Nationals debate whether to rest Jordan Zimmermann

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Jordan Zimmermann, who had a streak out 11 straight quality starts ended by poor defense in his outing Monday, might be held out through the All-Star break as the Nationals attempt to manage his innings.

Zimmermann made a strong case for a spot on the All-Star team with a 2.82 ERA in 17 starts this season.  He was fifth in the NL at 2.63 when the teams were picked Sunday, and his ERA should have held pretty steady Monday, except neither Roger Bernadina nor Jayson Werth wanted to take charge of an Alfonso Soriano flyball to right-center Monday in Zimmermann’s start against the Cubs.  What should have been a routine out ended up as a two-run single, and it took Zimmermann out of the running for a win.

The Nationals, though, didn’t want Zimmermann on the All-Star team anyway.  He’s at 108 2/3 innings in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, and the team had been planning to limit him to 160 or so.  At his current pace, he’ll get there in eight or nine starts, which means he could be shut down for the entire month of September.

So, Zimmermann, who was slated to pitch again on Saturday, is likely looking at two weeks off.  The Nationals could hold him out through the All-Star break and then let him return to pitch somewhere between July 17-19.

Cody Bellinger named NLCS MVP

Cody Bellinger
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Following a dominant 5-1 win to clinch the National League Championship Series on Saturday night, the Dodgers named outfielder Cody Bellinger their MVP of the series.

Bellinger, 23, made noise when it mattered. Entering Saturday’s game, he carried a meager .190/.227/.238 batting line with just four hits and two RBI, but his hits in Games 4 and 7 became the difference-makers the Dodgers needed to keep pace with the Brewers and clinch the NL pennant. In Game 4, it was Bellinger’s 13th-inning base hit off of Junior Guerra that put the Dodgers over the top for the walk-off 2-1 win. The outfielder returned to put the finishing touches on the series with a go-ahead home run — his first of the postseason — in the second inning of Game 7.

Bellinger wrapped his second season in the Dodgers’ organization in 2018, slashing .260/.343/.470 with 25 home runs, an .814 OPS, and 3.6 fWAR across 632 PA and all 162 games. He’s the youngest Dodgers player to receive the award to date.