Monday, September 29, 2014

A Game Like No Other

That is the only way to describe yesterday’s no-hitter from Jordan Zimmermann. But I’ll add to that the last Nationals’ home stand saw some of the best pitching all year. Thursday it was Gio Gonzalez with a career high 12 strike outs. The next day Doug Fister pitching a complete game and a shut out no less. Saturday a dominating performance from Stephen Strasburg.

Then Sunday. Oh my Sunday. To have the game end that way with such an unbelievable catch was nothing short of breath taking. To have it be the last game of the season well it was beyond amazing. You couldn’t write it any better.

When the ball was hit there was a collective intake of breath by everyone in the stadium all 35,085 fans. On replays you see Zimmermann looking up and shaking his head. As he said he felt it was at least a double. Then Zimmermann looks around to left field and sees Steven Souza Jr. catch. Zimmermann reacts with the rest of the crowd. He goes nuts or as nuts as he’s able to. Zimmermann is one of the most level headed of all the Nats’s pitchers. He almost never shows any sort of reaction at all. Well he couldn’t stop smiling. He was still smiling during his news conference.

This from Tom Boswell from the Post today:
It’s hard to believe the first no-hitter by a Washington pitcher in 83 years could feel like the logical continuation of a trend, but Zimmermann’s jewel was exactly that. The Nationals’ normal five-man rotation has gone 13-0 in its last 13 starts with a 0.89 ERA. In their most recent starts, Doug Fister (complete game), Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez (career-high 12 strikeouts) allowed three, two and one hits. None allowed a run. Zimmermann added the “zero” in the hit-column progression.
The fact that a no-hitter was possible didn't really occur to me until the Nats were up in the 7th inning. Then all of a sudden I thought wait a minute here it's just possible. By the time Zimmermann had retired the side in the 8th it was very much a possibility.

Then along came the 9th and the magic began. It began as Zimmermann took the mound from a tremendous roar from the crowd. A crowd that was on its feet, yelling and chanting and clapping and sending as much positive vibes out to Zimmermann as possible. The first batter goes down. The second sends a long fly ball to center. He goes down. Up comes the third batter Christian Yelich and he hits the ball to left field. You could feel the crowd hold its breath. I know I certainly did. Then the catch and an eruption from everyone in the park. Just amazing.

I watched replays of it on and off most of the day. One of the best, as I mentioned above, is Zimmermann's reaction of disgust because he thinks it's going to be a hit. But then he turns and looks and sees well the catch by Steven Souza Jr. A catch which will follow Souza as long as he is in baseball. Then the celebration begins.

Here are a few pictures:

Zimmermann on the mound

The celebration begins

The Gatorade bath.

Souza is the one jumping in the air.

Here are a couple of videos from people at the game:

And the broadcast version:

A truly great day.

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