MLB Today: Jordan Zimmermann Escapes Justice
Jordan Zimmermann owners dodged a bullet this week.
Cole Hamels was slapped with a five-game suspension (which, as we’ve discussed, is a joke for starters, but we digress) for intentionally hitting phenom Bryce Harper with a pitch on Sunday. Of course, the fact that he admitted it was on purpose kind of shot any defense he would have had out the window.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, who plunked Hamels with a pitch a couple of innings later, managed to avoid a similar fate, great news for Washington, which remains in first place in the NL East.
Held to an innings count last year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Zimmermann is under no such restrictions this season, and he’s tossed at least six innings in all six of his starts so far. He’s tied for 12th in NL innings hurled.
On Sunday, his command was off for the first time, as he managed just one strikeout against six walks, a shocking development considering he had a 22-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio coming into that start.
Still, Zimmermann owners must be thrilled with what they’ve seen from him so far, as he’s taken his impressive performance from last year and built on it, even if his strikeout rate is down again.
- Zach McAllister looked really good in a spot start Monday, giving up just six hits and two earned runs over six innings, while fanning five and walking one. He’s headed back to Triple-A, but could be worth a look if one of the Indian starters gets hurt. McAllister, who caught our eye with his superb work at Triple-A last year, earned his first major league win for his efforts Monday. He’s been even better in the minors this season, surrendering just 30 hits over his first 35 IP and giving up just one earned run in each of his last three starts.
- Jordany Valdespin, not to be confused with Lord Voldemort, is back up with the Mets with Ruben Tejada landing on the DL. Valdespin caught our eye with his performance in the AFL in 2010 and he consolidated that with a big season last year, split between Double-A and Triple-A. He paid instant dividends for the Mets Monday, smacking a pinch-hit three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning to give the Mets a 5-2 win over Philly. Valdespin hasn’t exactly been killing it at Triple-A, but he’s going to start for the Mets Tuesday and could continue to do so all week until Ronny Cedeno returns from the DL this weekend. If you need middle infield help in an NL-only league, think about taking a flier on Lord Valdespin.
- Okay, it’s time to jump on the Jeff Samardzija bandwagon – and fast. He’s still widely available, but given his recent performance – three straight starts of one run allowed or less with 12 hits and six walks issued against 23 strikeouts in 21 1/3 IP – he won’t be on your wire for long. Samardzija’s conversion from the bullpen to the rotation has been one of the most pleasant surprises for a Cubs’ team that has sorely lacked good news through the first month. Need pitching help? Stop what you’re doing and see if Samardzija is on your wire… now!
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