Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Jordan Zimmermann Shines, Nats Offense Doesn’t


We’re now two games into the season, and the Washington Nationals sport a 1-1 record after Wednesday night’s 2-1 victory over the division rival New York Mets. It was a cold, wet game that got off to a late start thanks to a 56 minute delay for inclement weather. Once it did get started, there wasn’t much offense to be found. Thankfully, the Nationals found a way to hold on, and they’ll enter Thursday’s game with a chance to take the opening series.

So, what did we learn from Wednesday’s game? It’s still early, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t takeaways from this matchup. Let’s take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Nats first win of 2015.

The Good: The Zims

Jordan Zimmermann‘s performance on Wednesday night might lead you to question whether or not 2014 ever ended. He picked up right where he left off. While his line may not look particularly overwhelming (1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K over 6 IP), Zimmermann looked dominant out on the mound. The only inning he really got into trouble was the second, when he allowed a string of three straight hits before shutting the door on the Mets.

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Ryan Zimmerman also had a pretty good night. He made a handful of Web Gem-caliber plays at first base, and, more importantly, he provided the Nationals’ only two runs on the night with his first inning home run. The homer was the 185th of Zimmerman’s career, which moves him to second in DC history behind only Frank Howard (237).

The Bad: Desmond and Taylor

Ian Desmond, in what will likely be his last season in Washington, is not getting off to the sort of start that one would expect of the All-Star shortstop. While he managed to avoid the disastrous sorts of blunders than cost the Nationals the game on Monday, he still cannot seem to catch a break with the bat. So far, Desmond has yet to manage a hit in 2015.

Michael Taylor isn’t exactly lighting it up at the plate, either. After getting a hit in his first at bat of the season, Taylor went six straight at-bats before managing his second hit. He quickly followed that hit up with an error on the basepaths, getting caught in a rundown when the Nats really could have used the offensive support.

The Ugly: Nationals Scoring

The inability to bring runners in from scoring position is starting to become a real issue for the Nationals. As our editor, Ricky Keeler, pointed out, this doesn’t just go back to Monday; it reaches all the way back to October. After starting the season 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, the Nationals followed it up by going 0-for-7 on Wednesday, including eight left on base.

While it’s true the Nationals are only two games in and have faced two good pitchers, the team will need to kick their offense into gear if they want to avoid digging themselves a hole early in the season. Perhaps Thursday will be the start of a long line of high scoring games for Washington. Nats fans can only hope.

So, while it’s still early, there’s some things to like about what the Nationals have done in their first two games, but there’s still plenty of room to improve, too. Thankfully, the one thing they aren’t short on right now is time.

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