Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann overcame a lengthy weather delay to make an impressive major league debut earlier this week. The Nationals’ defense could be his biggest problem in his next start.
Zimmermann hopes to help the error-plagued Nationals avoid a three-game sweep by the New York Mets on Sunday when the teams close their series at Citi Field.
Zimmermann (1-0, 3.00 ERA) showed why he was a top prospect for Washington (3-13) on Monday in a 3-2 win over Atlanta. He had to wait over two hours to make his major league debut, but it didn’t appear to faze him, as he went six innings, allowing two runs and six hits while striking out three in the victory.
“He was pretty impressive, especially since this was not the nicest day to play baseball,” manager Manny Acta told the Nationals’ official Web site. “The kid hung in there and was very patient in the clubhouse. He went out there and gave us a tremendous effort.”
Acta will hand the ball to the 22-year-old right-hander again on Sunday after a frustrating loss by his team the day before. Washington committed three errors and allowed five unearned runs in an 8-2 defeat to the Mets (8-9). Starter Daniel Cabrera lasted 2 1-3 innings after giving up five runs - only one earned - while walking four. The National, who have made 18 errors this season, are winless in eight road games.
“That first error I really think just took the air out of us,” Acta said. “I know it would make a good press conference, but I’m not going to throw things. At least not in front of you guys.”
The Mets, meanwhile, have bounced back this weekend after entering this series having lost four straight. During that losing streak, their starting pitchers were 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA, and the rotation twice failed to pitch out of the fifth inning.
Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey have had strong starts this weekend. After Santana allowed one run in six innings of a 4-3 win Friday, Pelfrey pitched 5 2-3 innings Saturday, yielding two runs and six hits in an 8-2 victory. Carlos Beltran had three hits and Ryan Church drove in two runs.
“The last couple games we’ve been terrible - pretty much the whole season,” Church said. “Everybody knows that we’re a good team. I think once it clicks, it’s not going to stop.”
Oliver Perez (1-1, 7.80) now looks to bounce back after a disappointing start against St. Louis on Tuesday. Perez was reached for four runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings while walking five in a 6-4 loss but escaped without a decision.
“I thought he was trying to kind of paddle all night. He was walking the tight rope,” manager Jerry Manuel told the Mets’ official Web site. “You want your guy to finish that inning off, and you can give him every opportunity to do that, but it just didn’t work out.”
The left-hander is 3-3 with a 6.53 ERA in eight starts against the Nationals. Perez was 1-1 with a 8.62 ERA in three outing versus them last season.
The Mets have been on the verge of a three-game sweep on two other occasions this season, but they’ve lost the finale each time.