May 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) celebrates with left fielder Bryce Harper (34) after a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Moments That Mattered: The Zim Reaper Returns



Source: FanGraphs

In a classic pitchers’ duel, Jordan Zimmermann showed his mettle again and staked a very early claim in the NL Cy Young race. The offense struggled again, but that concern can be set aside for a day to revel in a shutout and a win in Atlanta, the first in the Nats’ six games against them this season. The Nats moved back to .500 on Zimmermann’s shoulders, and are now 1-0 in May. The new beginning I mentioned in the lineup post? It might be happening, though hopefully it brings some better offense soon.

Most Important Nationals Hit: Ian Desmond‘s two-run home run (+19.9%)

As you might expect, the only run-scoring hit of the game was the most important. After Bryce Harper walked to lead off the fourth inning, Desmond took advantage of what was Paul Maholm‘s only major mistake of the night. He took a pitch deep to left field, only two rows into the crowd, but clear over the 390 foot marker. The blast was Desmond’s fourth of the season, and continues his great followup to last year’s breakout All-Star campaign.

Most important Nationals Pitch: Paul Maholm’s double (-4.7%)

For the second straight night, a Braves pitcher had at least one extra base hit. Fortunately this one was not a home run, and might have been a single if not for a bit of a misplay by Bryce Harper in right, but the damage on the one-out double was limited. Zimmermann escaped the threat by getting Jordan Schafer and Andrelton Simmons out. Braves pitchers are now 4-6 with three extra base hits in this series.

Champ of the Game: Zimmermann (+50.0%) was incredible for his second straight start, throwing eight innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out eight. For Atlanta, Maholm (+8.2%) was strong in his own right, allowing two runs in eight innings of his own.

Chump of the Game: Steve Lombardozzi (-7.6%) was 0-4, and is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats. Atlanta’s Jordan Schafer (-10.6%) made some good defensive plays, but was 0-4 at the plate with a strikeout.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals