Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann tries to keep rolling after dominant start to June

June 19, 2014

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA this season. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Jordan Zimmermann has put together one of the most dominant stretches of his career.

Since June, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.36 ERA in 25 innings.

His most recent start might have been his most dominant, even though it was in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis last week. In that outing, Zimmermann went eight innings and only threw 76 pitches. He gave up three hits, though one was the deciding home run to Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams.

His recent surge followed one of his worst string of starts.

“May was a pretty rough month for me,” said Zimmermann, who had a 5.06 ERA in five starts.

Zimmermann will take the mound as the Nationals open a four-game series against Atlanta on Thursday.

In his career, he’s 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts against Washington’s NL East rival.

The Nationals will need a strong game from Zimmermann, given that the Braves are 5-1 against them this year.

Zimmermann’s on pace to post the best strikeout percentage since becoming a full-time starter in 2011. He’s struck out 71 batters, which is 20.7 percent of the hitters he’s faced, according to fangraphs.com. After dealing with some location issues earlier this year, Zimmermann’s begun to settle in and place pitches where he wants them over his past three starts.

“He’s kept us in games and we’ve had chances to win,” manager Matt Williams said.

Zimmermann has gained control of his fastball, which he’s throwing over 66 percent of the time compared to the 62 percent of the time over the past two seasons.

Simple execution of fundamentals has been the reason for Zimmermann’s turnaround, he said.

“I was actually hitting my location,” Zimmermann said. “I was throwing the ball and not leaving it over the middle.”

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Alison Baitz · June 19, 2014