No matter how good you think you are, in the larger sample sizes, the pitcher will come out ahead statistically speaking. The pitcher’s odds of success is usually well over 65% depending on who the pitcher is. Against Mariano Rivera, a batter’s failure rate to get on-base was 73.8%.
“The pressure’s on [the pitcher], man,” Ryan Zimmerman said years ago. “It’s not on me.”
“The way I’ve always been taught is, the pressure is on the pitcher,” Ryan Zimmerman said years ago. “Obviously, I want to get a hit as much as anyone else. But if you kind of put it into that mindset, it puts the pressure on him, keeps you calm. The key thing is to try and not do too much.”
“I think it gives us all those pressure at-bats and how not to get out of the moment,” Ryan Zimmerman once said during better times when he was making the clutch hits. “Like the seventh, eighth and ninth innings…we’ve done a great job of making the pitchers come to us and not getting out of our plan. It’s definitely a good learning experience for down the road.”
Like the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and extra innings, explains the “Late & Close” stat that Baseball-Reference.com complied for those situations they define as: “Plate Appearances in the 7th or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.”
Derek Jeter had the nickname “Captain Clutch” and it was that .321 batting average in all of those World Series games with big hits that stood out to many, and many more say it was his eye-popping .399 on-base-percentage in his career when there was two outs and RISP (runners in scoring position). Jeter hit .310 for his entire career with a .377 on-base-percentage, and stepping up in the big moment is what Jeter did.
When Ryan Zimmerman chose an agent to represent him in the draft, he chose Casey Close who was then with CAA and represented Derek Jeter.
“The best thing about sports is people can hit the same in the first inning and the ninth inning, but you’re trying to tell me that you’re gonna take someone other than Derek Jeter in the playoffs in the ninth inning?,” Ryan Zimmerman said in 2013.
Confidence is a crucial factor in this game as the mental side is so important. Ryan Zimmerman once again had a chance for redemption last night. The pitcher was on the ropes as he already blew the save, and two runners were on base with no outs and if Zimmerman could somehow find green grass in the outfield that frustration of 301 prior failed at-bats this year would seemingly disappear.
Dusty Baker addressed the Ryan Zimmerman situation pre-game yesterday with the media, and while we have not heard any media members ever publicly ask “Why are you still playing Zimmerman”, yesterday morning I used my Tuesday column on MASN to basically ask just that.
“One thing, you are not going to do it on the bench,” Dusty Baker continued to say about Zimmerman. “I’m glad we have this lead. I know a lot of people are asking, ‘why am I still playing him?’ But this guy is a carrier. There are carriers, and there are helpers. A helper can help you for so long, but a carrier can carry you [for a long time]. A couple of weeks is all we need.”
Dusty Baker spoke of Zimmerman’s confidence, and there was that time when Zimmerman was the most confident player on the Nationals and would carry the team and felt the pressure was on the pitcher. How can you reverse confidence or is it inevitable?
“I have to play Zim enough to keep his confidence up, let him know that I have confidence in him. We need Zim,“ Dusty Baker said during his pre-game yesterday afternoon. “When he got that base hit [on Monday], I saw him looking up into the heavens like he was so thankful. I think guys are pulling for him harder than anyone on the team because they have seen what Zim can do. I’ve seen it from the other side. I have not seen it from here.”
That last sentence from Dusty speaks volumes, “I have not seen it from here”. It has been a while. Zimmerman’s .214 batting average ranks him 178 out of the 180 players who have at least 400 plate appearances this season. If you factor in his .268 on-base-percentage, there is only one player worse than Zimmerman in the Majors, and he is not on a team currently in playoff contention (Derek Norris of the San Diego Padres).