Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Fledgling Mayor Of NatsTown
Our Manager Manny Acta was slowly walking to the mound. Before he got there to replace Our Starting Pitcher this afternoon, Adam Dunn already had his right arm around Jordan Zimmermann--giving his personal vote of confidence and thanks. Our Number 27 touched by the gesture clearly saying "Thank You" to Dunn. Everyone within Our Washington Nationals Organization and Our Fans should all be giving their thanks to J-Z as well. For over five innings this afternoon at New Citi Field in Queens, Zimmermann again showed why his valiant work over the past week is one of our best and brightest hopes for Baseball In Washington, D.C.
There's a New Fledgling Mayor Of NatsTown and he's caught every one's attention.
Although Jordan Zimmermann struggled early this Sunday, he regained his composure and never wavered on the mound.
Confidence repeated throughout this performance--none better than his display to finish off the bottom of the 5th. Already ahead 8-1 against The New York Mets with his Washington teammates providing some serious lumber, Zimmermann was facing the heart of the powerful Mets lineup. Already, Alex Cora had led off with a walk. The speedy Jose Reyes followed with a slapped single to right. You had to figure Manny Acta was considering making a pitching change. It was a hot and humid day in New York. And Jordan was approaching 90 pitches. There was nobody out and Daniel Murphy, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were all coming to take their whacks for The Mets against a rookie hurler pitching in just his second Major League game.
A Game Changing Moment was possibly at hand. The distinct possibility for A New York Comeback.
Over the course of the next three batters--a few New York Minutes--Jordan Zimmermann showed the muster of a wily veteran. Big League Pitching on display for Washington when after Murphy got ahead in the count 2-0 on Our Number 27, Zimmermann--on a hitter's pitch--jammed a 93 MPH fastball in on the lefthanded swinging New Yorker's fists. A fearless strike zone toss that resulted in Murphy popping up weakly right back to Jordan standing on the back of the mound.
This was no backdoor politician at work. The Fledgling Mayor Of NatsTown was publicly displaying his talent for leadership.
Ahead in the game score, behind in the count, Jordan Zimmermann DID NOT BACK DOWN. He kept going after The Mets Lineup. Steady Nerves on display, when J-Zimm fired away on the always dangerous Carlos Beltran. A hitter that has consistently feasted on Washington pitching. But on this Sunday afternoon, Jordan served a new diet of his own to Beltran--striking him out on five pitches in this important 5th frame. His last toss a wicked tailing away fastball. A 95 MPH heater that had Carlos not even close to hitting while swinging. Unable to put the ball in play--which Carlos Delgado was able to manage but only of the foul variety--when Jordan Zimmermann crossed up the slugging Delgado to end this fabulously pitched inning with a 78 MPH changeup resulting in a weak pop up handled easily by Ryan Zimmmerman at third base.
This inning now over. The votes all in. J-Z wins in a landslide.
Call that performance bold, gutsy, maybe even spunky--call it whatever you want. But Our Washington Nationals haven't seen such indomitable spirit like that on the mound in some time. Jordan Zimmermann made everyone else wearing the Gray Curly "W" Script Away Washington Jerseys today look better because he was pitching his heart out on the mound. And his teammates were punching that winning ticket alongside him to victory.
The weather was hot and humid, but Washington wasn't wilting under such a lionhearted effort shown by their 22 Year Old Starter.
No, Jordan Zimmermann wasn't overly sharp at the start. New York got to him early for a first inning run and Z-J even threw away a pickoff throw for his first fielding error of his Major League Ball Career. But he DIDN'T get rattled. He didn't falter and when Our Manager Manny Acta took the ball from his hand in the top of the 6th inning after striking out David Wright for the third time this Sunday and allowing his final baserunner--a single by My Main Man!! Ryan Church--those 103 pitches he so gallantly tossed lifted the spirits of a fumbling team and their anguished fans looking for any positive outlook after two days of demoralizing baseball played at New Citi Field.
Yes, today was certainly a Team Effort by Our Washington Nationals. Our Offense voted early and often--coming untracked, knocking The Mets Starter Oliver Perez all over and out of the running for the high honors at the New Queens Ballpark. And while Zimmermann was praised for his campaign, Perez was booed right out the park by his own home faithful. But make no mistake about it, D.C.'s team would have never regained their confidence if not for the unflinching performance on the mound by Young Jordan Zimmeramann.
Final Score from blistering hot New Citi Field--Our Washington Nationals 8 and The New York Mets 1. Curly "W" Number 4 of 2009 was the first no doubt victory of this still young season. In fact, the very first road victory since September of 2008--a span covering 17 ball games. A breather from the embarrassment that was called Major League Baseball played yesterday afternoon in New York City by Our Washington Nationals.
A new tone set thanks to Our New Number 27's impressive early run. His youthful exuberance which resonated throughout D.C.'s Team all day. Good pitching, solid hitting and decent defense can go along way to heal the pain of the many losses so far this season. But more importantly, having a Fresh Young Face leading this campaign--someone to rally around--made watching Our Washington Nationals play today more enjoyable than at any moment so far this year.
Yes, when the votes were finally all tallied late this afternoon Jordan Zimmermann could probably be elected 'Mayor Of NatsTown' right now--stated Charlie Slowes on WFED 1500 AM. Charlie might be right. And no, we are not attempting to place too much pressure on such an outstanding young talent just completing his second Big League Start. It's just fun to play with.
But then again--considering how unflappable J-Z has been so far, nothing this fine young man accomplishes would surprise us. The Fledgling Mayor Of NatsTown--Jordan Zimmermann's composure--is absolutely outstanding.
How refreshing is that for any fan of Our Washington Nationals.
Game Notes & Highlights
And for the record, as many of you know nicknames are big here on Nats320. Jordan's Father, Jeff, heard The African Queen last week call his son sometimes "Z-Zimm" and other times "J-Z". Sohna asked Mr. Zimmermann which moniker he would prefer. His response: "I like J-Z, it has a ring to it."
So for The Fledgling Mayor Of NatsTown it's Official: "J-Z".
Zimmermann would finish this day with a solid 2.38 ERA. He allowed six hits, 2 walks and struck out five, including David Wright those three times, The Carlos'--Beltran and Delgado one apiece. He remained steady when Delgado ripped a fastball to right center scoring Beltran in the first. A play that Justin Maxwell, starting in centerfield for Elijah Dukes, made an excellent attempt to grab. Diving to his left, the ball glanced off his glove. A resultant triple that if caught would have been The Highlight Reel Defensive Play of This Game. J-Z holding his own after he threw a pickoff toss away to Adam Dunn at first base in the second trying to hold Ryan Church who had walked. His first error that found Zimmermann bearing down again with a runner in scoring position with one out. Luis Castillo subsequently grounding out to first base and finally retiring the pesky Jose Reyes on a fly ball to Austin Kearns in right after a Oliver Perez bunt single. One thing clear about Jordan Zimmermann, he battles every step of the way. He challenges hitters and that alone is very impressive.
Jordan now 2-0 in his Major League Career. All four Curly "W"s in 2009 earned by Rookie Pitchers. Shairon Martis has the other two wins.
When Zimmermann left this game up 7 runs, Mike Hinckley, Garrett Mock and Kip Wells finished the final 3.2 innings of work to get the Curly "W"--allowing no hits and just one walk--charged to Mock. The New York Mets powerful offense was neutralized this day.
Austin Kearns is hot at the plate. Jesus Flores is on fire. Both slamming home runs this Sunday. "Bluegrass" a blast to the deepest reaches of centerfield at Citi Field in the 5th--just to the right of the Red Mets Big Apple that comes up after New York Home Runs. Flores a two run shot in the top of the second off Perez as well that got Washington on the board for the first time today. Kearns scoring three runs, knocking in one (11 RBI so far) and raising his average to .256. Flores, he of the terrible slump during most of the recent homestand, breaking out in a big way with a 3 for 4 performance, one walk, three RBI (10 overall), two runs scored and now batting a robust .327. What a night and day difference in Our Number 3 at the plate than he was less than one week ago. No longer looking lost at the plate.
Justin Maxwell played very well batting leadoff. Two hits, one walk, one run scored, one rbi, two stolen bases and a gazelle with speed, makes this fine young man always easy to root for. Everyone seemingly wants to see J-Max play and do well. Can Our Washington Nationals find a solid role for him? He is so deserving the legitimate shot. Only injuries have curtailed his career.
Alberto Gonzalez breaking out of a terrible slump over the past homestand. Garnering two hits filling in for the injured Cristian Guzman today, scoring one, knocking in one and playing the solid defense he is known for--not the erratic play witnessed by Our Number 12 last week.
Adam Dunn the only everyday player not either scoring a run or knocking a run in this Sunday afternoon. The Mets Starter, Oliver Perez, wasn't too good. Neither was his first replacement--Casey Fossum.
Finally, very sorry to see Shawn Hill go down again last night in San Diego with more forearm and elbow soreness. Another trip to The Disabled List for our one time starter. Some guys never catch a good break and it's sad to see such a very talented young man continue to not reach HIS potential.
Today's InGame Photos--Seth Wenig (AP)