Since losing 4-2 to the Rockies last Monday night the Nationals have score 12, 11, 10, 5, 5, 8, and 9 runs and went 5-2 in those contest. In their game against the Giants the Nats were facing a pitcher in Tim Lincecum who has struggled all season with command and control. Having his average fastball velocity drop from a career average of 92.6 MPH down to 90.4 MPH and complaining of pain when throwing his slider it isn’t hard to deduce that the freak is malfunctioning.
Lincecum’s delivery was designed by his engineer father and worked to help him win two Cy Young awards despite his slight frame. Now it appears that Lincecum is dropping down to a more 3/4 arm slot and it is causing him to struggle with both the command of his pitches and the control of his pitches in the strike zone.
Coming into this game the trouble innings for Lincecum were the first, fourth, and sixth in which he had ERA’s of 9.36, 7.88, and 13.50 respectively. Against the Nats Lincecum gave up runs in the third innings when Desmond scored on Espinosa’s one out double and Espinosa scored on Zimmermann’s two out double, in the fourth inning when Zimmermann scored on LaRoche’s two out double and Ian Desmond crushed a two out homer that scored himself and LaRoche, and finally in the fifth inning where he loaded the bases with a walk to Lombardozzi double to Harper and walk to Zimmerman before being pulled with one out.
Against the new pitcher George Kontos Morse would singles and LaRoche would hit a sac fly that would score all of the runners Lincecum put on base. Lincecum’s counterpart in this contest, Jordan Zimmermann, did not deal with much trouble. Zimmermann allowed a runner to reach second base with no outs in four of his six innings and only once did they come around to score and that was in the fifth inning in which Sanchez reached on error followed by singles by Crawford, Schierholtz, and Blanco. After the runs had been scored Zimmermann settled down and got a pair of fly outs to right around a Melky Cabrera strike out.
When it was all said and done Zimmermann had a pitching line of six innings plus one batter faced having given up two runs one of which was earned on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The one part of Zimmermann’s batting line that stands out should be the fact that he walked nobody. Zimmermann is not a fancy pitcher and comes right after every hitter who dares to stand in the box against him.
This win was important for the Nats is it greatly increases their chances to take the series. The next two pitchers the Nats face are Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. It could be said that this series is the first time all season in which the Nats have not had the pitching advantage, but if the bats can stay as hot as they have been that might not matter.