Ryan Zimmerman is currently carrying a .799 OPS, is on pace for another 20-home run season in 2013, and has hit in 10 of his 13 games played in June, including a seven-game hitting streak that saw also two home runs mixed in … so what’s the problem?
Well, as it turns out, this is one of those rare instances where a consistent hitting streak can be a little deceiving, because the Washington Nationals third baseman is actually going through quite the slump.
That might not be too much of a surprise considering that the 34-34 Nats continues to be one of the worst offensive teams in the entire league (tied for 28th at 237 runs), but even if the rest of the team has been missing that spark, Washington probably did not expect its star hot cornerman to be a problem, rather than a solution.
After all, Zimmeman had just come off a scorching May that saw him post a strong .313/.394/.521 triple-slash that looked more befitting of his nine-digit contract extension signed in 2012. The month, of course, included a can’t-miss three-homer outburst on May 29 in a losing effort.
In a way, you could almost say that’s about how the Nationals season has gone in a nutshell.
Fast forward to the middle of June, however, and you’ve got a different picture. After snapping his recent hitting streak with Sunday’s 0-for-4 performance Zimmermann is more or less mirroring his disappointing .669 OPS over April with a .226/.281/.434 triple-slash over 57 PA thus far on June.
A slumping star in itself might not be too much out of the norm, but given that the team is also seeing a dismal year from Adam LaRoche, and the fact that Bryce Harper is still out of action, the struggle they are seeing from their $100 million man is simply coming at the most inopportune time.
Worst, this isn’t just any ol’ BABIP-fueled slump, either. With at least one strikeout in nine of his last 11 games, including multiple whiffs in six of them, Zimmerman is simply flailing his month away at a 28.1 percent K-rate, boosting his already career-high 23.3 percent rate over the season with every game.
So to say that he might be a little lost at the plate right now is probably an understatement. And as he’s the team’s tenured leader … well, there you have the Washington Nationals, I suppose.