video thumbnail

Nicasio strikes out career-high 10 batters

The Nationals are hoping that Jordan Zimmermann keeps improving after getting back on his regular schedule. The Rockies have every reason to be confident that Juan Nicasio is happy to be back home.

The two young right-handers will oppose each other as Washington visits Coors Field on Friday, and both will be looking to build on promising seasons.

Zimmermann is looking for better luck in road starts. He's 6-9 overall despite a 3.12 ERA, and in his last four road starts, dating back to June 12, he is 0-1 despite allowing zero earned runs three times in that stretch.

Zimmermann struggled in his first two starts after the All-Star Game, pitching on nine and seven days' rest, respectively. Pitching on regular rest in his last start on July 31, he pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets, striking out six against one walk. He was tagged with a no-decision when closer Drew Storen couldn't finish the job in the ninth.

"He had too much rest," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He was too strong, rushing, getting out in front. Today he was much better -- 10 times better -- and it showed."

Nicasio, meanwhile, has had his share of road struggles, too, but his performances at home have been a different story.

Nicasio has six starts this season at Coors Field, and the Rockies are 6-0 in those games, with Nicasio logging a record of 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA. He has struck out 6.1 batters per nine innings at home this season and has held opponents to a .212 (31-for-146) batting average in the Mile High City.

"At Coors Field, it usually takes more concentration," Nicasio said after his last start. "My fastball needs to be down and in. But today I had more concentration [than in previous road starts]. I looked at the target, and kept the ball down in the zone."

Nationals: Zimmerman still streaking
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has hit safely in 13 straight games, going 25-for-56 (.446) with five doubles, four RBIs and one walk. Zimmerman is in the midst of the 11th double-digit hit streak of his career. Zimmerman's 13-gamer is the longest hitting streak posted by a Nationals player since his 16-gamer from July 27-Aug. 13, 2009.

• Reliever Sean Burnett has posted two holds and a 1.17 ERA (one earned run in 7 2/3 innings) in nine appearances, dating to July 19. His four saves are a career-high.

• Shortstop Ian Desmond is 6-for-22 (.273) with a double, homer, five RBIs and three runs scored over the last six games.

Rockies: Brothers learning on the job
The Rockies are assessing what they have in rookie left-handed reliever Rex Brothers. Through July 30, he had a 2.18 ERA, but in three games since, it has shot up to 4.37. Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he's using Brothers more to see how he handles it and how he bounces back.

"It's too early to tell, but he's certainly a guy that, in my opinion, is growing on the vine," Tracy said. "Part of seeing how you handle them is when it doesn't work out the way you want it to, are you capable of bouncing back? Do you have a short enough memory that you can let go of yesterday? You've got to put him in the pool first, make sure he knows how to swim, then let him start swimming and get into the deeper water. You may go under, so you'd better really know what you're doing. You've got to get your nose above the surface."

• Outfielder Dexter Fowler has hit at least 10 triples in each of his first three Major League seasons (career-high 14 triples in 2010). Fowler has 34 career triples, which is one shy of tying teammate Todd Helton for third place on the Rockies' all-time list.

• Infielder Chris Nelson is 8-for-21 (.381) with a double, three RBIs and two runs since his recall on July 27.

Worth noting
• Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end on Thursday, but he's still hitting .333 (10-for-30) with a double, two homers, seven RBIs, three walks and five runs scored over his last eight games.

• Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo has hit safely in each of his last five games at .368 (7-for-19) since July 23.

MLB.com Comments