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Slumping and hurting, Zimmerman out again

Jun 10, 2015, 12:51 PM EDT

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NEW YORK — Ryan Zimmerman, mired in one of the worst slumps of his career and dealing with a lingering foot injury, was out of the Nationals lineup Wednesday, the third time he hasn’t played in four days.

Zimmerman has tried to play through plantar fasciitis in his left foot most of the season, but the ailment hadn’t kept him out of the lineup until Sunday, when he sat for the Nationals’ series finale against the Cubs. The club was off Monday, but Zimmerman again didn’t look comfortable at the plate during Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees, prompting another day off Wednesday.

“It’s not like it’s a pulled muscle, so it’s something that bothers him differently every day,” manager Matt Williams said of the injury, which is a stretched or inflamed ligament in the sole of the foot. “Some days it’s better than others. Some days it doesn’t go well. We’ll see.”

Whether it’s entirely a byproduct of the foot injury or something else, Zimmerman is stuck in a prolonged slump, the likes of which he has rarely endured during his decade in the major leagues. He ended play Tuesday hitting just .209 with a .265 on-base percentage, five homers and 34 RBI. He ranks last among 26 qualifying MLB first basemen with a .611 OPS and -0.5 WAR.

Zimmerman currently finds himself in a 4-for-46 slump, capped by Tuesday’s 0-for-4 performance.

“The issue is that if you’re hampered, you have to look at the source of all of the struggle, whether it’s physical or timing, whether it’s a combination of both,” Williams said. “That being said, we have to make sure that we’re monitoring him physically first. He’s a pro. He understands how to hit and he’s proven that over time.

“He’ll be fine. I fully expect him to be, at the end of the year, where he normally is. He’s gone through a little of a tough stretch lately. That being said, he knows how to get out of it, too. No. 1 concern for me is physical health and the foot and making sure that he’s able to get out there and play and do what he wants to do. We monitor that every day and make decisions on it every day as well.”

  1. micksback1 - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    OK, I feel better, that is all I wanted to know. This is a good thing now and explains a lot

  2. rubberballsand1iquor - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:02 PM

    Zims babip is crazy low right now, 8th worst in the league, and about 90 pts below his average.

    He still seems to be scalding the ball at times thus a little unlucky, but the power zap from the PF, is obviously taking its toll.

    I am sure he start trend back up towards his average even if the PF does not fully subside.

  3. senators69 - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    If true (and I assume it is), it’s a disgrace that Matt Williams did not pull him WAY sooner. Sure you give your guys some rope, but Zim’s been terrible for way longer this season.

    I’m done with only two Nats:The manager and Desi.

  4. npb99 - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    FOF: fragile old friend.

  5. Guapo - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    Injuries and Bryce Harper will be the two biggest stories of the 2015 season.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 10, 2015 at 2:54 PM

      Injuries, Harper, and Scherzer’s no-hitter.

  6. Dave - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    It is really not earth-shaking news that Ryan has been playing with an injury. I’m not sure why this blog post is being regarded as enlightening news.

    I’m afraid you may be right, Guapo, about the stories of the year being Harper and injuries. Harper’s great, injuries are the opposite of great.

  7. texnat1 - Jun 10, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    What is the timeframe for getting over Zim’s injury? I assume that rest is the only cure?

    If a month off will see him return at 100 percent, I say go for it. The division is bad enough that the Nats can tread water for a bit, regroup and win in the second half. It’s a much better approach than letting Zim continue to be a shell of himself all season.

  8. philipd763 - Jun 10, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    My contention for some time has been that Ryan Zimmerman, at age 30, is washed up much like Nick Johnson was a the same age. I think he is only into his second year of a lengthy long term, no trade contract. I hope I am wrong but so far my instincts have been correct because two years ago I recommended trading him while he still had value and before his no-trade, $100 million contract kicked in. Trends don’t lie. Take a look at his annual stats and you will see the steady deterioration over time.

    • Karl Kolchak - Jun 10, 2015 at 6:28 PM

      Yeah, and Marlon Byrd was outright released by the Red Sox in 2012 at the age of 34 after seeing his OPS plummet to .488. All Byrd did then was bounce back and hit 49 HRs over the next two years–the two biggest HR years of his career. And Byrd in his prime was nowhere near as good as Zim.

      Not saying Ryan’s performance this year is not very troubling, but it in no way guarantees that he’s done as a ballplayer.

      • zmunchkin - Jun 10, 2015 at 6:39 PM

        To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

        Looking at Ryan’s career numbers on Baseball Reference I don’t see a steady decline. Other than this year, his numbers each year are right around his career average. He has not repeated his career years of 2009 and 2010. For example, consider his career best BA of .307 in 2010 and compare that to his worst since then of .275 in 2013. That is a difference of roughly 20 hits over a complete season. To quote Crash Davis, that is roughly one extra hit every 8th game. Not sure how this is a steady decline.

        Next consider his career splits (by first vs. second half or by month), they show that he is clearly better starting around July.

        This year is pretty bad, so no argument there. But before you make claims about what his career stats say, perhaps you should look at them and identify why they show a steady decline.

      • zmunchkin - Jun 10, 2015 at 6:42 PM

        My comments were directed to philipd763 as I agree with Karl Kolchak’s point!

  9. Another_Sam - Jun 10, 2015 at 6:33 PM

    He can’t play like he is now. Can’t throw. Can’t run. Not hitting.

  10. Andrew Wallace - Jun 10, 2015 at 7:18 PM

    ZMunchkin: Ryan Zimmerman WAR last 7 years according to baseball reference (I think that counts as facts): 7.3, 6.3, 3.9, 3.7, 1.6, 0.4, (this year is negative so far)

    • zmunchkin - Jun 10, 2015 at 7:43 PM

      WAR is a made up nonsense metric. Baseball Reference and FanGraphs have different values for it that only agree for the very worst and very best players.

      If you want to put any stock in such a metric, that is your right. But as someone with an advanced degree in analytics who happens to make his living advising companies how to access, report on, analyze and interpret their data, I come down on the side of it being an amusing, but not terribly reliable metric. For example, in the middle of last year according to the defensive WAR metrics, there were 189 outfielders who were rated as better defenders than Denard Span.

      And last, which of the many variables of the WAR metrics are you referencing?

      • npb99 - Jun 10, 2015 at 9:22 PM

        Thanks for poking at the WAR nonsense. People throw it around like it’s an objective measurement, when it’s not.

    • zmunchkin - Jun 10, 2015 at 7:59 PM

      And if you want to use WAR to make your argument, you should at least show all the years (I’ve excluded 2005 since he was a Sept call-up and 2015 as it is only a part year). Here are the values for 2006-2014 from the baseball reference link I provided above.

      2.9
      4.6
      2.7
      7.3
      6.2
      1.9
      3.9
      3.7
      0.4

      Not exactly a steady decline. Ups and downs, with two career years in 2009 and 2010. And the decline to .4 in 2014 is because he played roughly a third of the season, and missed most of the second half of the year when he is typically (again, check the career splits link in my original comment) much hotter.

  11. senators5 - Jun 10, 2015 at 8:31 PM

    Not quarreling with all of you stat guys, my main concern is the number of pitches RZ is taking, strikes and balls. Like my father said to me (I’M 76) if you want to play ball, you have to hit the damn ball! I have zero complaints about RZ’s contributions to the Nats since day one BUT no one plays forever and some run out of steam earlier than others and there are hundreds of examples to prove that point, just ask the Red Sox. My hope like everyone else is that RZ gets it back, but I will not be surprised that we find his present is also his future.

    • rabbit433 - Jun 11, 2015 at 6:24 AM

      Agreed senator. Stats are fun to look at, but they don’t determine what the result of your next at-bat will be. I got a flat tire yesterday. I don’t know why. The tire had never gone flat before.

  12. Nats Fan Zee - Jun 10, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    RZim need to go on the D/L. Desi needs to ride the pine for at least a week. Plug in T-mo, Tony to 3rd, Escobar to SS, Danny to 2nd base. Play that line up for a few weeks and I’ll bet the offense pick up. OBTW, Wilson needs to sit every 3rd day too.

    • scmargenau - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:44 AM

      I like that suggestion

    • scmargenau - Jun 11, 2015 at 1:44 AM

      I like that suggestion

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