In perhaps the first bright spot for the Nationals this year, top prospect Jordan Zimmermann debuted last night and gave his club a quality start. Zimmermann Ray Knight's quick report in the postgame show: "Zimmermann just pounded the strike zone, Johnny. Everything as advertised. Threw the ball extremely well, 94 miles an hour, consistently. A good hard, 87-88 mile an hour slider. Great composure, only one base on balls. Tremendous job."
And from Federal Baseball:
- Most impressive tonight was Zimmermann's fastball which he dialed up a few times, hitting 95 and even 96 mph on the radar gun throughout the evening, coming up and inside to several hitters who couldn't catch up and were often chasing it out of the zone, and when he followed the fastball with a slider 7-10 miles slower, and a curve which he struggled to locate, but used to get one particularly memorable K from Larry "Chipper" Jones, Zimmermann looked every bit the part of a major league pitcher.
A couple of other Zimmermann-related notes ...
• Yesterday the big story -- at least before the Nats ejected 20 percent of their 25-man roster -- was Elijah Dukes getting benched and fined for being five minutes late ... after volunteering his time with a local Little League. Oh, the horror! How could Manny Acta be so heartless? Well, 1) the local Little League is going to pay Dukes' fine, and 2) last night Dukes, playing center field behind Zimmerman, blatantly lollygagged a routine single into a double. Some guys just don't get it, and some of those guys never will.
• In the same post yesterday in which I mentioned Dukes, I mentioned the trade in which the Nationals swapped Brad Wilkerson for Alfonso Soriano. Obviously, the Nats got the better of that one, even though they had to pay Soriano $10 million and finished last anyway ... but it goes beyond that, because the draft pick they got when Soriano signed as a free agent? The Nationals used that pick to draft Zimmermann.