Jordan Zimmermann delivers a reassuring start in win over Dodgers

September 19, 2012

Over the past few weeks, the question of, “What happened to Jordan Zimmermann?” was posed often, in various forms, to Jordan Zimmermann. His answer was always the same: nothing. He insisted he felt strong, even if his ERA since Aug. 1 entering today sat at 5.31, even he if had made it through six innings in two of those eight starts.

Zimmermann offered more definitive proof with his performance today in the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Dodgers. Zimmermann allowed one run in six innings for his 11th win, lowering his ERA back below 3.00, to 2.96. He struck out four, walked two and allowed six hits, four of them singles.

“I felt fine the whole time,” Zimmermann said. “I was just nibbling a bit, missing some pitches. I stayed more on the plate tonight. When I do that, I get some quick outs and some early contact. That’s what I want to do.”

Zimmermann pitched on seven days of rest, which for him often means trouble. He feels too powerful with the extra time off, which makes him lose command and throw his sinker at a velocity that makes it break less. Today, he walked two batters and hit another in the first two innings. Afterward, though, he struck out four and walked none.

“For the first couple inning, I was a little out of sync,” Zimmermann said. “The last three innings, I felt much better and I was able to control everything.”

The performance suggests Zimmermann could recapture his form from early this season. With the postseason arriving soon and Zimmermann perched at the top of the Nationals’ rotation, that’s a promising development.

“I thought he pitched good,” catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “Definitely, fastball command was there today. He threw some good sliders, some breaking balls. The key today was, he made the pitch when he needed to. That’s a good sign.”

More on Nationals vs. Dodgers:

Nats win doubleheader opener

Game 1 box score: Nationals 3, Dodgers 1

Game 2 discussion thread

Game 2 live box score 

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James Wagner · September 19, 2012