Back-to-back nights saw the Nationals pitch their two starters of the future.
Yesterday saw prized prospect Jordan Zimmermann take the mound for the third time of his career. Neither of his previous two starts had been cup-cakes, one coming against the always consistent Atlanta Braves and the other coming against one of the best lineups in baseball in the New York Mets. Zimmermann however was able to handle both clubs, pitching into the sixth inning against both allowing no more than 2 earned runs.
The St. Louis Cardinals posed a new challenge however as not only were they one of the hottest lineups in baseball, they were one of the top teams, with the best hitter in the league. The outing started well enough, retiring the first two batters of the game. Then he got hit first real major league welcome, surrendering a blast to the greatest hitter in the game, Albert Pujols.
Zimmermann’s third start would not be as good as his first two. The righty surrendered eight hits and five runs all coming on home runs. While he got knocked around a bit, he challenged the strike zone very well, tossing 71/101 pitches for strikes. In 5.2 he struck out six an walked none. While some may say this start was a step back, his form was excellent and his control was on. He just made a few mistakes. The Nats lost 6-2
Today saw surprise major leaguer Sharion Martis make his fourth start of 2009 and the eight career his career. He dazzled. The 22 year old tossed 9 innings allowing only one earned run, Colby Rasmus’s first career home run. He stomped through a Cardinals line-up who the rest of the Nats pitching staff seemed to have no answer for, maintaining a no-hitter through five.
The Key to Martis’s success was his control. 79/110 pitches were strikes and he allowed no walks.
Excellence on the mound, the Nats won 6-1.