The Washington Nationals‘ 2013 ace is, without a doubt, Jordan Zimmermann.
As a matter of fact, the argument can be made that Zimmermann has been Washington’s ace even prior to this season, and after last night, it’s quite difficult to argue against that fact.
Zimmermann was well, Zimmermann, going eight innings, allowing four hits, one unearned run and walking one while striking out nine, throwing 85 of his 112 pitches for strikes. Yes, that’s right, he threw 27 balls in eight innings.
The righty leads the league in wins, and is finally getting the notoriety he deserves. He has become Washington’s stopper, momentum keeper and starter when the team is losing, coming off a win, or needs a win.
So, how can Zimmermann not be named the All-Star Game Starter? Let’s take a statistical look, shall we?
His BAA, at .213, ranks 12th in the NL, his lowest-ranking stat. The 27-year-old is in the top-five rankings in wins (10, T-1), ERA (2.26, fifth), IP (107.2, third), WHIP (.93, second), CGs (three, T-1), BB/9 (1.25, second) and K/BB (5.07, third).
All season, Zimmermann has gone at least five innings, and has only allowed more than three runs twice, and bounced back admirably in both of the starts following those. Last night was the start following his rough 5.0 IP, six-run performance vs. the Cleveland Indians, just to illustrate the point.
It’s not about dominating hitters and carrying no-hitters into the sixth inning; it’s about consistency and continuity, two of Zimmermann’s most admirable traits. For the past few seasons, he has been able to fly under the radar, likely due to the shadows of Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, who are bigger names.
Zimmermann was also not drafted with the fanfare of a Strasburg, and his post-Tommy John innings limit went on without the debate and disagreement that Strasburg’s did.
Zimmermann has, needless to say, jumped out of the shadow of the aforementioned Pitchers, and people everywhere are beginning to know his name. He puts on pitching clinics every time he takes the ball, even when he does not pitch well.
Sure, there are guys like Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright with their sparking numbers and high strikeout numbers, but neither of them has illustrated the consistency of Zimmermann, who trumps Kershaw in almost every category, winning five more games, has a lower WHIP (.93 to .97) and has a higher K/BB and BB/9 (1.25 to 2.6 and 5.07 to 3.35).
The bottom line is that Jordan Zimmermann’s candidacy for the NL All-Star Game start can not be argued against. The key is if Bruce Bochy, who does have Davey Johnson and Terry Collins on his staff, listens to the NL East representatives with him, because there’s really no reason Zimmermann should not start.
In other words, Bochy should ignite his Natitude, at least for one night in July.