A day after Jordan Zimmermann pitched perhaps the best game in Nationals history, he earned another more tangible superlative.
Major League Baseball named Zimmermann the National Player of the week for his two stellar starts to start June. Against the Phillies and Padres, Zimmermann allowed zero runs in 17 innings, striking out 16, walking one and yielding seven hits. He earned the win in both games and lowered his season ERA to 3.17.
The dominating week immediately followed a frustrating month. In May, opponents hit .342 off Zimmermann and he punched up a 5.06 ERA over five starts. The most noticeable difference has been in his slider, which recovered its typical sharp break. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said Zimmermann has been able to throw inside better, which has limited damage on the rare occasion he misses his target.
“It’s where he’s making his mistakes,” McCatty said. “He’s pounding the zone. He’s making pitches inside, doing what he wants to do. He’s not making the mistakes out over the plate in crucial situations. When your misses are in or off, away from the middle of the plate, it makes a big difference. And that’s what he’s doing right now.”