Coming into their series against the Colorado Rockies having won five out of their past six games, the Washington Nationals were unable to find answers in regards to both offense and pitching, losing on July 8 by the score of 4-3 for their first series loss in nearly three weeks. Rex Brothers picked up his fourth win of the year for the Rockies, while Tyler Clippard had his third loss.
Zimmermann pitched yet another stellar game against the Rockies, going seven innings and giving up only one run on three hits to go along with two strikeouts on the day. One has to feel bad for Zimmermann this year, as he has gone at least six innings in every start and has a 2.61 ERA, yet has a record of 5-6 to this point in the season. The Nationals had a 3-1 leading heading into the eighth inning, but Sean Burnett gave up two quick runs and Tyler Clippard threw a wild pitch in the ninth inning that gave the Rockies the lead for good. With Drew Storen and Henry Rodriguez supposedly coming back soon after the All-Star break, I don't the Nationals need to worry very much about their bullpen, and they seemed actually seem primed to make a run for the division title this year if their starting pitching can hold up.
One of the great offensive surprises for the Nationals in the first half of the 2012 season has been Ian Desmond, who went 2 for 4 in the July 8 game with a home run and two stolen bases. Desmond now has 17 home runs on the year to go with a .285 average and 51 RBIs as well. What is most surprising is his home run total, as Desmond only had 22 home runs over his first three seasons with the ball club. With Adam LaRoche fizzling out the Nationals needed someone who could put up some good numbers in the middle of their lineup, and Desmond has been a great gap-filler this year. The real question is whether or not he can keep it up, and we will just have to wait and see on that.
The Nationals will look to continue their momentum heading into the second half of the season as they take on the Miami Marlins on July 13, with Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound against Josh Johnson. We already know what Jordan has been capable of this year, but Josh Johnson is a completely different story. He has been far from his dominant self this year with a 5-5 record and a 4.06 ERA, and the Nationals should have a good chance to start off on a good note.
Ryan Kekoufski lives near the Nationals' stadium and has been following the team ever since they moved to Washington D.C.
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