An interesting day in the Nationals short franchise lifetime. Lots of stuff went down yesterday: wunderkid Bryce Harper’s introduction and BP show, Strasburg’s career affecting arthrogram, the results of which (as we just have found out) probably means Tommy John surgery, and Jordan Zimmermann’s first major league start since Tommy John surgery 13 months ago.
Lets talk about Zimmermann’s start. A tough opposing team in the Cardinals didn’t help matters. His final line wasn’t great. 4ip, 7 hits, 1 walk (the first batter he faced), one towering homer given up to this generation’s greatest hitter in Albert Pujols, and 5 earned runs. 70 pitches, 42 for strikes. A bonanza of 9th inning scoring and 13th inning heroics earned the win for the team.
Zimmermann’s fastball was there for sure. 92-93 on the gun consistently, peaking at 94 a couple times per the Pitch f/x data. Despite not giving up walks, he didn’t really have control of the fastball though. His curve seemed waaaay too slow, floating in at 76mph for a delta from the fastball that I think is so distinct that hitters can adjust and swing strongly. His strike zone map was all over the place. Perhaps its rust, perhaps its more indicative that the AAA league (where he was absolutely dominant) is just not a good indicator of major league success.
Summary; its good to have him back, especially considering that he’s now just taken the reigns as next year’s rotational power pitcher for our team, and we hope that this is something he can build on.