Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Zimmermann looks to 'control' Mets bats
By By ESPN Stats & Information
Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesCurrently mired in a season-long five-game losing streak, the Mets take on the Nationals on Wednesday Night Baseball (7 ET, ESPN). The Mets entered the day seven games back of Washington in the National League East and only two games above .500 for the first time since May 21.
The Nationals earned their NL-leading eighth walk-off win of the season against the Mets on Tuesday.
The Mets are 0-4 since the All-Star break, again struggling in the second half. In each of the previous three seasons, they have experienced drops in win percentage after the break.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Nationals are an NL-best 52-36, have won seven of their past nine home games, and celebrated their NL-leading eighth walk-off win against the Mets on Tuesday night. They are tied with the Athletics for most walk-off wins in baseball this season.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY FOR ZIMMERMANN
Jordan Zimmermann gets the start for the Nationals on Wednesday, and despite his 6-6 record, has been one of the most effective pitchers in the National League this season. Zimmermann ranks fourth among qualified NL starters in ERA (2.48) and leads all of MLB with 16 quality starts.
One reason for Zimmermann’s success has been his control. He ranks seventh in the league in walks per nine innings (1.8), third in overall strike percentage (68 percent) and second in first-pitch strike percentage (70 percent).
While the Nationals' rotation has gotten much attention, there is no shortage of discussion about rookie outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper ranks among the top five rookies in baseball in batting average (.275), extra-base hits (28) and stolen bases (11). His five triples lead the Nationals.
LACK OF VELOCITY HASN’T SLOWED YOUNG
For the Mets, Chris Young will make his eighth start of the season after making a total of eight starts over the previous two seasons combined. Young spent a total of 329 days on the disabled list with shoulder problems between 2010 and 2011 but has remained healthy thus far in 2012.
Young has pitched well against Washington. He is 3-1 with a 2.74 ERA in seven starts against the Nationals and current members of the Nats are hitting only .165 against him. Should that continue Wednesday night, he’ll need to locate his fastball. Only Barry Zito (83.6 mph) has a slower average fastball velocity than Young (84.2 mph) this season.
David Wright has been the most consistent hitter in the Mets' lineup this season and he’s done it by hitting to the opposite field.
Wright has collected 30.0 percent of his hits to right field in 2012 after only 19.6 percent of his hits went that way the previous three seasons. The approach helped Wright reach the All-Star break with the second highest batting average in Mets history (.351).