I’m officially taking my non-partisan hat off for a moment here and announcing that I am now rooting for Ryan Zimmerman’s hitting streak to continue at least through the end of the week. Zimmerman, who just singled up the middle in the top of the first off the Diamondbacks’ Max Scherzer to extend the streak to 28 games, is getting only minimal love on the road. Most fans here in Arizona aren’t even aware of it, and I doubt the folks in San Francisco will care much either.
Zimmerman, though, deserves some serious attention for this streak, which is the majors’ longest in two years, the fifth longest in Washington-baseball history and the longest by any major-league third baseman since Wade Boggs also hit in 28 straight in 1985.
He deserves to step to the plate at Nationals Park Friday night against the Phillies with the streak at 31 games and get a nice ovation from his home fans. And those fans deserve a chance to watch with baited breath as all of us have on the road this week every time Zim comes up with the streak on the line. This really has been an impressive run, and Zimmerman has handled it all flawlessly as usual.
OK, the non-partisan hat is back on as we run through some pregame notes (even though we’re already in the bottom of the first)…
— Jesus Flores is out of the lineup today, still feeling the effects of a foul tip off his right shoulder last night. Flores took a really good shot there, and though he stayed in the game two more innings, he really couldn’t throw at all and was in considerable pain. X-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a contusion (bruise). Flores’ status is day-to-day. From talking to him, I know he’d love to be back in the lineup tomorrow. We’ll see if Manny Acta lets him.
— Cristian Guzman is getting a rare day off himself. Nothing wrong with Guzie, just a planned off day. Which means Alex Cintron is starting at shortstop. Cintron, unfortunately, has done nothing to help the Nationals since he joined the roster April 18. He’s 0-for-16 with six strikeouts, 0-for-11 as a pinch hitter. And his defense hasn’t been anything special either. Of course, it’s tough to get in a groove when you’re only getting one at-bat a night, if that. And Cintron has admittedly hit the ball hard recently. But you’ve got to wonder how much longer the Nats can carry him as a backup infielder when he’s doing very little to deserve the spot.
— Joel Hanrahan is not the Nats’ closer again … yet. Hanrahan got the save last night, bailing out Kip Wells, but Acta insists he’s still going with a closer by committee. Hanrahan, though, is working his way back into that role, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching the ninth inning again soon.