July 21, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle (54) watches as Washington Nationals left fielder Ryan Zimmerman (11) reacts after a collision at home plate in the seventh inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals lineup once again showed its tremendous depth in the team’s 7-4 comeback victory over the Rockies. Unfortunately, the bigger news from this game may be the impact of the injury of Ryan Zimmerman.
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Zimmerman left the game in the sixth inning with what is being called a right hamstring strain. He will have an MRI tomorrow, but Matt Williams told reporters after the game that, “It’s concerning.”
Even with the injury, the Nats offense provided the spark they needed on a night when Jordan Zimmermann struggled. He labored through his five innings of work, allowing four runs and at least a runner on second in every inning. Luckily, Zimmermann said his strained bicep felt good, and his struggles were more a result of the 10-day layoff he had from the All-Star break.
The Nationals found themselves down 3-0 entering the fifth inning and had yet to figure out Colorado starter Yohan Flande who entered the game with an 7.36 ERA. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a walk, and Ian Desmond followed by registering his seventh consecutive hit on a double down the left-field corner. After a Wilson Ramos RBI groundout, Jordan Zimmermann stepped to the plate. On the first pitch, he hit a laser to center field that was deep enough for a sac-fly and his first RBI of the year. This brought the Nats within a run.
The Rockies responded with a Corey Dickerson solo home run, but the Nats completed their comeback on an RBI fielder’s choice by Zimmerman (the play he hurt himself on) and an RBI single by Ramos that scored Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa (who had come on to replace Z-Man).
But the biggest moment of the game came in the seventh. With Denard Span and Rendon on first and second with one out, the slumping Adam Laroche stepped to the plate. He had looked fatigued for most of the game. He was late on pitches and did not look comfortable at the plate. The Rockies brought in lefty Rex Brothers specifically for Laroche. But Laroche would not shy away from this moment. He ripped 2-0 fastball over the left-center field fence to give the Nationals the 7-4 lead for good.
In what has seemed to become habitual, the bullpen once again gave up no runs in its four innings of work. Craig Stammen handled the sixth, and then Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Rafael Soriano followed suit. This regular lineup in the bullpen continued their dominance and showed in a ballpark like Coors Field, just how important it is to have a bullpen like we do.
The Nationals recored double-digit hits for the sixth straight game. The last time the franchise did this was 2007. It is also their sixth win in the last seven games and with the Atlanta Braves loss to the Miami Marlins, it gives them a two-game lead in the NL East.
The game on Wednesday is an afternoon one that will feature Stephen Strasburg versus Jorge De La Rosa. The Nationals are expected to make a few different changes to the lineup to give some guys the rest they need. Adam Kilgore reported last night that Zach Walters had left Syracuse and may be on his way to Colorado to replace Z-Man.
The Nationals were the team they needed to be on a night when their pitching struggled. Lets just hope we only paid a small price for it and will have our third baseman back soon.