On Sunday, July 1, the Blue Jays will look to celebrate Canada day with a victory over the Detroit Tigers. The Blue Jays will call J.A. Happ’s number while the Tigers send Jordan Zimmerman to the mound.
Jordan Zimmermann has had a tough year health-wise. Early in the year, in his third start of the season, he took a comeback liner off of the jaw. Amazingly, the starter did not require a trip to the disabled list for this incident. As well, this was not the first time the right-hander had a liner hit him in the jaw. While in college, the righty was forced to wire lock his jaw after taking a line drive off of his face in a game—the same spot he was hit in the April start.
However, while he did not serve on the disabled list for this scary moment, he did end up on the DL later in the season for right shoulder impingement. After multiple rehab starts, the right-handed hurler last started in the majors on June 25, against the Oakland Athletics.
In his first start off the DL, he pitched five complete innings, allowing four hits, one walk, and no earned runs. Somehow, despite allowing no earned runs for over half the game, the Tigers lost this game 5-4.
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Overall, for the season, Zimmermann has been quite average, posting a 4.35 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 1.210 WHIP, and 100 ERA+. Amazingly, despite these average numbers, the Tigers’ starter has allowed no earned runs in four of his nine starts.
The righty has a few different pitches available at his selection. This season, he has relied on a four seam fastball, slider, curveball, sinker, and change-up. Despite featuring five pitches, he almost always goes to a fastball or a slider.
The right-handed hurler has thrown his four seam fastball 40.9% of the time this season. The heater has fallen out of favour with the starter, dropping about 8% in use rate from last season, and 12% since 2016. The four seamer maintains decent velocity, averaging of 92.14 mph. However, the fastball has not fared well, posting a poor .311 BAA and .511 SLGA.
Zimmermann has featured a slider 35% of the time this season. The slider is quite hard, averaging a velocity of 87.43 mph, but it holds minimal movement. The breaking ball has resulted in a fair amount of whiffs, a good rate of 30.22% of swings, and has struck out 26 batters.
The veteran has broken off hooks 12.5% of the time this season. The curve is decently quick, averaging a velocity of 81.09 mph, but it manages just slight 12-6 movement. Despite allowing line drives at a terrible rate of 35.71% of balls in play, the hook has allowed a paltry .111 BAA and .167 SLGA.
The right-hander completes his repertoire with occasional sinkers and change-ups. The sinker has been featured 6.1% of the time this season. As well, the change has seen action 5.2% of the time this year. Neither pitch has fared well, as they both hold an awful .700 SLGA.
Zimmermann has good strikeout and walk numbers. Through nine starts, he has posted a good 22.2% K-rate and 8.49 K/9. As well, he has dropped his walk rate since last year, allowing a BB-rate of 5.8% and 2.18 BB/9.
The Blue Jays have been good against the right-handed hurler in the past. Kevin Pillar has two hits, including a triple, in three at-bats. As well, recently-called-up Darnell Sweeney is 1-for-2 with a walk. Finally, the hero of Saturday’s game, Justin Smoak has managed a double and home run in six at-bats.
The Blue Jays were so famously terrible in their Sunday red uniforms last year that they stopped wearing them. The team will try to buck this trend with a win over the struggling Tigers and Jordan Zimmermann on Canada Day.