Found July 18, 2012 on The Nats Blog:

jzimm07182012As one of the most underrated starters in baseball, Jordan Zimmermann had a typical Jordan Zimmermann outing on Wednesday as the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 4-3 and win the series. 

Zimmermann lasted six innings, surrendering just four hits and striking out four. He didn’t give up any runs or walks. It’s ben remarkable to watch how good JZimm has been, and it looks like it paid off for Davey to move him to the top of the rotation after the All-Star break. His 2.35 ERA is good for fifth best in baseball.

Adam LaRoche got the scoring started with a tw run blas in the sixth inning that allowed Zimmermann to earn the win and move above the .500 mark at 7-6 for the first time since May 1, 2009, when he was 2-1. In the seventh, Steve Lombardozzi knocked in both Jesus Flores, who broke an 0-for-9 streak to get on base, and Roger Bernadina to give the Nats the 4-1 lead. And it would be crucial.

Tyler Clippard entered the game and served up a first pitch home run to David Wright. He followed it up with a pitch over Jesus Flores’ head to the backstop. It wasn’t a good omen as he’s struggled a bit lately with consistency. He subsequently struck out Ike Davis and Lucas Duda before giving up another solo blast to Jason Bay off the left field foul pole. Clippard finally succeeded in striking out the side when he bested Jordany Valdespin, who homered off of Clippard on Tuesday night which sent the game into the 10th inning.

The Nats haven’t had many easy games since the All-Star break, but they keep finding ways to win in exciting fashion, and they’re 4-2 since the break against all NL East opponents. They’ll go for the sweep on Thursday at 12:35 pm before hosting the Atlanta Braves for their third consecutive in-division series.

Some thoughts:

- Steve Lombardozzi has hit safely in every game he’s started in the month of July. Despite struggling mightily in June, he’s hitting .308 this month with a .350 OBP. He’s made the most of the opportunity to start at second base while Danny Espinosa covers for the injured Ian Desmond at shortstop. 

- Bryce Harper went a quiet two-for-four with two singles and a run scored. Harper’s quietly been doing yeoman’s work in center field and at the dish lately.

- Davey Johnson said, “I’m not real sure who my backup closer is right now,” but Clippard is still his closer. He would like to get Clippard the day off tomorrow even if a save opportunity arises.

- The Nats are now a season-high 17 games above the .500 mark on the season.

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