Tag Archives: Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman is the starting third baseman for the Washington Nationals. Often seen as the “face of the franchise” Zimmerman has lead the Nats to 6 walk-off home run wins. In 2008, I dubbed him “Mr. Walkoff”

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2014 Washington Nationals: Denouement

Last month, the Washington Nationals of 2014 completed the 4th best season in DC baseball history, but a second division title — they ran away with the National League East still yielded a first round exit. In the NLDS, they faced the San Francisco Giants, winners of the play-in game and lowest seeded team in NL, but eventual world champions. Four games later, the Nats were eliminated, despite strong pitching. Some strange mental errors and an opportunistic Giants squad overtook the Nats for two reasons:

The Nats bats with four days off did not hit. Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper, the two youngest hitters on the team, were able to handle being pitched to low and a way. The rest of the lineup was largely helpless and the manager of the Nats, Matt Williams made no adjustments to the lineup, leaving Harper at 6th throughout the whole series. Questions about that decision-making as well as hitting coach Rick Shu are there to be asked.

Williams decision making has been fairly scrutinized. I don’t mind that he pulled Jordan Zimmermann in Game 2 with two outs in the ninth after yielding a walk. Facing Buster Posey for a fourth time with a tired arm wasn’t ideal. It just didn’t work out that Drew Storen did not get it done.

Game 4 proved to be much more baffling as Williams inserted Aaron Barrett into the 7th inning of an elimination game on the road instead of Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen. Stephen Strasburg, who had a decent Game 1 start, was also available, but my view is the best relievers available were the best choice. Williams never called for them and the Nats fell.

Was Williams management of the NLDS a fireable offense? Probably not, but I’m not saying I’d be disappointed; I could get used to spelling “Weird Wuss” with curly Ws, I think. His peers voted him NL Manager of the Year, perhaps in the way that I would suggest Hunter Strickland needs a larger stage, like closer on an NL East team. The Nats were not ready for playoff baseball, likely in part due to their success in the last month of season where the dominated weak NL East teams in the New York Mets and Miami Marlins. That schedule can’t be helped – it’s just the way it worked out. However, sticking to a lineup that wasn’t producing and sticking to bullpen roles rather than game situations is hardly unique to Williams.

Or maybe it was the red jerseys.

Now, let’s review the roster:

THE LINEUP

Denard Span‘s NLDS was a microcosm of the Nats year — when he hit, they tended to win. When he didn’t, they lost. 2014 was his most productive season, setting a modern DC hits record. Unfortunately, he only hit in game 3.

Anthony Rendon put up superstar numbers, led the NL in runs and played third base well. He also hit in the NLDS, going 7 for 20.

Adam LaRoche had a typical streaky season, but still played 140 games, had a .362 OBP, hit 26 homers and drove in 92 runs. He also hit a walk-off against the Arizona Diamonbacks in extra innings. He is done in D.C. as there will be no spot for him with Ryan Zimmerman headed to 1st.

Jayson Werth had another strong season at the plate (.292/.394/.455), but was useless in the NLDS. Really useless. His defense is starting to slip, so perhaps a move to left is in order. He also drives too fast.

Bryce Harper garnered more controversy than he deserved and miss significant chunks of time, but after he returned he was pretty much the same outstanding player he’s been his whole career. He also hit three homers in the NLDS. When he’s healthy he’s awesome.

Ryan Zimmerman
couldn’t stay healthy, first injuring his thumb and then tearing his hamstring. He’s done playing third base on a regular basis due to his arthritic shoulder and will probably move to first next season. He’s still a great hitter and not playing third may keep him in the lineup, though he got injured on the basepaths. He continues to be a consummate professional.

Ian Desmond strikes out a ton and tends to make more errors than he should, especially early in the season. He’s in a contract year and with no viable second baseman on the roster, he’ll probably be resigned and continue to put up 20-20 numbers for a few more seasons, but strike out a ton.

Wilson Ramos stared the season batting cleanup, couldn’t make it out of the first game without a trip the DL. He only played 88 games and runs very slowly. Aside from the WILLLLLL-SSSSSSON chant, a forgettable year in several respects. It’s still worth mentioning that the Nats traded Matt Capps for him.

Asdrubal Cabrera was solid at second base for the most part after being acquired from Cleveland for the stretch run and even had a decent NLDS compared to other Nats hitters (ejection notwithstanding) but is probably on his way out. A decent acquisition though, if only to keep Danny Espinosa out of the lineup.

THE ROTATION

Stephen Strasburg tried to hard to make a slider work, but in an up and down season still tied for the NL lead in strikeouts, pitched 30 more innings and walked fewer. He gave up more hits, but locked in during the stretch. His postseason debut was okay, but poor defense helped lead to an early departure.

Doug Fister
got traded for Robbie Ray and hero to fans of a certain age Steve Lombardozi. Fister went 16-6 in 25 starts with only 24 walks and no stolen bases. He also won Game 3. Good trade Mike Rizzo.

Jordan Zimmermann had a very strong 2014, earning an All-Star bid, being arguably the Nats best pitcher and throwing the first no-hitter in D.C. since the Hoover administration. He had an unflappable demeanor and came within one out of a complete game shutout in Game 2, but he walked Joe Panik when umpire ___ squeezed the zone a bit and got lifted. So close…2015 will likely be his final year in D.C. as he is a free agent after the season and indications are he’s ready for a change of scenary.

Gio Gonzalez can be an outstanding pitcher when he’s trusting his curve ball. When he isn’t, he runs into trouble. Always known for a high pitch count, Gonzalez has had trouble in three starts over two postseasons and is prone to brutal fielding lapses. He’s signed the longest of anyone in the rotation.

Tanner Roark was the player the Nats got for the Cristain Guzman rental. If he never pitches another game, it was robbery. Thirty-one starts, 2.85 ERA, 15 wins. That’s after going 7-1 in 2013.

THE BULLPEN

Tyler Clippard, while pigeon-holed into the 8th inning with a lead spot, continued to be a reliable, durable reliever. He did not fare well when sent into close, but overall remained the most consistent fireman on the team AND WHY WOULDN’T YOU USE HIM IN AN ELIMINATION GAME, MATT WILLIAMS?

Drew Storen had a bounceback regular season that had him return to closing late, but that is overshadowed by his giving up the tying run in Game 1 and even giving up a run in Game 3. Seemingly, he’s next year’s closer though Clippard should get a shot.

Rafael Soriano had a strong first half as closer, but fell off the table and almost off the roster in the playoffs. He’s not coming back.

Aaron Barret – Joe West broke him. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. He shouldn’t have been brought in late in an elimination game.

Jerry Blevins was great against lefties. And only lefties. Why do I know this and #9 doesn’t?

Craig Stammen had some big long relief appearances and continiued to be solid.

Ross Detwiler did not make the playoff roster and did not have the faith of the management. It’s a far cry from 2012 when he made the best start of the playoffs that year. He’s headed out of town.

There is some discussion that next year will be a last shot with the current core as Zimmermann and Desmond are in the final years of their contracts. I expect Desmond will be signed and Zimmermann will follow the money to a city not too far from a rural area. Span’s option has got to be picked up because he provides value on the field or as a trade piece. Who plays second base is undetermined. Werth is showing his age in right and will be hard pressed to match those numbers again. Maybe switch him and Harper in the outfield. An extension for Fister wouldn’t upset me and I’m okay with dangling Gio out to other teams. THe NL East should be more challenging as the Marlins and Mets are showing signs of ascendency. The Phillies are not a factor and the Braves stayed in it longer than they really should have in 2014. More divisional competition may help the Nats out and keep them sharp too.

It’s been over two weeks since the season ended and I still miss it. We’ve got the hot stove, winter meetings and of course the court figths with the Baltimore Orioles ahead, but that’s just not the same being able to turn on Charlie & Dave and listen to a game 5 nights a week.

It’s 152 days until Opening Day.

HIGHLIGHTS

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Day after elimination, Nats no-hit for 8 2/3 innings before Zimmerman breaks it up

A day after being eliminated, the Washington Nationals were no hit for 8⅔ innings by St. Louis Cardinals rookie righty Michael Wacha. #Natitude! Expect it! Let Yourself Go!

Ryan Zimmerman
, Mr. Walk-Off, was all that stood between Wacha and IMMORTALITY. Then, this happened:

Don’t apologize Ryan, it makes you look weak

The best part — Pete Q#@$%&-ing Kozma, destroyer of Nats dreams, could not get the throw to first, pulling the first baseman off the bag. Zimmerman was safe, an infield single secured and the tying run at bat. Nothing came of it, but at least the Nats didn’t get no-hit.

The “best fans in baseball” reaction to Kozma was often NSFW, so I won’t share those tweets here.

The series finale is at 1:45 with Jordan Zimmermann going for his 20th win of the season. The Nats are trying to win their first over St. Louis since Game 4 of last year’s NLDS.

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MEDIOCRITY CLINCHED: Nats sweep doubleheader, win 81st game

A big day for the resurgent Washington Nationals — they won twice today over the first place Atlanta Braves and for the 27th time in 37 games. Denard Span extended is hitting streak to 28 games. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 10th home run in 15 games. Tanner Roark went to 7-0 since being called up. The Nats kept pace in the second play-in game spot at race 4½ games back of the Cincinnati Reds.

GAME 1

NATS! SNATCHING VICTORY FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY

— William F. Yurasko (@doubleuefwhy) September 17, 2013

A 3-0 lead turns into a 5-3 defecit, but the Nats get to Craig Kimbrel in the 9th with a walk, single, walk, sacrifice and two-run error by Andrelton Simmons. D-SPAN wins it.

GAME 2

Roark throws seven scoreless. Nats overcome Trent Jewitt letting D-Span go for home. Rafael Soriano overcomes two leadoff baserunners in non-save situation. Nats pile on late, win 4-0. Braves can’t clinch NL East in D.C.

So, which was more important to you?

What Washington Nationals ACHIEVEMENT are you more excited about?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Oh and here are playoff scenarios: If The Nats Do This And Reds Do That Then Playoffs Here We Come

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Gio Gonzalez pitches one-hitter against Mets; Nats hit five homers in 9-0 win

Wait, a one-hitter but no embedable MLB.com video? Your embedding policy is arbitrary and capricious, MLB.

In the most highly anticipated D.C. sports event of the night, Gio Gonzalez led the Washington Nationals to a 9-0 win over the New York Mets. All the hype that Washingtonians have been experiencing for last night – totally on point and worth it.

Gonzalez had one of the best starts ever by a D.C. pitcher.

                       IP H R ER BB SO HR
Gonzalez (W, 10-6)	9 1 0 0 2  8  0

ESPN’s boxscore gives Gonazlez a 91 game score. Jordan Zimmermann’s April 26 win over the Cincinnati Reds, perhaps the finest start by a D.C. pitcher since 1931 had a game score of 88. Here is an explanation of Bill James’ game score stat:

Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (or 3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

So, is that better than Zimmermann’s April gem? Looking back, Zimmermann only had 4 strikeouts, but allowed one fewer baserunner. He also did it against the Reds, a team the Nats have been seemingly 7 games back of for the last month and a half. The Mets on the other hand, are nine under. Zimmermann also pitched that game with only one run of support, while Gonzalez had nine runs of support last night.

I’ll give the nod to Zimmermann for the best pitched game in modern Nats history.

Those nine runs I just mentioned came off of five home runs. Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman hit solo shots back-to-back in the 1st. Zimmerman has been on fire this last week, hitting homers in each of his last three games (4 overall) and 6 since September 2. Span and Zimmermann scored on Jayson Werth’s third inning home run. Werth is first in the NL in SLG and OPS. Tyler Moore hit a solo homer and Wilson Ramos hit a 3-run homer.

The Nats continued their winning ways, winning their 20th in 29 tries. The playoffs are long out of reach, but the team is playing up to it’s capabilities at last. That and an easier schedule.

Gio Gonzalez throws one-hitter as Nationals clobber 5 home runs in 9-0 win over MetsThe Post

So, what were you watching last night? Oh, that.

Get well, Bryce Harper.

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Nats vs. Tigers finale at 1:08

Even after a 4 out of 5 stretch, a single loss, in any fashion causes Washington Nationals fans to write off the season. So it goes when the team was a preseason favorite to win it all is below .500 on the final day of July. The Nats can take the 2013 season series over the Detroit Tigers with a win during today’s day game. That’s right, Nats baseball while you work which I welcome. The team may be disappointing, but Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler never do MLB AUDIO/GAMEDAY subscribers – LISTEN HERE. The Nats have only beaten the Tigers twice in nine meetings spanning three different seasons (DC Baseball History) and those two wins were in D.C. earlier in the season.

Last night’s highlight:

That’s probably in the season’s top 10. In other news, this season is really disappointing.

Justin Verlander vs. Gio Gonzalez at 1:05, but the real attraction is DH Steve Lombardozzi hitting 9th.

Lastly, has anybody noticed there are exactly zero home games that start in the 1 o’clock hour in August? Great schedule Selig!

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For posterity, Ryan Zimmerman’s walk off

I was on vacation, off the grid, etc. last week, so I missed Ryan Zimmerman‘s latest walk-off home run, to beat the New York Mets, his first since 2011. I was getting concerned — he was overdue.

Zimmerman earned the nickname Mr. Walkoff on Opening Night 2008 when he christened Nationals Park and I came up the the nickname on the spot. Friday night’s was his 9th game winning home run of his career. The all-time record is 12 with has tied the all-time record for walk-off home runs with Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Jim Thome all sharing the record. Zimmerman is 28 years old. Zimmerman has also beaten every NL East team via walkoff now.

The day before, Bryce Harper hit his first walkoff homer to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates:

I can’t say I was surprised to return to BeltwayLand to see the Nats under .500. While I was out, Rick Eckstein got fired, Drew Storen got demoted and Steve McCatty was hospitalized. It is probably for the best I was out to sea for the week.

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Will we still be happy that the All-Star Break is over during/after Nats game tonight?

A co-worker asked me this morning about the Washington Nationals. He’s a casual fan going to the Sunday game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he expected to be a better opponent. I suggested that the Dodgers were better than their record now that Yasiel Puig was on the team. I also suggested that the Nats were less than the sum of their parts thus far this season. The lineup, incomplete for so long, is finally healthy so perhaps the players can start hitting around their statistical norms. Even Bryce Harper is slumping a little bit, but who knows, maybe finishing 2nd in the Home Run Derby will get him going. The lack of situational hitting is the biggest problem, a relapse to the 2005-2011 Nats that seemed to lead the NL in runners left on base annually. Well, maybe not in 2008 and 2009.

We are also really overdue for a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off.

On the pitching front, Stephen Strasburg is having an “off year” while sporting an ERA of 2.99. Gio Gonzalez has settled into a groove after a mediocre start while Jordan Zimmermann is an All-Star (and rural American!) who hasn’t been quite as good of late, but clearly the leader on the staff. The backend hasn’t been good with Ross Detwiler on the DL twice and having trouble getting through the order a third time. Dan Haren, on the other hand, has had trouble getting through the order once, though has shown signs of improvement.

The Nats are six games back of the Atlanta Braves and catching them over the next 67 games is certainly possible, some even say probable. But it probably won’t happen all at once if it does — read Nats Pennant Push for more as you watch games while breathing into a paper bab. and September scheduling favors the Braves.

They can win the NL East, but it will likely be a slog. I thought that some of the preseason predictions of greater than 98 wins was wishful thinking, but 48-47 at the break was not something I anticipated. On Opening Day, I predicted 94 wins and I think that’s optimistic at this point.

Of course, if the Nats just wear their red caps and the Braves don’t wear their alternate jerseys, it’ll all work out!

MSM PREVIEWS

Washington Nationals have their work cut out for themThe Post

Washington Nationals storylines to watch in second halfThe Wash. Times

2nd half storylinesCSN Washington

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS

They found a few!

It starts up again at 7:05 tonight — 11 game homestand. Time to get going.

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Phillies Cliff Lee pounds the zone – Nats pound Cliff Lee, win 5-1

Every pitching coach says it: pound the zone! Throw strikes!

Last night, LHP Philadelphia Phillies Cliff Lee threw strikes. From Nationals pound Cliff Lee for four HRs to back Gio Gonzalez in 5-1 winThe Post

After Lee’s first 58 pitches Wednesday night, the Nationals had taken eight balls and swatted four solo home runs. By the end of the night, Lee had thrown 64 strikes in 76 pitches, the second-highest percentage of any starter since 2000.

I can remember what every coach in little league told us when we were batting – make him throw strikes. The Washington Nationals did and knew what to do about it.

Manager Davey Johnson, though, trusted a different omen: He liked the way the Nationals took batting practice. Lee pummels the inside of the strike zone, and Johnson wanted to counter Lee’s aggression with more aggression. In the late afternoon, they attacked pitches.

“There’s a big difference,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, we come into batting practice and we look like we try to hit everything to right field. Today, we were hitting it on the rooftops. We knew who was out there.”

The result:

In the fifth inning, Anthony Rendon to left field. Wilson Ramos to goes oppo boppo to right. In the sixth, Ryan Zimmerman to right center, Jayson Werth to left. Two back-to-back sequences in two innings.

Lee’s strategy was wasn’t terrible – the Nats don’t hit lefties well. Solo home runs are not the worst thing in the world — if the pitcher is resilient, they can still get out of the inning without a lot of pitches, throwing from the stretch or having to hold runners. The Nats just executed better and took advantage of the launching pad that is Citizens Bank Park.

Gio Gonzalez was strong for DC — pitching seven innings and yielding only a run, also on a solo home run. He got into trouble infrequently, but got out of it when he did. He has won his last four starts. The Nats tacked on a run off the Phillies bullpen. They also picked up a game on the Atlanta Braves, who lost yesterday afternoon. Series finale is tonight with Jordan Zimmermann opposing Kyle Kendrick.

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Nats grievances for Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Washington Nationals lost another one to the team they are forced to subsidize, the Baltimore Orioles. I gotta a lot of problems right now!

3. MASN using broadcasters of both teams

I don’t care about the Baltimore angle on the sportscast, I don’t care about promotions at Orioles Park, etc. It is a stupid agreement that nobody likes – On the MASN split booths DC Sports Bog

2. Nats blow 6-2 lead

The Nats were rolling with Ryan Zimmerman hitting three home runs. Jordan Zimmerman though, after 78 innings this season, finally pitched a bad one. It was really bad. Seven Baltimore runners crossed home plate in the inning. Tyler Clippard couldn’t stop the bleeding much either.

“It’s tough to have a night like that and not be able to kinda celebrate it and have fun, because we lost,” said Zimmerman.

I’m in agreement with the face of the franchise on that one.

1.) The Nats TV rights being given to Peter Angelos (default)

Bad idea in 2005, bad idea now. This joint booth is an annoyance, but the whole corrupt bargain is the bigger problem. You can follow along via the category Peter Angelos is a Coward and by the tag MASN Sucks. How bad is the arrangement? It made me take Comcast’s side back in the day.

As for the final game of the Battle of the Beltways, only…Dan Haren can save us now?

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Zimmermann, Nats beat Dodgers 6-2; Harper runs into a wall and is listed as day-to-day, but aren’t we all?

After another brutal game 7 loss for the Washington Capitals (more on that later) what D.C. fans absolutely did not need was Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper running into a wall.

That’s from SB Nation: Bryce Harper injury: Nationals outfielder hurt after colliding with wall.

Probably not a good idea in a 6-0 game to go for the play and not settle for playing the ball off the carom.

Harper is listed as day-to-day, but aren’t we all?

I’m sure The Post will have a side-by-side breakdown comparing Harper running into a wall with Babe Ruth running into a wall at Griffith Stadium (Ghosts of DC).

Ruth knocked out (LOC)

Bryce Harper receives 11 stitches, no concussion after nasty collision with Dodgers Stadium fence [UPDATED] – Nationals Journal, The Post

Lots of photos on Nats Enquirer: Bryce Harper runs into Dodger Stadium wall, leaves game shaken up and bleeding…

Get well, Bryce, LOVE the stirrups!

The good news is the Nats beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 after that awful series with the Chicago Cubs. Jordan Zimmermann is the first MLB 7 game winner of 2013.

Ryan Zimmerman drove 3 runs.

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