Zimmerman thinks Nats could’ve swept Braves with full roster


The Nationals are 1-2 to begin the 2021 season after a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves. While that doesn’t sound like the most encouraging start, the Nationals were in a position to win all three games despite nine of their players on the Injured List due to a COVID outbreak in the clubhouse.

Following their comeback win on Opening Day, the Nationals nearly overcame a poor start from Erick Fedde in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader and entered the final inning of Game 2 tied 0-0 before Tanner Rainey allowed a decisive homer to Pablo Sandoval. Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman joined 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Friday and explained why he took away several positives from the opening series.

“This series that we just played, the Braves are one of the favorites to win our division,” Zimmerman said. “We could’ve won all three of those games with the roster that we have. I’m not trying to take anything away from these guys, they’re big-league players and I think we did a great job. But I think, if anything, pretty optimistic about what we just did against the Braves.”

Some of the players Washington began its season without include Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber, Brad Hand, Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester, Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison. With a series against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers looming, the Nationals are hoping to get at least of few of those players back before the end of the weekend.


However, the regulars that have been available have done their part. Juan Soto provided walk-off heroics on Opening Day. Trea Turner already has two home runs to his name. Victor Robles has been a catalyst in the leadoff spot and Starlin Castro racked up three RBIs. Zimmerman himself has four hits including a double.

What really impressed Zimmerman was the pitching. Max Scherzer allowed four solo home runs in his first start but managed to go six innings and keep Washington close enough for the offense to rally. In the second game of the doubleheader, Stephen Strasburg tossed six scoreless in just his third start since the 2019 World Series.

“Having Scherzer and Strasburg both throw fairly well, I know Max gave up some of those homers but other than that he settled in and to see Stras throw like he did that first time out — if we’re gonna win it goes back to our pitching,” Zimmerman said. “That’s why we won in 2019 and to have those two guys throw like that the first time out I think is a very positive sign for us moving forward.”

For more interviews, tune into the Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.