Jordan Zimmermann threw four solid but not spectacular innings of work, but took the loss last night thanks to poor defense and a weak offense. No, that’s not a cut & paste from a ’09 WaPo game recap, but it sure seems like one, doesn’t it?
As many minor leaguers do against rehabbing major leaguers, once they realize that they have no hope of getting ahead in the count — which was evident when Zimmermann dispatched Kinston’s leadoff hiter Lucas Montero on three pitches — they sit on the fastball and hope for the best. The next batter doubled, took third on a groundout to first, and came in on an error charged to shortstop Jose Lozada on an olé by Tyler Moore.
Zimmermann retired six of the next seven batters with ease before running into a little bit of trouble in the fourth. Back-to-back singles put runners on first and second with one out, but Zimmermann caught the lead runner leaning and got a break on some high-school-ego baserunning. Jeremie Tice doubled to the wall in right-center but speedy CF Chris Curran was just a step behind and gunned the ball to Steve Lombardozzi, who threw a one-hop seed to catcher Derek Norris. Kinston’s manager saw this and put up the stop sign, but Juan Diaz ran through it and was out by 25 feet.
As was the case in the previous rehab start in Woodbridge, Zimmerman’s velocity was there, his control was decent, but the pitches were just a little up in the zone — enough for High-A hitters to get decent wood on them.
The change of pace from fireballer (Zimmermann) to control artist (Alaniz) did not disrupt the Indians in the fifth, as the first three batters he faced tripled, doubled, and singled off him for the second and third runs of the night. Alaniz would settle down and pitch three scoreless innings, finishing the night with a halfway decent line of two runs allowed on six hits over four innings.
The PNats got their lone run in the bottom of the sixth, as a Derek Norris was hit by a pitch (you already know it was on his left arm, right?) and took second on wild pitch. Tyler Moore drove him in with the only solidly hit ball of the night, an opposite-field double to right.
With the loss, Potomac falls to back to .500 at 9-9 in the second half. A.J. Morris is projected to make his return to the rotation, opposed by Kinston’s Austin Adams for today’s noontime tilt.