brushback_harperJordan Zimmermann says he hasn’t thought about the all-star game, but those around him and who have faced him surely have considered his candidacy. After yet another stellar outing — in Thursday’s 5-1 win over the Rockies, he tossed eight dominant innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits and struck out nine to earn his 10th win — the same sentiment that has been felt for weeks emerged again: Zimmermann is among the game’s best starting pitchers and a most deserving candidate to be selected to his first all-star game.

His season stat line after Thursday’s gem: 10-3, 2.26 ERA, 107 2/3 innings, 76 strikeouts, 5.07 SO/BB ratio, 0.929 WHIP, 166 ERA+. His ERA is fifth in the NL, he’s tied for the major league lead in wins, ranks second in the NL in WHIP and third in innings pitched. And just as important, the Nationals are 12-3 in game that he starts, tied for the third-best winning percentage in the majors.

“Absolutely,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said when asked about Zimmermann’s all-star candidacy. “No question. He’s had maybe two rough outings but other than that he’s been absolutely dominant. It’d be good to seem him in it.”

Added shortstop Ian Desmond: “I think he should probably start the game.”

More than any pitcher on the roster, the Nationals know exactly what they’ll receive from Zimmermann every time he starts. He is the model of consistency, a strike-throwing machine who works quickly to get outs and attacks every batter he faces.

“He throws strikes with all his pitches,” Rockies Manager Walt Weiss said. “When you’ve got a big arm and you’re throwing strikes, you’re going to be tough. He’s right up there [with any pitcher we’ve seen this year]. He’s impressive. It’s a big power arm and he commands it.”

Let’s assume the NL all-star team carries the same number of starting pitchers as last season. Eight starters were selected to the team. Here’s a stab at the best eight pitchers in the NL as of now, with Matt Harvey a strong potential candidate to start the game at his home stadium of Citi Field:

— Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 5-4, 1.84 ERA, 107 1/3 innings, 104 strikeouts, 0.97 WHIP

— Jeff Locke, Pirates: 6-1, 2.01 ERA, 89 1/3 innings, 63 strikeouts, 1.13 WHIP

— Shelby Miller, Cardinals: 8-4, 2.08 ERA, 86 1/3 innings, 96 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP

— Matt Harvey, Mets: 6-1, 2.16 ERA, 104 innings, 115 strikeouts, 0.90 WHIP

— Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals: 10-3, 2.26 ERA, 107 2/3 innings, 76 strikeouts, 0.93 WHIP

— Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks: 9-0, 2.28 ERA, 94 2/3 innings, 74 strikeouts, 1.01 WHIP

— Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: 10-4, 2.37 ERA, 110 innings, 100 strikeouts, 1.01 WHIP

— Cliff Lee, Phillies: 9-2, 2.53 ERA, 110 1/3 innings, 98 strikeouts, 0.95 WHIP

Other candidates: Mike Leake, Reds (2.64 ERA, 88 2/3 innings); Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (2.50 ERA, 79 1/3 innings); Travis Wood, Cubs (2.74 ERA, 92 innings); Mike Minor, Braves (2.89 ERA, 96 2/3 innings); Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers (2.96 ERA, 91 1/3 innings); Jose Fernandez, Marlins (3.05 ERA, 79 2/3 innings).


Jordan Zimmermann overpowers the Rockies in a 5-1 win, writes Adam Kilgore.


Ian Desmond’s all-star case building steam with injuries

Ryan Mattheus plays catch, four weeks away from return; updates on Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy

Bryce Harper nearing minor league rehab assignment

Davey Johnson on chemistry and the Nationals’ bench

Gio Gonzalez helps deliver a comeback victory after rocky start


Charlotte 5, Syracuse 3: Jeff Mandel allowed five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, walked five batters and struck out three. Tyler Robertson and Erik Davis tossed scoreless innings each. Zach Walters went 3 for 4 and hit his 16th home run of the season. Danny Espinosa went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts; he’s 1 for 14 with 12 strikeouts and two walks over the past four games.

Bowie 5, Harrisburg 3: Nate Karns allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits over four innings, walking two and striking out five. Ryan Perry, demoted to Harrisburg, allowed one run in his first inning at Class AA. Steven Souza, Jr. went 3 for 4 with a home run. Brian Goodwin went 2 for 5. He’s hitting .294 in June, his best month of the season so far.

Potomac is still on their all-star break.

Hagerstown 14, Greenville 1: Brett Mooneyham allowed one run on three hits over five innings, walking three and striking out four. Ian Dickson allowed only two hits over three innings of relief. The following hitters drove in two runs each: Stephen Perez, Shawn Pleffner, Matt Foat, Craig Manuel and Narciso Mesa. Estarlin Martinez hit a three-run home run.

State College 7, Auburn 5: Deion Williams allowed two run on two hits and walked two over 4 1/3 innings. Wilmer Difo went 2 for 4 and hit a home run and Jean Carlos Valdez finished 2 for 4.