First, I’ve got to get something out of the way. On Thursday, I left town for a long weekend and Zimmerman hit his 27th HR. I never got the chance to post, so here, a few days late, I’m laying out the next pics in the Zimmerman March to 30 HRs uniform number gallery:

Vlad 27


Mock Continues

Now, back to the team. Actually, to Garrett Mock, who was last night the “hard luck loser” as they like to say. Well, maybe not that hard luck, he only went 6 IP and did give up 2 runs. So it’s not like he dominated, but he pitched pretty good once again.

In the conversation of future starters, Mock comes up but not usually until several other names are mentioned. But he’s pitching like a major league starter, and it’s not just luck. He’s doing the most important thing a young pitcher can do: making people miss. In other words, it’s not just good luck and baseballs being hit to guys. It’s honest-to-goodness hitters not being able to hit him. Here is what he’s done in his last 5 starts.

Mock August 09

Those strikeouts are really impressive. And while you’d like to see more innings, this is very typical of young strikeout pitchers. Meanwhile, he hasn’t been walking many, in fact his ratios are quite good. Here’s what those numbers have lead to over those last 5 games:

Mock August 09 ratios

Impressive, very impressive. This is the kind of stuff you would expect from some other guys on the team, but Mock has been hidden away, mixed between starting and relieving, between the majors and the minors. Finally given the chance to start full time, the 26 year old is showing his stuff. And he’s got great stuff. You watch him pitch and understand why he strikes so many out. Is he a little older than your typical pitching prospect? Sure. But he’s showing he can hang in this league, and may be a late bloomer. He’s still young enough that you don’t think have to think this is an illusion or a string of luck.

Now his job is to keep going out there and keep doing this, because this is only over 5 starts. He’s only started 9 games in the majors. Since he’s become a starter, though, the ERA is 4.47, and going down. Perhaps this was the role for him all along, now he’s just gotta go out and prove Rizzo right.

On to the Bad News

Also when I was gone, Nyjer Morgan broke a bone in his hand, sliding headfirst. It is a real shame for the Nats, as he really had become one of the leaders on this team. I’ll be curious to see how they play with him out, I’d expect them to miss him quite a bit, although this offense should be able to score runs without him. But they haven’t, in the 3 games since he’s been out, they scored 2, 4, and 1. Not pretty.

Anyway, it should serve as a reminder NOT TO SLIDE IN HEADFIRST. There is little evidence that it makes you faster, but there’s lots of evidence that the risk of injury is much higher than a feetfirst slide. Zimmerman hurt himself doing this a year ago, now Morgan… they need to teach this out of players.

By Charlie