Jordan Zimmerman dominated the Rockies in 2-0 win. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)

If you haven't had a chance to watch the Washington Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann pitch yet this season, you might want to check the schedule for his next couple of home starts and come out to the park.  With an innings limit of 160 this season, his first full year back from Tommy John surgery, he'll be relegated to maybe seven more starts once the team returns to the field after the All-Star game.

After today's 2-0 win over the Colorado Rockies, maybe Zimmermann's last few home starts will be "events", akin to the attention teammate Stephen Strasburg garnered last season.  Because right now, he's pitching every bit as well as the phenom did last season.

The win evens the Nationals record at 46-46 heading into the three-game All-Star break.

The Nats offense struggled against the Rockies Jhoulys Chacin with just five base hits, but they scratched out a run in the sixth on an Ian Desmond single, sacrifice bunt by Zimmermann and Roger Bernadina RBI-single.  They added an insurance run in the eighth with Rick Ankiel's third home run of the season off left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds, his first off a lefty since 2008.

Using what the pitcher called his best slider all season, Zimmermann dominated the Rockies for 6 1/3 innings, shutting them out and allowing just four hits, walking none and striking out six.  64 of his 88 pitches went for strikes.  Two of the four hits the 25-year old burgeoning ace surrendered were bloop hits and he didn't allow a runner to reach second base all day.

But a leadoff single by Todd Helton in the seventh caught manager Davey Johnson's attention, and after Zimmermann got All-star Troy Tulowitzki to pop out to second base, he opted for a reliever.  "He pitched so great I didn't want to give him a chance to lose that ballgame. I have a lot of confidence in my bullpen. He probably could have gotten out of that inning but it was just one of those little things with a young pitcher, I didn't want to take any chances."

Ryan Mattheus finished things up for Zimmermann with two easy outs in the seventh, Tyler Clippard had to work hard for his league-leading 23rd hold in the eighth, giving up a walk and hit, and Drew Storen closed things out for his 23rd save of the season.

Johnson said he's "not going to treat him like a fifth starter," presumably babying him through each of his next starts, but once Zimmermann reaches that 160 inning limit, that will be it for him for the season.  Zimmermann is much to valuable to the future of this organization to risk stretching him out any more than prescribed by the doctors and trainers so close to his surgery.

We'll have to go through the same thing next year with Mr. Strasburg as well.

At least the Nats seem to have a multitude of options to consider to replace Zimmermann in the rotation once his number is up this season.  Ross Detwiler had already made a successful start and two-inning relief stint so far since his call-up.  Chien-Ming Wang has allowed just two earned runs in three minor league rehab starts so far.  Tom Milone is 7-5 with a 3.15 ERA and ridiculous 107:7 K:BB ratio for Syracuse. And down a level at Harrisburg, Brad Peacock has throttled Double-A hitters for a 10-2 record and 2.01 ERA, striking out 129 while walking just 23 in 98 2/3 innings.

But if you want to see Zimmermann in person before he's shut down, you better make it out to the park soon.

THE GOOD:  The pitching.  As was the case for most of the first half, the pitching carried the Nats to the win.

THE BAD:  Right after his RBI, Roger Bernadina got a bad jump and was caught stealing.  This was with one out in the sixth inning in a one-run game. Danny Espinosa walked after the at bat after the second out.

THE UGLY:  Can't get around it.  Jayson Werth went 0-for-3, ending his miserable first half hitting a paltry .215.

THE STATS:  Five hits, one walk, five strikeouts. 1-for-3 with RISP, three LOB, zero GIDP. No errors.

NEXT GAME:  The Nats kick off the second half in Atlanta next Friday.

Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos celebrate Nats win. (C.Nichols/Nats News Network)