At this point in the season, it’s hard to contest that the Nationals’ most consistently excellent players on both sides of the ball have been Jordan Zimmermann and Anthony Rendon. Zimmermann got his league-leading 11th win tonight, and by allowing two runs in seven innings (both in the first), he actually raised his season ERA from 2.26 to 2.28. He has been as good as could possibly be expected, and is a lock to be named to the All-Star team, ranking fifth in the NL in ERA and second in WHIP. Meanwhile, Rendon has been a sensation since his second callup. He has hit safely in 16 of 18 games, and his season average is now .354. These two rock-solid performers just kept producing tonight, and their combined efforts led the Nationals to clinch a series win against the Diamondbacks. The Nats still only had eight hits, three from Rendon, but did enough to back up Zimmermann even after he dug them a hole. Now, think about how much Rendon is producing, and imagine what it’ll be like to have him next to Bryce Harperin the lineup. Less than a week away!
Most Important Nationals Hit: Tyler Moore‘s solo home run (+15.0%)
A short while ago, Moore was sent down to the minors after he hit just .158 as a semi-regular outfielder for the Nats. Now, with the placement of Dan Haren on the DL and the injury to Jayson Werth, the Nationals needed another bench outfielder and had the space to welcome back Moore, even though he hit under .200 at Syracuse. He repaid the Nats’ faith in him yesterday, tying the game in the fourth inning with a solo homer off Wade Miley.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Paul Goldschmidt‘s RBI double (-11.9%)
As good as he was, Zimmermann started off on the wrong foot. He walked Aaron Hill as the game’s second batter, and Goldschmidt immediately made him pay with a double that drove Hill in and put the Diamondbacks up 1-0 in the top of the first. One out later, the Diamondbacks were not done, and a Martin Prado single put them up 2-0. As bad as his start was, Zimmermann locked down after the first, allowing only one more hit the rest of the game.
Champ of the Game: Surprising as it may be, this award went to Rafael Soriano (+15.2%) for throwing a one-hit (and one intentional walk) ninth inning to earn his 21st save. Zimmermann (+15.0%) was +20.4% as a pitcher, but his 0-2 performance at the plate brought him down. As a testament to the Nats’ pitching, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero (+6.9%) led his team despite going just 1-3 with a walk and no RBIs or runs scored.
Chump of the Game: Werth (-11.7%) appears to still be somewhat affected by his groin injury, and was an uncharacteristic 0-4 with two strikeouts. For Arizona, centerfielder A.J. Pollock (-19.8%) was 0-4, including making the game’s final out with runners on first and second.