For most teams, starting off the season without the top three hitters in their lineup is a recipe for a dreadfully slow start to the year. For the Washington Nationals, however, their otherworldly starting rotation should allow them to overcome early injuries and win some close games. That’s exactly what they did Wednesday night, when they defeated the New York Mets, 2-1, behind a stellar pitching performance from starter Jordan Zimmermann.
Zimmermann was dominant all night long in his 2015 regular season debut, allowing one run on six hits while striking out four over six innings of work. It was a great way to start the season for the team’s No. 2 starter, who is coming off a 2014 season in which he won 14 games and pitched a no-hitter.
Hours before Zimmermann took the mound, it looked doubtful that any baseball would be played at Nationals Park tonight. The D.C. area had seen off-and-on rain for the better part of the last two days and the forecast for gametime wasn’t looking good. After a 56-minute rain delay, however, Zimmermann toed the rubber and got things going for the Nationals. Fortunately, the rain stayed away the rest of the night.
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The delay didn’t slow the Nationals’ offense, which did all of its damage (and it wasn’t much) against Mets starter Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the first inning.
With two outs and a runner on first, deGrom threw Ryan Zimmerman a belt-level fastball on the inner half of the plate and the Nationals’ first baseman made him pay, launching a two-run shot over the wall in left-center field. Zimmerman had a great game all around, as he complemented his monster home run with stellar defense all night long.
Despite their hot start, the Nationals weren’t able to do much else against the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. deGrom held the Nationals scoreless the rest of the day, pitching six solid innings in his 2015 debut, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out six and walking two.
While the Nationals were only able to score two runs off deGrom and none off the Mets’ bullpen, that was all the run support Zimmermann and the Nationals’ pitching staff would need.
After allowing an RBI single to Travis d’Arnaud in the top of the second, Zimmermann shut the Mets’ lineup down the rest of the night. The Mets didn’t fare much better against the Nationals ‘pen, as Craig Stammen, Blake Treinen and Drew Storen combined to throw three scoreless innings to secure a 2-1 victory for the Nationals. Storen, who struck out two batters in a dominant ninth inning, earned his first save of the season.
Next up: The Nationals will be back at it tomorrow afternoon, as they look to secure a series win over the Mets at 1:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park. It should be a great game to watch, as Nationals’ superstar Stephen Strasburg faces off against Mets’ superstar Matt Harvey.