Ryan Zimmerman was healthy enough for the Nationals to put him on the NLDS roster, so why didn’t he start any games against the Giants? Well, because he wasn’t actually healthy.
Zimmerman, who was out for two months with a hamstring injury and also battled chronic shoulder problems all season, told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he was “hurt enough not to play.”
He was used as a pinch-hitter in every game, but never stayed in to play defense and was pinch-run for following his only hit of the series in Game 2.
His future position has been a constant topic of debate in Washington for a while now because of various injuries and Kilgore writes that Zimmerman “will likely move to first base next season, assuming the Nationals allow Adam LaRoche to leave via free agency.”
Before the shoulder problems Zimmerman was an excellent defensive third baseman and he played exclusively third base from 2006-2013 while logging nearly 10,000 innings there. He’s signed through 2018 at an average of $15 million per season.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.