Jordan Zimmermann was one of two Nationals recently selected to join the National League All-Star team, with a 12-3 record and a 2.58 ERA, but has been dealing with a stiff neck for nearly two months and could skip the All-Star Game to allow it to heal.
Zimmermann has been less effective of late, allowing eleven runs in 24.2 IP over his last four starts. Perhaps this ineffectiveness is due to an aggravation of his neck injury, and if so, he should do whatever it takes to get healthy. The All-Star game is an exhibition game, and he has already been honored by being selected. His being healthy for the second half of the season is much more important than anything else.
As unfortunate as this situation is, it could have a silver lining. If Zimmermann does indeed skip the game, a pitcher will be needed to take his place on the roster. Bruce Bochy, the NL’s manager, could opt to pick another starter, and if he did, the frontrunner might be Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg’s 2.45 ERA is the best of any non-All-Star starter and better than five All-Stars. His toughest competition would be Cincinnati’s Mike Leake, with a 2.69 ERA, and St. Louis rookie Shelby Miller at 2.92.
However, there is a distinct chance that Bochy could choose to replace Zimmermann with a reliever. In that case, Rafael Soriano would be under heavy consideration. He trails Edward Mujica by one save for the lead in saves among non-All-Stars, but has a better ERA, 2.13 to 2.33. Soriano could also get the edge because he is replacing a National.
Whatever happens, it is my sincere hope that Zimmermann acts with his health as his number one priority. He is critical to the Nats’ success, and the second half of the season is more important tha