Jordan Zimmermann has no answer for Cardinals’ onslaught

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Jordan Zimmermann spent some time as the NL ERA leader this season, and while he did have  a hiccup in August, he bounced back to go 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his final five starts of the season. Overall, he was 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA that ranked seventh in the league.

Which is all quite impressive. What Zimmermann hasn’t been able to do, though, is beat the Cardinals. He entered Monday’s outing 0-2 with a 9.12 ERA in five career starts against them, and he proved no better in the Game 2 loss, giving up five runs in three innings before being removed.

The Cards did most of their damage in the second, collecting four straight hits with no outs to score two runs. They later got an RBI groundout and an RBI single, and the four-run rally only ended when Jon Jay was thrown out trying to take second on his hit.

Zimmermann’s success these last two years is partly predicated on his ability to pitch out of jams. In 2012, the league batted .288 with 11 homers in 434 at-bats against him with the bases empty. That dropped to .198 with seven homers in 308 at-bats with runners on and .163 with one homer in 172 at-bats with RISP. In 2011, he was much better with the bases empty (.245, 7 HR) but also lights out with RISP, not allowing a single homer in 111 at-bats.

Of course, that didn’t hold up today. In 32 starts this season, Zimmermann had allowed a total of one hit with runners on first and third and one hit with runners on second and third. The Cardinals had hits in both of those situations in back-to-back at-bats today.

Credit St. Louis for staying aggressive and not letting Zimmermann get ahead in the count. Their four hits with men on base in the second inning came on counts of 0-0, 3-1, 1-1 and 1-0. I doubt they’ve discovered any special recipe for beating Zimmermann, but they do seem to have the right approach against him when he’s in trouble.

Rangers activate Joey Gallo from injured list

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The Rangers announced on Tuesday that outfielder Joey Gallo was activated from the 10-day injured list. He’s in the lineup, batting fifth and playing center field against the Tigers.

Gallo, 25, went on the disabled list at the beginning of June due to a strained left oblique. He was in the midst of an All-Star-caliber campaign, batting .276/.421/.653 with 17 home runs and 41 RBI in 214 plate appearances.

On a similar note, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Gallo wasn’t among those offered invitations to participate in the upcoming Home Run Derby. Gallo said of participating, “If I’m not invited, it makes the decision easy.”

It’s one thing for Gallo to not participate because he’s not interested; it’s another thing entirely if he’s not invited, however understandable given his injury. We are all worse off not being able to see Gallo crush dinger after dinger at Progressive Field next month.