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News » Cardinals-Nationals Preview 2009-05-01

Cardinals-Nationals Preview 2009-05-01

Cardinals-Nationals Preview 2009-05-01
While his team has dropped a major-league worst 16 games this season, Washington Nationals rookie Jordan Zimmermann has yet to lose.

The 22-year-old right-hander looks to remain unbeaten Friday night at Nationals Park as Washington continues its four-game set against the NL-best St. Louis Cardinals.

Zimmermann (2-0, 2.38 ERA) snapped the Nationals' three-game slide Sunday, yielding one run and six hits in an 8-1 win over the New York Mets as Washington won its first game on the road this season after eight losses.

"He's going to give us a chance every game to win," said first-year National Adam Dunn. "He's got a real calm demeanor. He's got the perfect pitcher's mentality."

Washington (5-16) didn't have that mentality in Thursday's 9-4 loss to St. Louis as it allowed a season-high 11 walks.

"Walking guys after 0-2 counts, walking guys at the bottom of the order - I don't know why," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "You shouldn't be afraid. ... You're pitching for a last-place team in a half-empty stadium. What can you be intimidated (by) right now?"

Zimmermann allowed a first-inning run to the Mets, but didn't let a runner reach second base after the second. In two starts, he has walked three in 11 1-3 innings.

"This guy continues to pound the strike zone," Acta told the Nationals' official Web site. "He shows no fear."

Now, Zimmermann will face a St. Louis club that is among the NL leaders, batting .285.

Albert Pujols, the reigning NL player of the week, went 2-for-4 in the series opener, including his eighth homer of the season - a two-run shot in the first inning. He is batting .389 (14-for-36) with four home runs and 14 RBIs as the Cardinals (16-7) have won eight of 10 to open a 3 1/2-game lead in the Central.

Rick Ankiel's game-winning RBI double started a five-run ninth inning for St. Louis, which is 3-1 on its seven-game trip.

"It's early, but as early as it is, it seems like the game is never over with this team," Ankiel said after the Cardinals outscored Washington 6-0 in the final three innings. "We've always got a chance to come back."

With Thursday's first-inning, two-run homer off Mitchell Boggs, Ryan Zimmerman extended his Nationals record with 19 straight games with a hit. The third baseman is batting .469 (15-for-32) in his last seven games versus the Cardinals.

Zimmerman is 1-for-2 lifetime against Friday's scheduled starter Todd Wellemeyer (1-2, 6.14), who looks to bounce back from a poor outing. He surrendered six runs and eight hits in Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

"He's not as sharp as he can be," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said of Wellemeyer, who has given up four or more runs in three of four starts this season. "That's one of the beauties of playing six months and getting 30 starts. He's not going to give in."

Wellemeyer is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in one start and seven career relief appearances against the Nationals.

St. Louis shortstop Tyler Greene went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base in his major league debut. He was called up from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday when Brendan Ryan was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 1, 2009

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