Atlanta Braves (1-1) v. Washington Nationals (1-1)
Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83, 1.150 in 2010) v. Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 4.94, 1.323 in 2010)
The rubber match of this three game series features perhaps the Nationals most important pitcher of 2011, Jordan Zimmermann. Now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Zimmermann can resume his career path that many in baseball believe could put him in the upper echelon of pitchers in the National League.
Zimmermann, 25 in May, somewhat surprised folks as a second round pick out of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, not well known for producing big league ballplayers. But he mowed his way through the minors, with a 3.37 K/BB rate, and made his MLB debut in 2009.
He started 165 games for the Nats in '09 before the team in his elbow was diagnosed, and was then shelved by surgery for almost exactly 12 months, making his triumphant return last August. He went 12, 4.94, 1.323 with a 2.70 K/BB rate in seven starts, proving his health.
But recovery from Tommy John surgery is a 12-18 month process, and while the fastball comes back first, the command and control are just as important, and Zimmermann looked strong in spring training, leading to much optimism around NatsTown for the young right-hander.
BRAVES: Prado-7, McLouth-8, Jones-5, McCann-2, Heyward-9, Gonzalez-6, Freeman-3, Hudson-1
NATIONALS: Desmond-6, Werth-9, Zimmerman-5, LaRoche-3, Morse-7, Ankiel-8, Espinosa-4, Rodriguez-2, Zimmermann-1