In their 6-1 loss yesterday, the Nationals had one chance to charge back into the game, down 5-1 in the fifth inning. Reliever Tom Gorzelanny – really, he’s 2 for 2 this year – and Ian Desmond led off with singles, putting two men on base with no outs for the middle of the Nationals’ lineup. Roger Bernadina struck out swinging.
Up came Ryan Zimmerman. He is not having the best season of any National, but he is their unquestioned best player. With the last real chance to put his team back in the game, Zimmerman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, leaving him with one extra-base hit in 28 at-bats since he returned from the disabled list. When he flied out in the ninth inning, that made 29.
It has been a slow start to the season for Zimmerman, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension in February. He began the season 13 for 58 (.224) with four doubles and a home run in 15 games. He missed 13 games while on the disabled list, and since he returned, he is 7 for 29 (.241) with one double and no homers.
On the whole, Zimmerman has one home run and five doubles in 104 plate appearances – he’s slugging just .322, or 159 points below his career average. He had a slow start, and just as he started to heat up, he had shoulder inflammation and had to start over again.
It’s been a disappointing beginning, but given his track record and talent, it’s not reason for concern at this point. Zimmerman’s approach seems to be sound, as he has the same number of strikeouts (15) as walks. Manager Davey Johnson said he’s not worried.
“It’s been frustrating for him,” Johnson said. “He started the season hitting the ball. It’s kind of frustrating. You’re trying to get something going, and you’re centering the ball, and you hit it right at somebody. He’ll be fine. I’m not worrying about.
“I think he had one at-bat where he was a little overly aggressive, on the double play ball. But he’s too good a player. He’ll be fine.”
FROM THE POST
FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Chiefs 5, Columbus 1: Corey Brown went 2 for 4 with a home run and a walk. Xavier Paul went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run. Yunesky Maya allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings on seven hits and two walks, striking out five. The Chiefs have won seven straight.
Harrisburg 4, Richmond 2: Eury Perez went 3 for 4. Tim Pahuta went 2 for 4 with a triple. Paul Demny allowed one earned run in six innings on two hits and a walk, striking out four.
Frederick 4, Potomac 1: Zach Walters went 2 for 2 with a walk.
Hagerstown 12, Hickory 4: Matthew Skole went 4 for 4 with a walk, two home runs and a double. Steven Souza went 3 for 5 with a home run and two doubles. Kylin Turnbull allowed three runs in five innings on seven hits and a walk, striking out four.