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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A rescue in the rain: J-Zim's debut sparks 3-2 Nats win over Braves

The Washington Nationals have glimpsed part of their immediate future in the form of pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, and his performance in last night's 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves was certainly brighter than the weather.

After a two hour, ten minute rain delay, the game began and "J-Zim" quickly dispatched his first three batters with seven pitches. The evening was set for a pitcher's duel as the Braves Derek Lowe was his usual sharp self, and limited the Nats to only three runs in his six innings of work.
Zimmerman threw 71% strikes in his six innings, struck out three and walked one. He allowed one home run and established his initial Major League ERA at 3.00.

I had tickets to the game, but I didn't go. I was convinced that the game would be rained out. I worked late, and listened to Charlie and Dave on the radio on my ride home. Right when they brought on Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo, at 8:15, I saw some flashes of lightning in the sky. I really thought that I'd made the right decision. Certainly, this game would be postponed, I reasoned. It's Atlanta, not some west coast team, we play them many more times, it's early in the season, plenty of time to make it up in a sensible fashion. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Between the rain, fog, mist, and cool temperatures, it just seemed like a miserable night to be out at the ballpark. The game went on, at 9:15, and then they had another rain delay in the 8th inning, at 11:16. Play resumed at 11:49, and ended just over five hours after it was supposed to begin, at 12:12, but the actual playing time was only two hours and twenty four minutes.

I feel sorry for the fans who took Metro and actually sat through that messy weather, only to be informed at 11:45 that the last Metro trains would be leaving soon, so they had to rush out of the stadium to make their trains, never getting to see and enjoy the end of the game. That's too bad.

J-Zim looked great. By all accounts, his control, attitude and temperament are first-rate, and I can't wait to see him play in person and witness that 95 mph fastball for myself, as long as I get a little bit drier weather, please. He also knows how to execute a nice sac-bunt, which always helps. I like how he allowed a walk, then gave up a 2-run homer to Matt Diaz, but came right back to retire six of seven batters. That kind of steely mindset will serve him well.

I'm excited about our new arrivals, especially the youngsters. Justin "J-Max" Maxwell stole his first Major League base last night, pitcher Garrett Mock got in the game, as did Alex Cintron and Kip Wells.

So, 2-10. Expo-nentially (that's a joke, by the way) that's quite a percentage increase. Hopefully, we can keep that rolling.

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