Padres-Nationals Preview

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


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


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.