It’s been a while since Ryan Zimmerman wowed the home crowd like this. Indeed, as big a season as the Nats third baseman has had, he came to the plate in the ninth inning today without any walk-off hits to his name this season.
Zim, of course, was Mr. Walk-Off the last three years, clubbing four game-winning homers. So you knew it had to happen again eventually. Sure enough, he did it today, smacking a 1-1 changeup from Florida’s Leo Nunez into the Red Porch to give the Nationals a 5-4 win.
I’ll have plenty more on Zim in tomorrow’s paper — by sheer coincidence, I had already written our weekly Nats Insider on the guy before today’s game, had to tweak that some afterward — but I want to share one interesting nugget that I discovered while working on that story.
Zimmerman is currently hitting .300 with 28 homers, 93 RBI and 96 runs. Barring some catastrophe, he’ll reach the 30-homer plateau and also surpass 100 RBI and runs. If he maintains his batting average, he’ll have put together one of the best seasons by any major league third baseman this decade.
Indeed, only five other third basemen have gone .300-30-100-100 in a single season since 2000: Alex Rodriguez (who has done it three times), David Wright (twice), Chipper Jones (twice), Scott Rolen (once) and Adrian Beltre (once). That’s some elite company for Zim to join. And throw in his Gold Glove defense, the 30-game hit streak, the All-Star berth and … well, he’s not just having a good season. He’s having a great season.
There were other heroes today, of course. Willie Harris homered to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Cristian Guzman beat out a grounder to second to set up Zimmerman’s game-winner. J.D. Martin pitched another effective game. Mike Morse had a big, two-run pinch-hit in the eighth.
“It was a great team win,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “I don’t think we could have a better win that exemplified how hard the guys are playing. It’s too bad the record is what it is, but that’s the kind of effort we’re getting. Sometimes when you’re not winning, it looks like the effort’s not there. But that has just not been the case.”