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Cubs 6, Nats 3: Zimmermann struggles as Nats fall to Cubs

Jun 7, 2015, 7:18 PM EST

Jun 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) pitches during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals’ offense showed signs of life on Sunday with two early runs to give Jordan Zimmermann a lead to work with, but Zimmermann himself could not capitalize in what ended up one of his worst starts of the 2015 season so far.

Zimmermann gave up four runs to the Cubs and was lucky it wasn’t worse. He allowed 12 batters to reach base and several times escaped jams that could have turned the game into a blowout.

Zimmermann was roughed up by the Cubs and so was Blake Treinen, who replaced him in the sixth inning. Treinen retired the first two batters he faced before giving up a double, two consecutive walks and then a wild pitch to score a run. Two batters later another run came home on a single by Starlin Castro. Treinen was coming off two scoreless outings, but could not keep it going on Sunday.

That unfortunate sequence in the sixth inning put the Nationals down three runs and they were not able to recover. The 6-3 loss was their eighth in their last 10 games and it left them at 30-27 on the season. They are just three games over .500 for the first time since May 15.

The Nationals lost this four-game series to the Cubs three games to one. Chicago won the season series 4-3.

One thing to watch for postgame is the status of Denard Span. He left after the seventh inning and was replaced in the outfield by Danny Espinosa. Espinosa had never played outfield in his professional career before, so it was likely not just to get Span some rest. He has been dealing with a sore right knee in recent days and missed three games earlier in the week due to the injury.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: With all the ‘hitting lowlights’ of late, why don’t we take a glass half-full approach to this one? The Nationals lost the game, but their offense did manage three runs off eight hits despite not having regulars Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman on the field.

Yunel Escobar led the way with three singles in his return from missing two games with a sore right wrist. The second one drove in a run in the fifth inning. Escobar now has 16 multi-hit games out of the 51 he has played this season. This was his fourth game this year with three hits or more.

The Nationals’ other two runs came on Ian Desmond’s fifth homer of the season. He smashed an opposite field bomb in the second inning to score Wilson Ramos, who reached on an error by Castro at shortstop.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Zimmermann entered Sunday with nine consecutive quality starts overall and 16 straight at home. But he found trouble early against the Cubs and never fully recovered in five innings of inefficient work.

Zimmermann gave up four runs on the day and allowed 12 total baserunners on 10 hits and two walks. He surrendered his first run on a Castro single in the second inning. The second run was on a Jonathan Herrera RBI single in the fourth. And the final two came on a Chris Coghlan single to right field in the fifth.

Zimmermann gave up more than three runs on Sunday for just the second time this season. It was his worst start since April 13 at the Boston Red Sox, his second outing of 2015.

KEY STAT: Sunday was only the seventh time in the Nationals’ last 16 games that they’ve scored at least three runs.

UP NEXT: The Nationals have Monday off before traveling to New York to play a two-game series with the Yankees. Monday is the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft where the Nationals pick 58th overall. Their Tuesday game against the Yankees is a 7:05 p.m. start with Max Scherzer (6-4, 1.85) and Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 2.76) set to square off.

  1. Danny - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:19 PM

    Yikes.

  2. janebeard - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Well, our boys are in a slump, no doubt about it. I hope Denard is ok. Danny Espinosa is an unsung hero of this team.

    I think they always lose the day after the Dream Ball, or whatever it’s called, don’t they?

    • natsfan1a - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:27 PM

      I think they have tended to lose the day after the gala. I’m glad they’re off tomorrow.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      Need to focus and work out of it.

      Wonder what are records in games Werth plays in compared to the ones he hasn’t. I believe it is part of our team’s equation.

      • natsfan1a - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:35 PM

        I would be interested to know that, too.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      Make that 2-6 now.

      Also, make that 0-5. Seems like the real Nationals dream is to win a game after this gala.

  3. philipd763 - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    Nice crowds all weekend and the Nats puke all over themselves with lousy pitching and lousy hitting.

  4. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Ray Knight says it best. You’re a big leaguer play like it.

    I wish the players played with the same intensity as Tay played when he played.

    He understands correct hitting and I believe he would ride the players to change their opponents.

    Ray agreed with me Ramos was way too far out for the Harper’s throw.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      Yep, half a step back which was the story of this game.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    “@Chelsea_Janes: Also, left fielder Danny Espinosa is on deck. The list of sentences no one expected to say about this team grows daily.”

    No one expected? Keep eyes and ears open Chelsea. Smart money was on it.

    • Danny - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:30 PM

      To be fair, she probably meant no one expected it at the start of the year. Makes sense to move him there now though.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:46 PM

        Oh ok. I had several people telling I was crazy until last week. Been suggesting it for weeks.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      Let’s not go overboard patting yourself on the back just yet. Oh wait, I forgot who I’m talking to. You pat yourself on the back first thing every morning, last thing every night, and all day long to boot. But consider this. Espinosa playing left field today was a situation comparable to a position player pitching, or the “emergency catcher” putting on the tools of ignorance. There really was no other choice. With Robinson already spent pinch hitting, Moore at first giving Zimmerman the day off (which IIRC you have been patting yourself on the back about since the game started) who else besides Espinosa could have come in to play LF when Span had to leave, shifting Taylor to center? That’s right, no one.

      Now, if we ever see Espinosa in the starting lineup in LF, then you could maybe claim some credit for predicting it. But the chances of that happening are slim to none.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:18 PM

        Exactly.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:32 PM

        Come up with an original thought or some strategy or a good observation or inside information and I will pat you on your back. Ok.

        Thanks. Ghost

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:33 PM

        Moore to LF and Danny to 1st seems simple BTW.

      • nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:30 PM

        Lol. You nailed. Ghost loves himself like no other.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 8, 2015 at 9:02 AM

        -1

  6. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    MW not concerned.

    I am not concerned.

    I am ticked, I wish MW would be a little more ticked.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:54 PM

      Things will improve.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 8, 2015 at 12:22 AM

        Steve, your tennis elbow is never going to get better if you don’t quit reaching so far around to pat yourself on the back so much. Toot D. Blan’s post at 8:02 p.m. Is dead on.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 8, 2015 at 5:47 AM

        Joe, you and Feelwood are too green with envy. Now you want to post this cr@p over here. Get a life.

  7. David Proctor - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    Has Blake Treinen worked out of a jam all year? He either has 1-2-3 innings that wow you or he implodes and allows multiple runs. When men are on base, he can’t seem to work out of it, which makes no sense for a guy who should be adept at getting double plays.

    We can’t be surprised at the lack of offense for this team when you look at the lineup they’re trotting out there. The top 3 are good: Span, Escobar, Harper. Rendon is still finding his stroke, that was to be expected. But Ramos and Desmond are struggling (though Desmond did have a good approach today for once). And the bottom 3 are just awful with Moore (.233 OBP), Taylor and the pitcher.

    I would not be surprised to see Espinosa starting in LF on Tuesday. I would have started him at 1B today over Moore. Moore and Robinson are dead weight on this team.

    • nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:15 PM

      Yes yes. Enough of Tyler Michael Westbrook More

      • scnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:05 PM

        I think he has had enough chances. He had potential now to just a matter of finding a better option. By all accounts a nice guy but you have to think somewhere out there is a guy who can hit 250.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:03 PM

      It seems he hasn’t

  8. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    Span back spasim

  9. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    Looked it up. Werth playing 16-8. Not pkaying 14-19.

    Doesn’t matter what Werth did in tge game, just playing lifts everyone.

    Need someone to create that same feeling.

    • natsfan1a - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:56 PM

      Interesting, thanks.

  10. nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:14 PM

    Great crowd today, great weather great food. More bad baseball. Tyler More and Blake Treinen can’t play. MAT is good in field but can’t hit. Let’s just play the veterans and go with it. Yes Danny in the OF. And can we please get rid of Ramos? 4 HRs. he can’t catch, he can’t run, he can’t tag and he is slower than Molasses.

  11. nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Ramos is a LaZy ball player

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:08 PM

      Check below.

  12. npb99 - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    Strange logic in this story. Zimm sits because he’s in a huge slump. Then the post-story recap says, we shouldn’t expect too much without Zim in the lineup.

  13. rmoore446 - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    What bothers me is the lack of life in the team in recent days. Used to be I had some confidence that our boys would scrap their way back from a deficit or give it a good try. Not lately, and certainly not today. I’m sure that will change in coming days. I hope so.

    • npb99 - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:35 PM

      Yes, they are just dreary. I couldn’t watch much of it today, was just too depressing.

    • nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:36 PM

      I agree I sure hope the guys are getting used to losing and accepting it.

      • deftndumb - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:59 PM

        Yes, NattyGoats, we know you “sure hope the guys are getting used to losing and accepting it.”
        Why do you keep trolling this site?

      • nattygoats - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:32 PM

        Aren’t

      • deftndumb - Jun 8, 2015 at 5:33 PM

        Freudian slip, perhaps.

  14. senators5 - Jun 7, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    The point I make the few times I post here is that the Nats are in the NL East. Central or West, they would be buried already..

    • scnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:06 PM

      Which means we need to be playing well in September not June. We will win the division by default.

  15. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    Our batting with RISP IS 256 (9THin the NL). Our pitching against RISP 295 (14th one NL)

    Our ERA with RISP is also 14th at 12.81

  16. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    Our individual RISP

    Jordon 1-2
    Roark 1-2
    Johnson 2-5
    Span 13-37 .351
    Loboton 4-12
    Taylor 8-24
    Harper 16-49 .327
    Ramos 14-43 .326
    Uggla 7 for 24 .292
    Zimmerman 17-67 .254
    Escobar 10 for 40
    Werth 7-29 .241
    Moore 2-9 .222
    Robinson 3-14 .214
    Zimmermann 1-5 .200
    Espinosa 4-27 .148
    Desmond 7-51 .137
    Gio 0-2 .000
    Scherzer 0-4 .000
    Fister 0-4
    Cole 0-2
    Strasburg 0-2
    Rendon 0-3

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 8, 2015 at 1:00 AM

      Thanks for that info, MNF. Pretty interesting and very enlightening.

  17. npb99 - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:01 PM

    Maybe if we struggle all season and have to fight our way into the playoffs we’ll do better than when we coast into the playoffs with big leads and then flop.

  18. Candide - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Well, that’s $90 and 10 collective hours of our lives that Cunegonde and I will never see again.

    • Toot D. Blan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:33 PM

      You should have gone to the Dream Foundation gala instead. That’s where they left the game they didn’t have today.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:41 PM

        They are 0-5 after dream foundation.maybe next year don’t have a game schedule the day after.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    Here are the RISP avg against our pitchers

    Thornton .000
    Roark .103
    Stammen .167
    Cedano .167
    Storen .188
    Trainan .200
    Scherzer .204
    Fister .241
    Ross .286
    Gio .288
    Barrett .316
    Rivero .333
    Zimmermann .358
    Strasburg .408
    Jordan .412
    Janssen .429
    Solis .500
    Cole .509
    Hill .500
    Grace .566
    Martin .667

    • npb99 - Jun 7, 2015 at 11:48 PM

      Thanks, now I’m even more depressed…

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 8, 2015 at 10:36 PM

        Our pitchers have been as much the issue as our hitters.

  20. natsmachine - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    There doesn’t seem to be any urgency with this team and that starts at the top with MW. He is just not cutting it…got totally schooled these 2 series by Joe Maddon. And let’s not even talk about McCatty and Schu…not seeing any help from those two. Yes, I know that the players gotta make the plays, but good coaching inspires good play and I’m not seeing good coaching here.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 7, 2015 at 10:56 PM

      The players are responsible for the plan, but the approach is instutionally created. There is what I see as a problem. Too many over swings with 2 strikes for the hitters. To many flat line pitches with 2 strikes by the pitchers. I created 2 notes to tell you the worse offending hitters and pitchers.

      Also agree there does seem to be a lack of passion by to many people.

    • npb99 - Jun 7, 2015 at 11:49 PM

      When they were winning in May they were hitting lots of homers. Now they’re still swinging for the fences but coming up empty. Same approach, different results. Hopefully, Rendon’s take-what-they-give-you approach will influence others.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 8, 2015 at 10:37 PM

        Homers great, but small ball great too.

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