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Even for Ryan Zimmerman, 'it's never easy all year'

Ryan Zimmerman is in the midst of what assuredly will finish as another excellent offensive season. He is batting .284 with 13 home runs, and his .902 OPS leads all National League third basemen.

But he is still prone to an occasional slump, and he is in the middle of one of those now. "It's gonna happen," Zimmermann said. "Obviously, I was feeling really good. Now I'm not feeling really good."

In the last nine games, during which the Nationals are 1-8, Zimmerman is 4 for 34 with a home run, 13 strikeouts and one walk. His last multi-hit game came June 8, and he has struck out in six of his last eight at-bats, including a string of five straight.

"It's just one of those times where I'm going through stuff," Zimmerman said. "You've got to battle through it. It's never easy all year. You're going to have some times where you struggle. You just got to remember to do the things that got you where you're at. When you go through tough times, you can't really abandon everything. You stick with your plan."

Early this season, Zimmerman's left wrist bothered him enough that he wore a wrap around it during games and the team sent him for an MRI exam. He has not worn the wrap lately, and he said the wrist is feeling good.

"That's not a problem," Zimmerman said. "If it was a problem or I felt like I couldn't perform and I was going to hurt the time by being in there, I wouldn't be in there."

Zimmerman's small slump has surfaced primarily because he is "not really" seeing the ball well, he said. The difference has manifested itself in his walk totals. After June 5, Zimmerman had 30 walks in 201 plate appearances this year. Since that point, he has walked twice in 50 plate appearances.

"I was taking pitches that were borderline pitches, which is really what you need to do," Zimmerman said. "It's just been one of those things where guys have pitched me well, too. When you're hot, guys make mistakes. When you're not, they paint and make good pitches on you. That's what's happening."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 20, 2010; 6:19 PM ET
Categories:  Ryan Zimmerman  | Tags: Ryan Zimmerman  
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Next: Perspective on the 11-24 slide


Zim will be fine. U can count on it

Posted by: swanni | June 20, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

No Zimm, you need help. You can't focus. Thats why you have your slumps. I don't understand the cavalier attitude about it though. Thats a manager-level discussion that needs to be had.

Posted by: AWWNats | June 20, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AWWNats
No Zimm, you need help. You can't focus. Thats why you have your slumps. I don't understand the cavalier attitude about it though. Thats a manager-level discussion that needs to be had.

FINALLY! Someone besides myself, who's able to see the same cavalier attitude that I've been seeing from Zimmerman. I agree 100% with your closing remark.

Posted by: KenzAFan | June 20, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Zimm is the face of the franchise,that being said he's slumping at a time when the team can least afford it(poor starting pitching,horrible situational hitting,and errors) a conversation needs to take place with Eck,Riggs,and Zimm, look he is a very good player but not a superstar(at least not yet)he needs to make an adjustment at the plate.......... HE STANDS TOO FAR AWAY FROM THE PLATE!!! HELLO! he cannot cover the whole plate, great hitters are feared because they cover the plate, opposing pitchers know they can't nibble at the corners why? because good/great hitters take that away from pitchers and right/left handed hitters will drive the ball to the opposite field in those situations, and that's where Zimm is missing the boat.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 20, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It worries me that two of our "best" players (Zimm, Dunn) seem to have that "Eh,'ll all work out" attitude. I'm not suggesting that they need to throw a tantrum everytime things don't go their way, but when you see them after a strikeout, error, whatever they just have a expression/mannerism that conveys that they don't really care. We need some team leaders that HATE to lose. Phil Wood had some good commentary on Adam Dunn admitting to a short attention span, explaining why Dunn had no interest in being a DH and why (according to PW) Dunn couldn't stay focused in the outfield. Great physical talents both but would be nice to see a little more fire from them. If they are satisfied with mediocrity than that's what they will get.

Posted by: smill411 | June 20, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

smill411: Zimm and Dunn are still under the influence of their laid back now fired former manager(Manny Acta)the difference is that Riggleman is more baseball savvy,Riggs probably doesn't want to ruffle any feathers with these two but both have very poor batting averages with RISP and Zimm's doesn't have the intensity a team leader should have, man how i wish Frank Robinson was still the manager of this team.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 20, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Amen to dargreg and smill...both of you are getting at what I see as THE issue...I've posted about it a ton.
It's reinforced by two new books I just finished-one on Henry Aaron (an unbelievably great player with a great, big heart) and George Steinbrenner (for all his flaws, he had intensity). In both books, the importance to a ball club of that intensity on both an individual level AND organizationally....well, I recommend them both-especially about Mr Aaron. I always had big respect for the man but its' gone up even higher. And while I wouldn't want George as an owner...a few players with his attitude would be nice.Where have you gone, Mr Robinson?
Jeez, as good/great as Zim is...what would he be like if F.Robbie where still teaching him? (Ian, too...and Roger...and Nyjer...) As I recall, they both "took" to one another...and as always, I DO like Riggs...think he's doing a better than average job. And I'm also not saying that Frank was a great manager...but he seemed to have something that this team is lacking. (On a side note, it seems that NONE of DC's pro franchises have "IT"...i.e. heart? Grit? Seems like across the board, whenever we need to come up big we come up small. Now, b.ball's got 162 games, so there are plenty of times where we DO "come up large"....which we remember and point to...overlooking 205 losses and generally dismal, hope-free seasons.)
That said, I DO think The Rizz will git 'er done...but for us loyalists....sure wish the Slow Lerners had realized that "building" AND winning aren't mutually exclusive. We'd be happier and they'd be richer for it!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 20, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

How do you all know what Zimmerman and/or Dunn really think? What you take for a cavalier attitude I'd suggest is publicspeak -- athletes, and others, say stuff in public to address a slump, situation, etc, but aren't going to reveal what they're truly thinking and feeling. If you watch the tv screen or the big screen at the ballpark, you see indications that neither is fine or cavalier when they strike out. They're too mature and practiced, however, to thow a temper tantrum on the field or in the dugout.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 20, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Zendo: I am also currently reading Aaron's book right now, when i finish it i am going to try to pass it on to the Astro's first round pick Deilno Deshields who was a classmate of my daughter and her boyfriend at Woodward Academy here in Georgia they all had dinner together about a week before the mlb draft Delino's mom(Tish) and my daughters boyfriends mom are very close as she is their family dentist(got that?) anyway you're correct it is a great read and you have nailed it several times with your post concerning the level of intensity for this current group of Nat's, keep posting bro maybe the Lerners will pick up on it, Rizzo and Riggs too.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 20, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I think that post wins the prize for most convoluted name dropping I've ever seen - but it's very "green" of you to pass the book along and nice of you to let us all know where it's going when you're finished reading it. Absolutely rivoting and insightful post. ;-)

Posted by: burnedonce | June 20, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that (with the exception of Strasburg and the back end of the bullpen, maybe), Zimmerman and Dunn are the least of our problems. Slumps happen. To everyone. They don't always need to reflect huge character flaws. It wouldn't be a problem except that everyone else on the team is slumping too. That's why baseball is such a statistics-driven sport--over time, it will average out. Regardless of how much Zimmerman beats himself up in interviews to placate the commenters on this site.

And as for standing too far away from the plate, I don't know what to tell you other than he's always done that. And he put up a .300-30-100 and won a silver slugger last year standing too far away from the plate.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | June 20, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Zim and Dunn are not the problem. Sure, Zim's in a slump. but don't think for a minute that his attitude is not where it should be.

Everything looks bad in losing streaks, but the Nats are not as bad as it may look. And, probably, are not as good as 26-26 seemed.

Posted by: nats24 | June 21, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

This team will win 75-77 games. Thatys 85-87 losses. An improvement but still crappy. As nats24 might have said, don't let your indigestion from the drinking the kool-aid of April-May spoil your viewing pleasure for the rest of the season. And leave Zimmerman alonse! Nyjer and Guz are better targets.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | June 21, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If Zimmerman is the only one slumping this team may never win another game. I see 9 guys coming to the plate and no scoring. Zimmerman would have to hit a homer every time he bats to make up for the other 8

Posted by: hilow | June 21, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Look, there's a centerfielder hitting leadoff and not getting on base or running when he is on base. hitting second is a guy who is either hot, or middle ground. between the two of them, nothing is happening. 3-4-5 is fine...6 with Pudge has been a pleasant surprise but a whole that will need filling 2 years from now...Nieves is not the answer at backup. Bernadina and Desmond are rookies, and play like it. Morse would be better if he got playing time and Harris has done nothing all year, and wants out...don't let the door hit ya in the butt. We need at least two bats with some pop.
The starting pitching is horrible...SS is great, and Jordan Zimmermann is going to be okay assuming he gets healthy. From there, its a crap shoot. The bullpen is fine...moving Stammen to the bullpen and long relief might make sense..its probably the strongest part of the team so far.

Posted by: outrbnksm | June 21, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

After Strasburg's first game, Zimmerman commented, "I guess my 5 minutes of fame are up." He has been in a slump ever since. Now that SS is the hottest thing around here, Ryan Zilch is sulking and cannot deal with it. He's a streak hitter and you cannot win with them. I'll take a steady, consistent .260 hitter over Zimmerman any time. Trade him for Oswalt. Let the Astros count all the stranded runners.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | June 21, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"I'll take a steady, consistent .260 hitter over Zimmerman any time."

You're a fool.

Posted by: 202character | June 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

This has got to be the most ridiculous thread I've ever seen.

Posted by: thelonghaul | June 21, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

So what's his excuse for it being a toss of the coin whether his throw to first is way off line or somewhere near the first baseman?
I've never seen a 3rd baseman of Zimm's calibre have such a problem with throws to 1st.

Posted by: Tex4 | June 21, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Could we get a win please?

Posted by: richs91 | June 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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