Jordan Zimmermann: The Quiet Beatle

Tom NataliCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 03:  Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on July 3, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg is John Lennon. He’s the amazingly talented introvert. They are kind of awkward, but John Lennon is responsible for the “I am the Walrus”, as Strasburg is responsible for a 14-strikeout performance in his professional debut.

Gio Gonzalez is Paul McCartney. He’s the hopeless romantic writing his defining love songs. Everyone knows who he is, he’s friendly, incredibly talented and adaptable. Paul McCartney was pretty much forced to learn how to the play the bass guitar. Gio, who has an erratic pitch location, has adapted to a now dominant left-handed pitcher.

By default, let’s combine Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler into Ringo Starr. The drummer is the backbone of the band, as is the bottom of the rotation guys on this staff. Starr started out as the inferior musician and eventually improved tremendously, similar to Detwiler. (It’s kind of hard to make that same connection with Edwin Jackson)

That leaves me with George Harrison and Jordan Zimmermann, my favorite Beatle and my favorite Nats pitcher: the quiet ones.

George Harrison was just as talented as Lennon and McCartney. His voice was just as good. His song writing was on par too (he wrote “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes the Sun”). He could absolutely shred it on guitar; just listen to “I want you (She’s so Heavy)” or “Helter Skelter”.

Don’t worry, I’ll find a way to connect the two.

Jordan Zimmermann has quietly gone about his business in becoming one of the best pitchers in the National League. With an ERA of 2.28 and shrinking, he has been virtually unhittable in the past month, giving up only four earned runs and only one home run.

That’s not just really good. That’s Cy Young material.

However, when Jordan pitches, he’s not the first up on SportsCenter like Stephen Strasburg is. On his days off, the camera isn’t zooming in on his face like they do for the photogenic Gio Gonzalez.

To Zimmermann and the Nationals, they wouldn’t want it any other way. Still, I find it incredible that his season is going unnoticed.

His multi-pitch arsenal of four and two seam fastballs, mixing up his breaking balls and the occasional changeup have all been painting the corners and have continued to keep batters guessing. None of his stuff is overpowering either,which just goes to show you that you don’t need a 100 MPH fastball to get someone out. Just ask Greg Maddux.

Ask a random person to name the four Beatles, and which guy gets left off? That’s right, it’s George Harrison. Ask a casual sports fan who leads the Nationals pitching staff in ERA? I would be shocked if people respond with Jordan Zimmerman, even though he’s third in the National League in that category.

In regards to pitching, it’s a player like Jordan that should give the Nationals front office signs of legitimate contention for years to come.

After suffering a career-threatening elbow injury, Jordan had the infamous Tommy John surgery in 2009. He had a brief return in 2010 and was placed on an innings limit last year. Zimmermann progressively impressed in his first season back from reconstructive surgery in 2011.

This year, the training wheels are off, and the rest is history. Sound like a plan for anyone else on the pitching staff?

The intention of this article is to talk about Jordan Zimmermann, but it’s the progress he’s made as a pitcher that leaves the Nationals very optimistic about Stephen Strasburg, who is currently not the best on the staff but has the most talent. Given Zimmermann’s success, the same exact model will be used on Strasburg, as it should be.

Going into the last stretch of the season, it’s Jordan that will be relied upon in circumstances that he’s never experienced before. 

Him and his teammates are learning on the fly. They’re young, competitive and, most importantly, fun to watch. The sky is the limit for Jordan Zimmermann, so please remember to pay the guy this offseason.

On a side note, being both a writer and musician, I’ve been searching for a way to connect both my love of music to sports. This was my first attempt so please humor me.