Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals face Marlins

MLB

Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hasn’t made up his mind about returning for a 17th season in 2022.

Right now, he is just enjoying the job he signed on for in 2021. Playing some first base behind Josh Bell and pinch hitting, Zimmerman has provided a steadying influence in a season when so much has changed for the Nationals.

The 36-year-old Zimmerman hit his 14th home run in the Nationals’ 8-2 win Tuesday and played first base with Bell in left field against a left-hander. With lefty Trevor Rogers going for Miami in the rubber game of the series Wednesday afternoon, Zimmerman could start again, or be there for a key at-bat late.

Zimmerman, who opted out in 2020, came back this season expecting 200-300 at-bats. He is hitting .243 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 230 at-bats.

“Honestly, it’s kind of what everyone on all sides expected,” Zimmerman said. “It’s worked out pretty good. I feel like I’ve been productive in my role, and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Nationals Park will essentially be Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on Wednesday when the Marlins’ Rogers (7-7, 2.73 ERA) is opposed by Nationals right-hander Josh Rogers (1-0, 3.65).

Trevor Rogers faces the Nationals for the third time this season. He’s 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and nine strikeouts in 10 innings. In his last start, against Atlanta, he gave up four runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings.

He is seeking his first win since June 10. The Marlins are 2-7 in his starts since then.

Josh Rogers, who signed a minor league contract with the Nationals in June, makes his third start for Washington. He has allowed 12 hits in 12 1/3 innings, while walking four and striking out six. Last time out, he limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to two runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

On Monday night, the Nationals were no-hit for 6 2/3 innings. On Tuesday, the bats woke up as Washington rapped out 14 hits in an 8-2 win. Juan Soto reached base four times with three hits and a walk and Keibert Ruiz had three hits as well.

“I really liked our approach tonight,” said bench coach Tim Bogar, who filled in after manager Dave Martinez had a follow-up procedure on his ankle earlier in the day.

“We didn’t expand the zone very much,” Bogar said. “We swung at some pretty good pitches. We put up a lot of hits tonight. I liked the patience, especially in big situations. Trying not to do too much.”

Soto reached base four times for the 20th game this season. He has reached in 17 of his last 18 games, hitting .410 in that stretch.

Lewin Diaz homered twice for the Marlins. Recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville on Sept. 8, the 23-year-old rookie is hitting .190 for the season but is 5-for-10 in his past three games.

“Anytime you see a game like this, it shows you what he can be,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Now he can show us, hey, he’s ready to be consistent. … We knew we were going to get extended at-bats for Lewin and it’s a chance for him to show he can give you consistent good at-bats.”

–Field Level Media

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