Results tagged ‘ No-hitter ’

Jordan Zimmermann named NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Washington NationalsOne day after throwing the first no-hitter in Washington Nationals history, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was named the National League Player of the Week. Major League Baseball made the announcement this afternoon on MLB Network.

Zimmermann allowed one walk and struck out 10 Miami Marlins in a masterful performance to close the regular season with the first no-hitter thrown by a D.C. pitcher since Bobby Burke on Aug. 8, 1931.

In earning his second NL Player of the Week honors, Zimmermann allowed only five balls to leave the infield all afternoon and threw only 25 total balls to Marlins batters. He faced 28 batters, threw 23 first-pitch strikes and needed only 104 pitches to complete the historic achievement.

In the eighth complete game and fourth shutout of his career, Zimmermann almost certainly turned in the best pitching performance in Nationals history.

According to the Bill James Game Score, one metric for measuring dominant pitching performances, Zimmermann’s outing ranked as the best in Nationals (2005-present) history with a score of 96 – besting the 95 score earned in his shutout over the San Diego Padres earlier this season.

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This is the fourth NL Player of the Week honor earned by a Nationals player this season – including Zimmermann for the first week of June.  First baseman Adam LaRoche and OF Jayson Werth also took home the award this season.

Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.

A day of celebration

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by Mike Feigen

For 20 teams throughout the major leagues, the day after the conclusion of the regular season is often a time for reflection, a chance to digest a year of ups and downs, of wins and losses, of hopes dashed and chances blown. For 10 others, it is an opportunity to look forward to the postseason, to dream of a magical championship run yet to be scripted.

The Washington Nationals are one of those fortunate 10 — but the looking forward part can wait, at least for one day.

Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, a picturesque afternoon in the nation’s capital, brought a sense of history to a town built upon extraordinary achievements. Jordan Zimmermann, the stoic leader of a dominant pitching staff, entered Game No. 162 of the regular season looking to log a few innings of work as a tune-up for the playoffs.

Instead, he threw the first no-hitter in Nationals history.

the Washington Nationals playt the Miami MarlinsZimmermann, 28 years old with the number 27 on his back, turned in a performance worthy of the history books. The right-hander struck out 10 Miami Marlins, walked just one and needed just 104 pitches to complete his effort. He became the third D.C.-based hurler to record a no-hitter, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Walter Johnson (July 1, 1920) and the less-heralded Bobby Burke (Aug. 8, 1931).

He also needed help from his defense.

Rookie outfielder Steven Souza Jr., inserted by manager Matt Williams into left field in the top of the ninth inning with the Nationals still clinging to a 1-0 lead, made one of the finest game-ending catches in Nationals history. The 6-foot-4, 224-pound thoroughbred reacted quickly as Marlins leadoff hitter Christian Yelich drove a 2-1 fastball deep toward the gap in left-center, turning and galloping back and to his left as the ball hurtled through the air. Gaining ground on the deep liner, Souza Jr. left his feet, glove on his left hand outstretched, his open right hand ready to protect the ball, his body nearly horizontal to the ground.

The crowd of 35,085, standing and roaring throughout the final inning, briefly fell silent. Zimmermann, whose head dropped upon contact, turned to watch the final few feet of the flight of the ball — and the final few feet of Souza Jr.’s leap.

Then, bedlam.

Zimmermann raised both arms high, Souza Jr. raised his glove in the air, ball secure in its webbing, as teammates rushed toward the center of the diamond. For a surreal 30 seconds, Nationals Park became a deafeningly loud sea of high-fives, with families sharing memories and strangers hugging red-clad strangers, beneath the canopy of a perfect, blue, late-September sky.

It was an immaculate ending. It could be a beautiful beginning. October awaits.

So close…. yet so far


 
Scott Olsen 10.JPGLess than three weeks after the Braves were no-hit by the Rockies, they seemed destined to sink into despair yet again.

Scott Olsen was dealing. After seven innings, the Braves were hitless and Olsen had extended his scoreless inning streak to 20. He took a no-hitter into the eighth and after Matt Diaz was called out looking with a full count it seemed like the Braves were going to be no-hit for the second time this season–Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first no-hitter of the season against the Braves on April  17.

“I think if that would have happened,” Chipper Jones said, “you probably have to put us all on a suicide watch.”

Scott Olsen needed only five more outs and he would forever be remembered.

“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Olsen said about the potential no-hit bid. “I was thinking about it early. I thought about it in the fourth and fifth inning. But it’s one of those things that’s hard–real hard–to do.”

David Ross proved why it was so hard and made sure that didn’t happen. He singled to left on the second pitch, just past a leaping Ian Desmond. (Reaction below.)


Scott Olsen no-hitter broken up.JPGAs quickly as the no-hitter was lost, the game was tied 2-2 after Jason Heyward laced a two-run single to left off Tyler Clippard with the bases loaded.

How quickly the tide turned. The Braves had runners on the corner with one out. Clippard settled down and got Omar Infante to ground into a double play to end the eighth. But he found himself in trouble yet again in the ninth. The Braves loaded the bases and the man who broke up the no-hitter found himself at the plate once again. He wasn’t so lucky. Ross grounded into an inning ending double play.

Adam Kennedy drew a walk to lead off the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman doubled and the Braves intentionally walked Cristian Guzman to load the bases. With the infield in and zero outs, Willie “Walk-off” Harris ripped a single into center field to give the Nats their 15th win of the season. They didn’t win their 15th game last year until June 6 (they were 15-36 at that point in 2009).

It is a different year and you can sense it everywhere: in the clubhouse, in the stands and, of course, on the Metro. This game had everything any fan could ask for: a possible no-hitter, suspense late into the game, home runs, key double plays and a walk-off win.


Walk-off Willie Harris c.JPGHere are some memorable quotes as people waited for the Green line to Greenbelt.

“I ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl, got half drunk and watched our Nationals win. It was like a night in heaven.”

“That was one of the best games I have ever seen.”

“Talk about a heart attack inducing game.”

“The Nats would have lost this game last year. They are winning a lot of close games this season. Last year, they looked for ways to lose… this year they are finding ways to win.”

“Tyler Clippard for Cy Young.”

“Zimmerman looked like Air Jordan jumping out there… If only Scottie Pippen could have caught the ball.”

His buddy quickly responded, “Great basketball analogy at a baseball game.”

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