Zimmermann doesn’t sweat bases loaded
The quotes about Jordan Zimmermann being a bulldog are starting to run together by now. So here’s some reaction to Zimmermann’s reaction to being in a jam:
- “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game for a reason over the last six, seven years,” Ian Kinsler said. “You expect a guy like that, one of the best pitchers in the game, to get himself out of trouble.”
- “He doesn’t scare often,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t think the situation bothers him, regardless of the inning or the baserunning situation. He’s going to keep coming after you. He’s going to do whatever he can to get you out. And whatever happens, happens.”
- “[The demeanor] definitely doesn’t let the offense feel like they’re in charge, even when they might be,” Nick Castellanos said. “That just goes back to how much of a competitor he is.
- “You don’t see any difference with him, whether it’s the first inning or bases loaded,” catcher Bobby Wilson said. “I didn’t feel any panic. When we go over scouting reports, we have a pretty good idea of what we’re trying to do. So it’s just executing pitches at that point. It’s just making a pitch.”
Zimmermann faced two bases-loaded jam — one with two outs, the other with one out. He had three-ball counts to back-to-back hitters in the latter. But there’s a reason he hasn’t given up a bases-loaded walk since Aug. 28, 2011, and has just two bases-loaded walks in his career.
At the same time, there’s also a reason opponents are just 12-for-50 against him for his career in bases-loaded situations.
“Early in my career, I’d get in a jam like that, three balls, no strikes or one strike, and I’m coming with the fastball,” Zimmermann said. “But now, I’ve gotten a little wiser I guess over the years, knowing that you can throw an offspeed in there. The hitters are definitely geared up for the fastball, so if you can throw an offspeed in for a strike, you pretty much got them where you want them.”
Zimmermann believes in his offspeed when he has to make a pitch, and he had a lot of those occasions Thursday. He escapes the bases-loaded, one-out jam with sliders — 3-2 to Starling Marte, 3-1 to Gregory Polanco.
“I couldn’t locate the fastball for whatever reason and fell behind,” Zimmermann said. “My slider was good and I can throw it whenever I want. I went with that [to Marte]. And then 3-1, bases loaded [to Polanco], I went with a backdoor slider and got him to pop up.
“Most guys, the heater’s coming 3-1, and they go with their best pitch. But when you’re comfortable throwing your slider and you can throw it for strikes when you want, why not go with it?”