The Washington Nationals’ bullpen will have an extra body in it during Thursday’s Game 4 of the National League Division Series. Jordan Zimmermann, the Nationals’ Game 2 starter, will be out there in the event that starter Ross Detwiler falters early and he’s needed in long relief.
Zimmermann lasted just three innings in his playoff debut on Monday, allowing five earned runs off seven hits to the St. Louis Cardinals in a 12-4 Nationals loss. Thursday would traditionally be his day to throw a bullpen, especially in the hopes of starting Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday.
“He didn’t throw but 60‑something pitches in his last outing,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “So this will be his throw day and he will be available out of the pen.”
Zimmermann has never once sat in the bullpen, he said, so Thursday will be a new experience for him as well as the Nationals’ relievers.
On a day that could be their last this season, Zimmermann said there was nothing out of the ordinary going on in the clubhouse Thursday morning, but that the relievers were looking forward to his arrival.
“They were all pretty excited when I told ‘em the news this morning, so we’ll see,” Zimmermann said. “Hopefully Det goes seven and I don’t have to get in this game. It’ll be the best for everyone.”
While Zimmermann has never thrown in relief, he did say there was a time in college at Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he threw nine innings and came back on one day of rest to throw seven more.
“I was pretty tuckered out after that,” Zimmermann said.
Gio Gonzalez will not be available on Thursday with the Nationals keeping him ready for what they hope will be a Game 5 on Friday night at Nationals Park.
“I need him for tomorrow’s game,” manager Davey Johson said. “If I throw everything but the kitchen sink here, I may not have a chance tomorrow. Gio is going to pitch Game 5.”