On June 23rd Washington Nationals star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went out with a hamstring injury that may sideline him for the rest of the season. The effect on the team’s play was astonishing. At the close of play on August 1st the comparable W-L statistics were:
Without Zim (first time): 21-24, .467 (equates to 76-84)
With Zim: 34-19, .642 (equates to 104-58)
Without Zim (since 7/23): 3-6 .333 (equates to 53-109)
Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider wrote on July 23 that from June 30th when they all came together, the Nationals were the National League’s most productive team. “That was in no small part due to Zimmerman, who since that date was hitting .387 with a 1.050 OPS.
“Now, there are other factors in that equation. Zimmerman’s time in the lineup has coincided with generally good health across the board for the Nationals. But to think this team can continue to play at this impressive pace without one of its key stars would be foolish.”
Well, since Zuck wrote that the Nationals have zucked—and that’s WITH the rest of the team healthy, and our lead-off guy on a roll.
Is it true? Can one man make that much difference? Are we a different team with Zim out, affording less “protection,” inviting pitchers to handle the lineup differently? Have we anyone to sub for Adam at 1B who can really hit?
*Curse of the Goose: Back in the days when they were perennial contenders, the Washington Senators fell off when they traded Goose Goslin—and won another pennant when they got him back.