While much of the focus following today’s Washington Nationals victory versus the Minnesota Twins was on the explosion of the offense, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann continued to build his already-strong campaign for the National League Cy Young Award.
Despite the blistering heat in our nations’ capital for game one of the Sunday day-night double-header, Zimmermann was able throw seven shutout innings while striking out eight, giving up just two hits and two walks. It was the 10th time this season that the Nationals right-hander went at least seven innings in a single start.
Zimmermann’s effectiveness went far beyond the strike out-to-walk ratio and dives into overall efficiency of his pitches. Of the 111 pitches thrown by him, 77 of them were for strikes. He was able to jam batters and did a good job mixing up locations as he forced six ground ball outs and seven fly ball outs. He should have recored eight fly ball outs, but Anthony Rendon dropped an infield fly.
One thing that would leave any pitching coach grinning was Zimmermann’s ability to change speeds at will. He made great use of his 95 mph fastball to set up his 77 mph curveball that left hitters cork-screwed into the ground. Zimmermann likely could have pitched into the eighth inning, but 111 pitches was the most he’d thrown all year and Nationals manager Davey Johnson gave him the hook following the seventh inning.
Factoring in his most recent performance against the Twins, Zimmermann now boasts a record of 9-3 with a 2.00 ERA, fourth best in the National League. He leads the NL in WHIP with 0.89 and has 61 strike outs. His nine wins tie him with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin for most in the National League.
Last season, D.C. saw Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez go toe-to-toe with New York Mets ace pitcher R.A. Dickey. Eventually, Dickey was able to steal the National League pitching title. This year, Jordan Zimmermann is putting together quite the campaign in D.C. for the Cy Young award.