Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nationals Battle Division Foe Philadelphia Phillies

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Apr 13, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

For Saturday’s matchup, the Nationals start Jordan Zimmermann and the Phillies trot out Aaron Harang.

Zimmermann could not have had two different starts so far this season. His first start was excellent. He went six innings, giving up only five hits and one run, to earn his first win against the Mets. His next outing against the Red Sox was awful. He couldn’t make it through three innings giving up nine hits and eight runs, seven of them earned, before his night was over. The defense behind him was a bit rough, but he was hit, and hit often, leading to his first loss.

Aaron Harang has had a solid start to this season for the Phillies. He went 6.1 innings with only two hits allowed against the Red Sox in his first start to earn the win. His next start was equally impressive, going six innings while giving up his lone earned run of the season against the Mets. While those numbers are nothing to scoff at, Harang is 36-year-old journey man with a career ERA of 4.19. He is a solid, not spectacular, back of the rotation starter.

Advantage: Zimmermann

Again, Zimmermann is going to be in the same boat as Scherzer where Zim will not find many matchups where he is not the favorite. As the second legitimate Cy Young candidate on the Nationals’ staff, Zimmermann should pitch more like his first start than his second and give the Nats a good chance to win each and every time out. I expect Zimmermann to shake off his last start and earn his second win of the year against the Phillies.

Next: Game 4: Strasburg vs. Buchanan