Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Yankees (5/19-5/20)

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May 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) pitches during the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Warren (2-2, 4.50) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (3-2, 3.66) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN

Jordan Zimmermann gets the start for the Nationals in this game because of the Doug Fister injury. The Nats will not need a fifth starter for a little while because of off days yesterday, this Thursday, and next Thursday. Instead of using A.J. Cole or Tanner Roark, Zimmermann slides into this spot on regular rest.

Let’s start by talking about Adam Warren. The 27-year-old right-hander won the fifth spot in the rotation in spring training after being a key member of the bullpen a season ago. He has had command issues at times, but he is coming into this start Wednesday with some confidence. In his last start against the Rays, he went seven innings, gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out seven batters, and walked one.

The question forward for Warren will be whether or not he stays in the rotation when Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka come back, especially when New York needs help in the bullpen behind Betances and Miller. The key for the Nats to get to Warren is to not let him get in a groove early and to work the count since he has walked at least one batter in six of his seven starts this year.

As for Zimmermann, he has turned his season around after a rough month of April. In three starts this month, he has a ERA of 1.89 and has given up a total of four runs. In five starts during the month of April, his ERA was 4.88. Against San Diego on Friday, Zimmermann showed his great command when he held a good San Diego offense to six hits in six innings to go with six strikeouts and one walk.

This season, Zimmermann has been able to eat innings to help the Nationals bullpen. He has gone at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts. He has one career start against the Yankees. On June 16, 2012, he went six innings, gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits, struck out six, and walked three in a no-decision.

In his career against Zimmermann, right fielder Carlos Beltran is 4-for-15 with two doubles and a RBI. The only two Yankees with homers against him are Garrett Jones and their new shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

Advantage: This matchup is lopsided on paper and I expect that to be the same when the two teams take the field Wednesday. Zimmermann is starting to return to his 2014 form and the Nats offense has the ability to get to Warren early in this game or the Yankees middle relief. Nationals win in a blowout.

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