Craig Heist, wtop.com
VIERA, Fla.—Jordan Zimmerman had his worst outing of the spring, giving up eight runs on nine hits over three innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat up on the Nationals 16-10 at Space Coast Stadium.
Zimmermann gave up two runs in the second inning and then a six spot in the third. He threw 61 pitches, 39 for strikes. He also had trouble with location the entire game.
"I just threw some fastballs up in the zone," Zimmermann said. "They are obviously a good hitting team and when I did make some good pitches, they put good wood on it and hit a few down the line. They're a good hitting team."
Thus far, Zimmermann has made three starts and has given up 13 runs and 16 hits over nine innings for an ERA of 11.00. Zimmermann admitted to running out of gas during the long innings, something that might have contributed to his ineffectiveness.
"It's obviously a longer spring and we throw a lot more and do all that stuff," he said. "But I felt fine out there today and I made some good pitches, I threw a few good change-ups which I was happy about. You can't look into too much."
Skipper Davey Johnson was asked to assess Zimmermann's outing. He says he felt like the right-hander was dealing with what many pitchers go through halfway through the spring.
"About this time of the spring, all the starting of pitchers go through a little dead arm and I think he was a little dead arm," Johnson said. "He got some treatment afterwards, noting to be worried about but there was probably a little fatigue in there."
Some thought Zimmermann's velocity was down a bit, which lends merit to the dead arm theory. However, Zimmermann insists this is all part of the spring process for him.
"I'm still not 100 percent and I'm still building a little bit," he said. "We are getting there slowly but surely. I think I threw 55 or 60 pitches or whatever it was and my limit was 65, so it's just throwing pitches and building arm strength and I was able to do that today."
The Cardinals 16 run explosion was accompanied by 17 hits, including a 4 for 4 afternoon with two doubles from Matt Carpenter.
Shane Robinson hit a grand slam homer, his third of the spring, off Nathan Karns as part of a seven run fifth inning. He also scored three times.
Rob Johnson had a 2-for-3 day with three RBIs; Ronny Cedeno also drove in three runs.
Nats' bats get going late
The Nationals tried to make a game of it with a seven run ninth inning. The Nats got a solo homer from Micah Owings and a two-run shot off the bat of Zach Walters. Matt Skole had a two run single while Chris Marrero chipped in with an RBI single.
Last year's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Nathan Karns, gave-up the seven run in the fifth inning. Karns was experiencing soreness in his right leg, something that happened to him on March 2 against the Cardinals in one inning of work.
"I think we're going to probably have it checked further," Davey Johnson said when asked how Karns' leg is feeling.
Johnson said a doctor will probably check it out.
Karns says leg soreness is something he's pitched with before, but it's not normal for a guy to have to feel something uncomfortable in his right leg when he pushes off.
In his first outing on February 25 against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Karns allowed one hit and struck out three over two innings.
Both Henry Rodriguez and Tyler Clippard were impressive. Rodriguez threw one scoreless inning while Clippard did the same with two strikeouts.
But for manager Davey Johnson, the inning from Rodriguez was particularly good to see.
"He picked right up, he hadn't been out there in a while and he went right after ‘em. You know, he did it all last spring and then early in the year he was outstanding before when that thing started to flare up in his elbow. He was happy when he came in and I was happy."
The Marlins come to Space Coast Stadium for a 1:05 p.m. start against the Nationals. The Nats will send Chris Young against Alex Sanabia.
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