Initially left off the NL All-Star roster, Ryan Zimmerman could still make the team in Internet voting.
The Washington Nationals third baseman is making a pretty good case for himself.
After hitting a dramatic game-winning home run in the series opener - his third homer in two games - Zimmerman looks to continue his torrid hitting against one of his favorite pitchers as the Nationals play the NL West-leading San Diego Padres on Wednesday night.
Zimmerman ranks in the top five in nearly every offensive category among NL third baseman, batting .293 with 16 home runs and 51 runs scored, and is one of the best defensively at his position. The reigning Gold Glove Award winner wasn't selected Sunday to the All-Star team, but is one of five candidates to fill the final roster spot.
Although Cincinnati's Joey Votto is the favorite to win the Internet vote, Zimmerman, named to his first All-Star team last year, is proving he's also a worthy choice.
After going 3 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs in Sunday's loss to the New York Mets, Zimmerman had three more hits Tuesday against the Padres. His second homer of the game leading off the bottom of the ninth lifted the Nationals to a 6-5 victory and snapped San Diego's three-game winning streak.
"We all know Zim's an All-Star. He's playing like an All-Star, he's always played like an All-Star. We all are just hoping that he gets in,'' said Michael Morse, who matched a career high with three hits for Washington (37-47).
Zimmerman's two-homer game was his first since hitting two off scheduled starter Jon Garland in a 3-2, 11-inning loss in San Diego on May 30. The slugger is hitting .386 with seven homers and 10 RBIs in his last 11 games against the Padres (49-34), and is 3 for 5 with three home runs lifetime against Garland.
"He's a very good player - no doubt. I voted for him for the All-Star Game - that's what I think of Zimmerman,'' San Diego manager Bud Black said. "My write-in vote's going to go to (San Diego closer Heath Bell), but that's besides the point. Zimmerman's a good player.''
Despite those two homers by Zimmerman, Garland (8-5, 3.24 ERA) pitched well in that start against the Nationals, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Against Houston on Thursday, Garland struggled with his command, yielding three runs, six hits and a season-worst six walks in a 6-3, 10-inning loss. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last seven starts after going 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his previous seven.
Washington counters with J.D. Martin (0-4, 3.38), who allowed three runs and six hits in five innings of a 4-1 loss in Atlanta last Wednesday.
The Nationals have lost all six of Martin's starts since he was called up from the minors May 29, and the right-hander hasn't won in nine starts since defeating the Mets on Sept. 18.
Martin can't be blamed for all of the defeats, however, as Washington has backed him with two or fewer runs in five of his starts this year.
He is 0-2 with a 1.93 ERA in three career starts against the Padres, and gave up four runs - one earned - and four hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss in San Diego on May 29.