Washington Nationals: Takeaways From 5-4 Loss To Tigers
By Ricky Keeler
Zimmerman Back On Track?
Most of the spotlight has been on Ryan Zimmerman the last couple of days, especially after he left 14 on base in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs. Last night had to feel like a sigh of relief for him when he hit the two home runs against the Tigers.
The first of the two home runs came in the fifth inning. After Bryce Harper worked a walk against Michael Fulmer (who picked up his first Major League win), Zimmerman took a 2-0 fastball and crushed it to left field for a two-run home run for his first homer since April 19 against the Marlins.
Two innings later, the Nats’ first baseman had another good at-bat against reliever Drew VerHagen. He worked the count full, including fouling off a tough breaking ball. Then, on the third 3-2 pitch, he got a 95 mile per hour fastball and hit a line drive over the all in center for his second home run.
Now, the Tigers did implement the same strategy Chicago did over the weekend and walked Harper intentionally in the later innings. Zimmerman had the chance for the ultimate redemption, but he fell short and struck out swinging on a nasty changeup by K-Rod.
Even though he couldn’t get the clutch hit in the ninth, it is definitely a step in the right direction for Zimmerman. I still think the Nats should make the change and put Murphy, who had another multi-hit game, behind Harper. But, at the same time, I don’t mind Baker giving Zimmerman a chance to break out of his slump.
Next: Baker's Two Bad Decisions