Apr 8, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws during the first inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
The first game of the series will see the Nationals matching up against one of Max Scherzer and Doug Fister’s former teammates in Rick Porcello. The 26-year-old right-hander spent the first six years of his career with the Tigers before coming over to Boston in the trade that netted the Tigers Yoenis Cespedes. For his career, Porcello sports a record of 76-64 with an ERA of 4.30. While he’s never been particularly great or overwhelming, Porcello has always been durable; he’s started at least 27 games every season since 2009.
Porcello enters the game looking to bounce back from an underwhelming performance against the Phillies in which he gave up three runs, all earned, on six hits over six innings of work with four strikeouts and two walks. He threw 101 pitches, but only 64 for strikes. Porcello throws mostly a two-seam fastball that hits the mid 90’s, while mixing in a four-seamer, a circle change, and a curveball.
Jordan Zimmermann, on the other hand, will be looking to build on the performance of his last start, a game in which he allowed just one earned run over six innings of work, with five hits and four strikeouts. Zimmermann, it’s worth mentioning, is currently the only Nationals starting pitcher who’s managed to earn a win.
Advantage: There’s no question the Nationals have the advantage in this first match-up. Porcello is a serviceable pitcher, and, as stated, he’s dependable. Jordan Zimmermann, though, is a legitimate Cy Young candidate. The Nats will need him to keep pitching the way he’s been pitching to keep the momentum they picked up on Sunday.