Washington Nationals Recap: Jordan Zimmermann struggles as Nats fall to Marlins

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After dominating all spring and boasting an ERA of 1.37 through his first five starts, Jordan Zimmermann struggled today as the Washington Nationals fell to the Miami Marlins, 8-0.

Trouble came early and often for Zimmermann, who struggled to keep the ball in the park all day. The Marlins had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the first inning when a familiar face stepped up to the plate in Marlins outfielder Michael Morse.

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Morse former National €”took the third pitch he saw from Zimmermann and hit it over the wall in center field for a three-run homer, giving the Marlins a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Nationals, the Marlins offense wasn’t done.

Miami stretched their lead to 5-0 on a two-run triple off the bat of Christian Yelich in the bottom of the second. The Marlins added two more runs later in the inning when Marlins outfielder and perennial Nats-killer Giancarlo Stanton crushed a two-run homer to give the Marlins a 7-0 lead. Miami scored it’s eighth run in three innings an inning later on an RBI single.

Today’s start will be one to forget for Zimmermann, who allowed eight runs (seven earned) over four innings of work. Fortunately, Spring Training stats don’t matter at all, and it’ll be easy to forget this start if Zimmermann pitches well against the Mets at Nationals Park April 8.

While the Marlins’ offense was on fire early in the game, the Nationals’ lineup wasn’t able to do much of anything against Marlins starter Jarred Cosart.

Cosart dominated the Nationals all day long, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out four and walking three over six innings. The Nationals didn’t fare much better against the Marlins ‘pen, which held Washington to no runs on three hits the rest of the way.

The Nats’ bullpen was almost perfect, as Craig Stammen, Xavier Cedeno, Blake Treinen and Tanner Roark combined to throw four scoreless, two-hit innings. Unfortunately for the Nationals, the damage was done, the offense was dead, and the Mets took this one, 8-0.

Notes:

The Nationals finally received some good news on the injury front Wednesday, as a third opinion on Anthony Rendon‘s knee confirmed the initial diagnosis of an MCL sprain. According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Rendon is only expected to be out for around three weeks.

Granted, three weeks without your best hitter isn’t exactly “good news”. But given the fact that this is a knee injury, it’s important to realize that it could’ve been much, much worse. Fortunately for the Nationals, they definitely have the talent and depth necessary to survive their early-season injuries.

Next Game: After a much-needed day off tomorrow, the Nationals will be back at it Friday afternoon as they take on the New York Yankees in their second to last game of the exhibition season. Both remaining games are against New York, but Saturday’s game will be at Nationals Park for the first baseball game of 2015 in the nation’s capital.

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