Sep 20, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcherJordan Zimmermann
(27) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
After a long, crazy season that saw the Nationals win their second NL East title in three years and clinch the best record in the National League, it all comes to an end Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park. Well, the regular season comes to an end. Because as far as the Nationals are concerned, they’re only getting started.
As the Nationals wrap up the 2014 regular season and head into the playoffs, one of their few concerns is the health of right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (13-5, 2.78 ERA). Zimmermann has been dealing with a bruised shoulder since he was hit by a line drive in his last start.
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“It’s in a good spot,” manager Matt Williams told MLB.com. “It’s not in the front, where the tendon is. It’s kind of on the side. Offensive guys deal with it all the time, getting hit in the shoulder. It’s sore for a few days, but it’s just muscle.”
The fact that the Nationals’ right-hander is starting today’s game is a good sign that the shoulder isn’t bothering him as much as it was last week. Nevertheless, Sunday’s start will be a good test for Zimmermann as he looks to carry momentum from his dominant season into the NLDS, which starts Friday at Nationals Park.
Zimmermann has been one of the team’s best pitchers this season and has really turned it on in the month of September. In his last 10 starts, Zimmermann is 7-0 with a 2.06 ERA. In that span, the right-hander has not given up more than three runs and has surrendered two runs or fewer nine times.
Despite the shoulder injury, Zimmermann continued his dominant season his last time out, holding the Marlins to just one run on five hits over six solid innings. In his career against the Marlins, Zimmermann is 6-3 with a 3.68 ERA and 77 strike outs over 95 1/3 innings.
The Marlins will counter with right-hander Henderson Alvarez (12-6, 2.70 ERA), who no-hit the Tigers in the final game of the 2013 season. Alvarez pitched well his last time out, holding the Phillies to just five hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings of work. In his career against the Nationals, Alvarez is 1-3 with a 2.61 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched.
Here are the lineups for today’s game:
Miami Marlins @ Washington Nationals, 1:35 P.M. ET
- CF: Christian Yelich
- 2B: Donovan Solano
- 3B: Casey McGehee
- RF: Garrett Jones
- LF: Reed Johnson
- 1B: Justin Bour
- C: J.T. Realmuto
- SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
- SP: Henderson Alvarez