Ryan Zimmerman can still pick it.
Max Scherzer’s only walk of the day on Sunday in LA was a four-pitch free pass to pinch hitter Matt Beaty in the first at bat of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sixth, which snapped his streak of ten-straight batters set down which stretched back to the second.
The only runner to reach base against him after a run scored on a fly ball that was lost in the sun in left-center with a runner on in the second, was quickly erased, however, when Gavin Lux lined a 3-2 change toward first base, where Ryan Zimmerman leapt to bring it down and stepped on the bag to double up Beaty, then adroitly avoided a potential collision, hopping away from the runner as he returned to the bag. It was really quite impressive.
Only the most fleet of foot athletes can make this play.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 11, 2021
“The old guy’s still got it,” Trea Turner joked when he spoke with reporters after what ended up being a 3-0 loss in Dodger Stadium.
“Take a year off, come back and hit .500, and jumping all over the place,” Turner continued, noting that fact that Zimmerman opted out of the 2020 campaign, and has returned with a strong spring and solid start to his 16th MLB campaign.
“It’s fun watching him out there,” Turner added. “I know he missed playing last year and when he makes plays like that and he’s hitting like he is, it’s nice to see him back on our side.”
“It’s nice to have a tall first baseman,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said when he too talked about the skills Zimmerman showed off on the play.
“It’s pretty cool. I made fun on him, I said, ‘You really didn’t jump that high, you know, you’re just tall.’”
How did Zim take the gentle ribbing from his manager?
“He started laughing, he said, ‘You’re probably right.’” Martinez laughed.
“That was huge,” Scherzer said of the pick-me-up from his first baseman. “That was great. I was in a battle there with Lux, he worked a good count against me and to see Zim, he’s got some hops still at 36 years old, he’s younger than me, so to see him jump up and catch that ball and land right back on first base for two outs, that’s a game-changing play.
“And to keep it at that point, go two outs with nobody on facing the heart of the order, you had some breathing room there to face those guys. And so that was a huge play for us.”
It did not, however, surprise Scherzer to see Zimmerman’s prowess as a defender on display in LA.
“No. He can jump. I’ve seen it. He’s way more athletic than you guys want to give him credit for, and he can run, he doesn’t need a pinch runner either.”