It was easy to sense a tiny bit of panic in the air after the Nationals dropped four in a row this week to fall under .500 for the first time since 2011. However, the past two games can put any of that silliness to bed.
After Gio Gonzalez limited the Reds to a solo homer on Thursday, Jordan Zimmermann took it a step further last night by tossing a one-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory at Nationals Park.
It was Zimmermann’s first career shutout and third complete game. He struck out four and walked one and needed just 91 pitches to get it done. The Reds’ only hit was a single by Xavier Paul in the third inning.
Homer Bailey was pretty excellent in his own right, allowing five hits over seven innings while striking out six and walking none. But an RBI single by Jayson Werth in the bottom of the fourth inning was enough to put him on the losing side.
Zimmermann is now 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 19/7 K/BB ratio in 36 innings over his first five starts this season. While he doesn’t get much attention because of the presence of Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, the 26-year-old right-hander owns a 2.95 ERA since the start of 2011. Only Cliff Lee, Jered Weaver, Johnny Cueto, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA (min. 300 IP) during the same timespan.
Your Friday box scores:
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 6
Astros 3, Red Sox 7
Phillies 4, Mets 0
Cubs 4, Marlins 2
Braves 0, Tigers 10
Pirates 1, Cardinals 9
Rangers 4, Twins 3
Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 3
Rays 4, White Sox 5
Giants 1, Padres 2
Orioles 3, Athletics 0
Brewers 5, Dodgers 7
Angels 6, Mariners 3
Indians/Royals – postponed
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.