Many view young Jordan Zimmermann has the hope of the franchise. So when the 23 year old gets rocked for six first inning runs, hope gets sucked out of the stadium pretty fast for Nats fans.
The Nats did something last night they hadn’t done all year however, they dug in their heels and fought back. Facing a 6-0 deficit in the 6th the club began to chip away. Josh Willingham got the party started with a drive just past the left-field foul pole. Andy Hernandez and Adam Dunn continued it in the seventh, bringing the score to 6-4.
Then the top of the eighth saw the Nationals not only take the lead, but take it with force. Austin Kearns slammed a two run –bases loaded- double over the centerfielders outstretched glove to get things started. Johnson got in on the party next, smacking in Kearns and Hernandez. After it was said and done, the Nationals had scored 6 runs in the top of the eighth, and took the lead for good winning 11-9.
With the victory the Nationals became the first team in Major League Baseball to beat the Dodgers at home this season, only a night after L.A had set the record for consecutive home victories to start a season.
The offense was spectacular overall. Seven of the Nats eight starting fielders had multi-hit games, and Elijah Dukes contributed one hit himself. The club finished with six extra base hits.
Despite Zimmermann’s poor first inning, he showed great maturity in locking down. Not letting the six run first get to him, he put the first inning behind him and pitched form the second inning on.
Jay-Z’s first inning: 4 H, 6 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1 K
Jat Z’s last four innings: 2 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 3 K
That’s a bulldog right there. How many young pitchers do you see get shell shocked after the first sign of trouble? This is a great sign for the Nats, because if Zimmerman can develop and get better, we know he has the mentality to be a dominant pitcher, even if he never has dominant stuff.
It looks as if Anderson Hernandez has found his stroke again. The second basemen has raised his batting average from .176 to .328 in his last 10 games. This stretch has seen him have six multi-hit games, score eight runs, and walk a surprising eight times.
While his experiment as the clubs leadoff hitter may have failed, he has more than excelled at the ‘second leadoff spot,’ the eight hole. Manny Acta may even want to think about tinkering his lineup so that the pitcher hits eighth and Hernandez bats ninth. We saw L.A do this last night with Juan Pierre…then again Acta is no Torre.
I think the epic words of Manny Acta can say all this better than I:
“Those guys had something special going on over here, but we were able to stop their winning streak at home,” manager Manny Acta said. “I think that counts for a lot, especially after we were already trailing 6-0. It’s a huge comeback and a very good win for us.”