Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann ends season with 3.18 ERA

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Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann spent most of the 2010 season recovering from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, so he tallied only 70 2/3 innings between the minor and major leagues.

Because of that low innings total, the talented 25-year-old right-hander entered the 2011 campaign with a loosely-defined innings limit. And he reached it on Sunday afternoon against the Reds.

Zimmermann allowed three earned runs over 4 1/3 frames, surrendering six hits and a walk while fanning six Cincinnati hitters in his final outing of the year. He threw 81 pitches, 55 of which went for strikes.

Despite Sunday’s rough outing, the often underhyped Zimmermann will turn out the lights on his third major league season having posted a fantastic 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 124/31 K/BB ratio over 161 1/3 innings (26 starts). He’s likely to open 2012 as the Nats’ No. 2 starter behind 23-year-old phenom Stephen Strasburg.