Jordan Zimmermann Is the Latest National to Make Mike Rizzo Look Smart

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer ISeptember 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park on September 24, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Perhaps many of us who have criticized Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo should prepare a nice steaming bowl of crow to eat later in October.

While many criticized Rizzo for his decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg, including Strasburg himself according to ESPN, the Washington Nationals just kept rolling along.

Since his final game on September 7th, the Nationals are only 8-7 but they are cruising to a division title. The Braves have only trimmed the lead from six and a half to five games in that stretch and as of this writing, the Nationals magic number is five.

And their pitchers have been stepping up. After Gio Gonzalez put together a masterful effort against the Brewers on Saturday, Jordan Zimmermann stepped up to beat Milwaukee this afternoon, 12-2.

Zimmermann pitched 6 2/3 solid innings, striking out seven, walking two and letting up a single earned run. He also got two hits, including driving in the winning run himself.

If the "Game Winning RBI" stat was still in use, he would have that along with the win.

He did get a little help from earth's native star. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez lost a ball in the sun, helping the Nationals open up a six-run fourth inning rally.

The other Zimmerman, Ryan, hit a three run homer to blow the game open.

But the day belonged to Jordan Zimmermann (the one with two N's). And with it, the Nationals can have confidence in a deep pitching staff. Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Edwin Jackson are as good a starting four as any team with the possible exception of San Francisco.

Having Strasburg pitching would give the squad the best rotation in the National League. But they may not need more than what they have now.

The Nationals still have the best record in baseball and would play the Wild Card team, who will undoubtedly use their best pitcher in the one game playoff before the Division Series begins.

Maybe those match ups are all Washington needs to advance in October.

Maybe Mike Rizzo knew what he was doing all along.