Zimmermann’s chance at 20 wins

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Jordan Zimmermann doesn’t care about reaching 20 wins. At least, he downplayed the milestone Friday night after blanking the Marlins, 8-0.

After battling through neck stiffness during the middle of the season, Zimmermann again looked like the first-half All-Star that he was on Friday. He struck out nine, allowed just two hits and only walked one. His fastball hovered around 95 mph and his slider touched 90 mph.  Zimmermann became the first pitcher in the National League to reach 19 wins, but that doesn’t mean he’s thinking about No. 20.

“I mean, I just want the team to win, to be honest with you,” Zimmermann said. “If that means me going six, seven innings of no runs and I get the no decision, as long as we win, that’s the main thing.”

Zimmermann’s teammates know better.

“I don’t believe him,” Denard Span said, smiling, “but OK.

“He’s a modest guy,” Anthony Rendon added. “He’s not going to be like, ‘I’m trying to get to 20.’ But yeah, it would be awesome. Twenty games, that’s a lot.”

Most people in the baseball world have devalued wins as a measure of a pitcher’s effectiveness. Take the Nationals’ rotation this season as an example. Stephen Strasburg has 16 quality starts in 28 outings and is 7-9. Jordan Zimmermann has 21 quality starts in 30 outings and is 19-8.

But regardless of statistical preference, everyone can agree that a 20-win season is impressive.

“I think 20 wins for a pitcher is like 20 home runs for a position player,” Span explained. “A position player tells you 20 home runs is not important, they’re probably not telling the truth. So yeah, 20 wins for a starting pitcher, it seems to be like the milestone … the standard of a good, powerful, quality starting pitcher.”

Eclipsing 20 wins would also bolster Zimmermann’s case for the NL Cy Young Award. Jayson Werth thinks that Zimmermann’s chances at winning the award are good, but it’s important to keep everything in perspective.

“I think they get a lot better if we make it to the postseason,” Werth said.

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