“Ryan Zimmerman is slumping as the Nationals surge,” was the WaPo headline last week.
“New York completes sweep as Ryan Zimmerman’s slump deepens,” was the WaPo headline a few days later.
You can imagine these headlines splashed across fake twirling newspaper front pages during a movie montage of Zimmerman’s slump writ as mounting civic crisis.
“Children weep in streets, women beat their chests as Zimmerman slump reaches new depths,”would come next.
“Ryan Zimmerman benched; panic sweeps city,” perhaps completes the series.
Davey Johnson is already expressing his concern. About the slump, not the civic panic.
“That really concerns me,” Johnson said on Sunday. “We’ve got to get Zim going. Need to get Zim in a happy place.”
Mike Rizzo, though, is not expressing concern.
“He’s got a track record,” the GM said of Zimmerman Tuesday on ESPN 980’s Sports Fix. (Audio here.) “He’s gonna come out of it, and someone’s gonna pay for it. They call ‘em averages for a reason. I’ve said it many, many times. These guys get their numbers, they reach their norms, and this is a guy that’s gonna get hot.
“You’re one at-bat away from a hot streak,” Rizzo continued. “And he’s the type of guy who can carry a club for a couple of weeks at a time, which he’s done on countless different occasions. The good thing is, he hasn’t taken it on the defensive side, he’s still a positive uplifting figure in the clubhouse.
“Nobody takes it tougher or harder than Zim does. He knows he’s the leader of this ballclub. He wants to do it. Nobody presses and pressures themselves harder than he does. So I’m confident that he’s gonna put it together and turn it on. And when he does, some pitcher and some team is gonna pay for it.”
If Rizzo’s concerned about getting Zim in a happy place, in other words, he’s not talking about. And his club as a whole?
“I think if we play close to our capabilities, we should be playing meaningful games at the end of the season, and that hasn’t really changed,” Rizzo said. “We haven’t anywhere near hit our stride yet, as far as hitting on all cylinders....
“Pitching and defense and athleticism never go into slumps. If you have that, you have a chance to be consistent....What I can say is when we’re hitting on all cylinders, we’re gonna be hell to play, and we’re gonna be a team that’s gonna be reckoned with.”
Cardinals fan sends Mike Rizzo a gift basket
Zimmerman and Bruce Boudreau dancing in track suits