did not have at the beginning of the year, both joining Clippard in the sub-2.00 club thus far. Factor in some solid contributions out of the long-man spot by Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.74 ERA) and the bullpen looks as solid as it has all year.

It’s taken a few months for all these pieces to come together and be on the field at the same time. But with a fully rested and healthy squad coming back from the All-Star break, these Nationals look as well constructed as they have been all year to finally put together the extended run that has thus far eluded them, the one they all know they will need to bring October NATITUDE back to The District.

What to Watch for: 7.16.13 All Star Edition

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American League vs. National League

 RHP Max Scherzer (Tigers) 13-1, 3.19 vs. RHP Matt Harvey (Mets) 7-2, 2.35 

Baseball’s best will take the field tonight in the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York City. The Nationals sent four members of their organization to the Big Apple, including Bryce Harper who will start the game in center field for the National League. Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann also made the trip after earning 12 wins in the first half of the season but will not pay due to a neck injury. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson and Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz were also selected to be a part of the Midsummer Classic.

AMERICAN LEAGUE LINEUP:

1. Mike Trout (Angels) LF

2. Robinson Cano (Yankees) 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 3B

4. Chris Davis (Orioles) 1B

5. Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) RF

6. David Ortiz (Red Sox) DH

7. Adam Jones (Orioles) CF

8. Joe Mauer (Twins) C

9. J.J. Hardy (Orioles) SS

RHP Max Scherzer (Tigers)

NATIONAL LEAGUE LINEUP:

1. Brandon Phillips (Reds) 2B

2. Carlos Beltran (Cardinals) RF

3. Joey Votto (Reds) 1B

4. David Wright (Mets) 3B

5. Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) LF

6. Yadier Molina (Cardinals) C

7. Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) SS

8. Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) DH

9. Bryce Harper (Nationals) CF

RHP Matt Harvey (Mets)

20 YEARS YOUNG

Harper will be the youngest player in history to start an All-Star Game for the National League. He will also be the first player in Nationals history to start in the game and the first player to represent the Nationals in more than one All-Star game.

Harper was the second-youngest player in history to participate in the Home Run Derby; Ken Griffey Jr. was 42 days younger when he participated in 1990. Harper came in second place after blasting eight home runs in each round.

THE SKIPPER’S RETURN

Johnson was invited by Giants skipper Bruce Bochy. Johnson will return to New York City where he managed the Mets from 1984-90 and his 1986 club won the World Series in a memorable, seven-game Fall Classic. He remains the Mets’ winningest manager (both in victories and winning percentage) and was inducted into the Mets Hall-of-Fame on August 1, 2010. Nationals Head Athletics Trainer Lee Kuntz will join Johnson in New York City. Kuntz is in his seventh season with the Nationals and will be participating in his first All-Star Game.

ALL-STAR HISTORY

In both 2010 and 2011, the winning pitcher in the All-Star game was a member of the Washington Nationals. In 2010, Matt Capps struck out one batter in the sixth inning to earn the victory and end the American League’s 13-game win streak. The following year, Tyler Clippard became the first pitcher to win an All-Star game after facing only one batter and allowing a hit to win the All-Star game.

In 2012, the Nationals had the most players selected to the All-Star game in team history when Bryce Harper, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, and Ian Desmond were all chose to represent the National League.

What to Watch for: 7.11.13

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Washington Nationals (47-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-47)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.57) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.90)

The Nationals hope to follow up on their victory Wednesday night as they aim for a four-game road split in Phildelphia. Washington bashed at least four home runs for the ninth time this season in its 5-1 victory Sunday; five of those games have come with Gio Gonzalez, last night’s winner, on the hill.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

LUCKY NUMBER 13

Jordan Zimmermann takes his second crack at his 13th win of the season, which would be a National League high and would set a new career mark for the right-hander, before even hitting the All-Star break. Zimmermann is 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six starts against NL East foes this year and the Nationals have won five of his six intradivisional starts.

RISP-Y BUSINESS

The Nationals are 0-for-16 with RISP during their current series at Citizens Bank Park after going 12-for-35 (.343) during their just-completed 3-game home sweep of the Padres.

IT STARTED WITH A SLAM

Ian Desmond’s grand slam in the 11th inning capped the scoring in Washington’s 6-2 victory here at CBP on June 19. Desmond’s June 19 slam seems to have sparked the fortunes of Nationals, who are a 13-8 (.619) and sport a +23 run differential (104-81) since.

What to Watch for: 7.10.13

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Washington Nationals (46-44) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (45-46)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.14) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-2, 2.73)

The Nationals look to get back on track behind Gio Gonzalez in a battle of lefties, as they take on Cliff Lee in Philly. Gonzalez is riding a personal three-game winning streak, and his 2.20 ERA since May 11 is the fifth-best in the National League over that stretch.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. LaRoche 1B

7. Rendon 2B

8. Ramos C

9. Gonzalez LHP

ALL-STARS GALORE

Bryce Harper, Jordan Zimmermann, Davey Johnson and Head Athletic Trainer Lee Kuntz will represent Washington and the National League in the 84th MLB All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field in New York City. Harper will be both the youngest player in history to start an All-Star Game for the NL and the first player to represent the Nationals in multiple All-Star games (also 2012). Zimmermann currently leads the NL with 12 wins and is 14-0 in his last 22 starts at home dating to May 2012. Ian Desmond has a chance to join them as a Final Vote candidate. You can vote for #DesiIn13 at nationals.com/vote through 4:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

CATT’S MEOW

Stephen Strasburg (sixth, 2.45), Jordan Zimmermann (seventh, 2.57) and Gio Gonzalez (18th, 3.14) all rank among the NL’s top 20 in ERA this season. Among teams with at least three qualified starters, the Strasburg-Zimmermann-Gonzalez triumvirate is baseball’s best as they’ve combined on a 2.72 ERA (104 ER/344.0 IP) this year.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL HISTORY

2008 – Left fielder Wily Mo Pena records 11 putouts to establish a Nationals single game record for outfielders in an 11-inning 7-5 setback vs. Arizona.

What to Watch for: 7.7.13

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San Diego Padres (40-48) vs. Washington Nationals (45-42)

LHP Robbie Erlin (1-1, 4.34) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.24)

The Nationals earned their third consecutive win and second straight over the Padres Saturday, clinching a third season series in as many years. Washington sends Stephen Strasburg – the Major League ERA leader since May 11 at 1.29 (8 ER/56.0 IP) – to the mound in search of the three-game sweep.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Desmond SS

3. Harper LF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. Werth RF

6. Rendon 2B

7. Moore 1B

8. Ramos C

9. Strasburg RHP

WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS

Bryce Harper became the youngest position player ever elected to start an All-Star Game and Jordan Zimmermann was named to the National League pitching staff for the 2013 Midsummer Classic in New York. Davey Johnson will also be participating as a member of the coaching staff, as will athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. Ian Desmond has been named as a Final Vote candidate, and can reach the game with the help of fan voting at nationals.com/vote.

SAFE AT HOME

Though he did not earn his 13th win of the season, All-Star Jordan Zimmermann extended his personal unbeaten streak at Nationals Park to 22 consecutive starts. The Nationals have won the last 14 games Zimmermann has started in D.C., with Jordan earning the win in 11 of them.

THE POWER OF 3

When scoring three or more runs this season, as they did in their 20th comeback win of the year on Saturday, the Nationals are 40-10 (.800). However, when plating two or fewer runs, Washington is just 5-32 (.135).

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