The Washington Times - June 3, 2011, 12:06PM

There’s not much to say about the Nationals track record against today’s starter, right-hander Josh Collmenter. Collmenter, the rookie phenom with a 1.49 ERA, has — by nature of being a rookie — never faced anyone on the Nationals roster.

Collmenter didn’t start his first game for the Diamondbacks until May 14, making his first seven major league appearances out of the bullpen — to the tune of a 1.29 ERA and holding opponents to a .170 batting average. But by virtue of an extremely unconventional delivery, he’s done well in whatever role the Diamondbacks have thrown him into.


In four career starts, he’s failed to reach six innings just once and held opponents to a .160 average and .190 on-base percentage. 

Here’s a bit on Collmenter from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic: “Despite a lack of dominant stuff, he has pitched well, likely the result of a delivery he thinks he might have developed from throwing tomahawks in the woods as a kid in Michigan. He throws from straight over the top, so extreme that people call him a right-handed lefty.”

The Nationals know how much a deceptive delivery can benefit a pitcher first hand because they watch Tyler Clippard fool hitters constantly with his own funky motion. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the Nationals quietly igniting offense does against Collmenter tonight.

– Jordan Zimmermann continued his progression into the pitcher the Nationals saw him to be since they drafted him out of little-known Wisconsin Stevens-Point in the second round of the 2007 draft. 

In his sixth straight quality start, Zimmermann toyed with the hottest team in the National League for seven innings and allowed just one run, a meaningless tally in the seventh.

How sharp was Zimmermann last night? Per ESPN Buster Olney’s daily blog (and with info via ESPN Stats & Information):

- On at-bats ending with sliders, Diamondbacks hitters were 0-for-8 with three strikeouts and opponents are now hitting .224 against Zimmermann’s slider this season.

- Arizona hitters were 0-for-6 against Zimmermann with runners in scoring position.

(And the most astounding one) Of the 27 batters Zimmermann faced, only two — the second batter and the final one — saw three-ball counts.

– Michael Morse was 4-for-5 last night with two more RBI as the Nationals new first baseman continues his white-hot tear at the plate. Since May 1, Morse is batting .429 with a .771 slugging percentage and he’s raised his season average that began dwindling around the Mendoza line to an impressive .319.

He’s not the only one. Every member of the Nationals starting lineup except Rick Ankiel had at least one hit Thursday night, including two from Zimmermann himself and another multi-hit night for second baseman Danny Espinosa, who’s also raised his average to .219 after he saw it hover around the .200 mark for much of the month of May.

– Jayson Werth was hit on the elbow with a pitch in his last at-bat Thursday night and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he’d have to check on the right fielder tomorrow to see how he’s doing.