Nationals Baseball: A test for ZNN

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A test for ZNN

When July ended Jordan Zimmermann had a stupid low ERA of 2.28.  He now stands a 2.99 just a bad game from popping back over 3.00.  That's still good.  That's still really good. But to lose 3/4 of a point of ERA in one month this late in the game requires a good drop in performance.

Here are his starts since August began
MIA 5IP, 7H, 1BB, 3K, 0HR
HOU 6IP, 3H, 0BB, 11K, 0HR
SFG 5.2IP, 8H, 2BB, 4K, 0HR
ATL 5IP, 8H, 2BB, 2K, 1HR
PHI 5IP, 5H, 3BB, 3K, 1HR
STL 3.2IP, 8H, 1BB, 3K, 2HR
CHC 7IP, 5H, 1BB, 9K, 1HR
 
Thta's a 5.54 ERA stretch right there including those couple of gems. What's the problem?  A little of everything. He is walking more than he usually does. He's not striking out as many (against the good teams*).  He's giving up more fly balls. Any one thing wouldn't do it, but they are all trending the wrong way together. Also he's seeing some reversal of his previous great luck.  More of the flyballs are going over the fence. More of the hit balls are falling for base hits. More of the guys on base are coming around to score. He's pitching worse and getting bad luck.

*Everyone goes through rough patches and besides he did have two starts that stood out. He pitched gems vs the Cubs and the Astros. Here's the thing though. The Cubs are the 2nd worst team in the NL in runs scored, with 3.79 per game. The only team worse? The Astros at 3.60.  Of course the flipside of that is also true. STL is the best offensive team in the league. The Braves are good. SF is above average.  The Phillies have been hot. The Marlins... well there's no good excuse for that. 

What does that mean going foward? Well just like the good luck couldn't continue, the bad luck can't as well.  He's not going to have 45% of runners score, or have other teams have a .345 BABIP against him the rest of the year. Those should even out.

The pitching worse is something to keep an eye on though. Zimmermann doesn't need to strike out a lot or walk none to be successful, but he usually can't strike out none and walk a few in the same game and be ok.  He had 6 games in his first 21 starts where he struck out only 2 or fewer men more than he walked.  He's done that 5 times in the last 7 games.  Even that wouldn't be so bad if he was giving up more ground balls but that gap has been increasing.  Two of his 4 worst games in giving up FBs in comparison to GBs have taken place during this stretch, 3 of his worst 7.

What I would look for tonight, pitching against a below average offense in a park that is pitcher friendly, are these three things.  How many does he walk? How many does he strikeout? How many flyball and groundballs does he give up? If these look good, or even if two of three of these look good, I'll take that as a positive.  It doesn't matter if they score on him. That can happen with one bad inning where a walk, and a legit hit are combined with a couple seeing eye singles and a bad read by Morse or Bryce. The way he's pitching is more important than the results right now because it gives us higher expectations for results in the future.  If two or all of those stats look bad, then I've got to start to worry.  Is he tired (171 IP is his most ever and he had pitched 100 and 70 inning prior to the 161 last year)? Is something physically wrong?

ZNN is key to the Nats post-season plans. They need him pitching well or else they have Gio and 3 question marks, a long cry from the "3 studs, maybe more" people we're convinced the Nats had just a few weeks ago.

8 comments:

brendan said...

Possibility of him tiring? Most innings he's ever pitched and first effort at a full season of pitching. And (no duh) it's only going to be more.

blovy8 said...

That's a pretty easy conclusion.

Strike out more, walk less, give up fewer hits and home runs, get more groundballs and pop-ups.

Every pitcher would like to do that.

WHY is it happening, Harper?

My GUESS, absent reviewing pitchtrak, is that he's lost a bit of command, and a few more pitches are not on the corners, and the proverbial dead arm period is upon him. But that's about the same as saying, well, PITCH better, and make it less about 95 on the gun, man.

Harper said...

brednan - yeah and that's the easy answer but it doesn't have to be true. Just because I've only run 5 miles, doesn't mean I'll lose pace or even feel it if I try to run a 6th. Do I think that it's true? Yeah, at least in part. But Kilgore's whole "he's throwing harder than he needs to" presents an interesting counter arguement.

blovy8 - You're like a 4 year old! ZNN is losing games and giving up runs. Why? Well he's pitching badly. Why? Ask siri. (Insert happy face denoting not an attack)

I agree the next "why" answer is probably pitch location. Probably not only being wild but specifically being up in the zone more too. We'll watch tonight maybe peruse the pitch f/x stuff if he doesn't do well again. But of course like you said, if it's true, that just leads to the biggest question. Why is he pitching out of the zone?

I'd guess he's tired too. One other possibility is that he has always been a flyball pitcher and in the beginning of this season he got his GB% up there. In July though it went way back down and yet July worked out great for him. It worked out great in part because he was getting REAL lucky 2.9% HR/FB, .255 BABIP, 87.8% LOB. Maybe he was convinced during this return to his old pitching that that was the way to go and hasn't been able to get back into his early season pattern.

blovy8 said...

The other thing that could help ZNN is moving the batter's feet a bit. He's probably gotten a reputation as a guy with control, maybe it's time to dispel that.

WiredHK said...

Maybe he has just struggled, and it's that simple. Sometimes good players play badly for awhile and then they right the ship.

Good hitters go through slumps all the time. But they get more chances to break out of them. Same with bullpen guys (not from an innings perspective, but from a "total days performing in a month" standpoint). Look at Verlander's last 5 starts -- he's kind of all over the map, including some real stinkers. But does anyone doubt his ability? Nah, he's just having a little rough patch.

An SP is only out there a few times a month, really. Have a few bad games/days and it seems like it's been forever since you were a stud.

I think ZNN will right the ship. His really bad outing was against a terrific hitting StL team. It happens....

Anonymous said...

This site is really cool! I found here alot of information that I was looking for. I am really happy to be a part of This site!

Johnsonniwe said...

This site is really cool! I found here alot of information that I was looking for. I am really happy to be a part of This site!

necmettin karadağlı said...

Sex Shop ve Erotik Shop sektöründe faaliyet gösteren firmamızda bütün Seks Shop ürünlerini bulabilir ve kapıda ödeme seçeneği ile teslim alırken ödemesini yapabilirsiniz.
Gizlilik temel prensibimizdir kargolarımız kapalı kutularda kozmetik ürün olarak taşınır paketlerin üzerinde Erotik Shop ve Sex Shop ibareleri ile Seks Shop reklamları bulunmaz
Firmamız 7/24 hizmet vermektedir ve bütün iller ile kıbrıs’ a ürün gönderimi yapılmaktadır.