Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Dodgers (7/17-7/19)

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Jul 11, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Bolsinger (4-3, 3.08 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.22) – 7:05 PM ET, broadcast on MASN/WUSA9/MLB Network

Late Thursday afternoon, Don Mattingly chose to put Bolsinger in this spot instead of Kershaw, who will be pitching on Saturday. The 27-year-old right-hander ended his first half on a good note against the Brewers. In that start back on July 10, he went six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out six, and walked one batter in a no-decision.

Wins have been tough to come by for Bolsinger this season. His last win came on June 8 against the Diamondbacks, which is a span of six starts. He has only given up three home runs this season, but teams are hitting .282 against him on the road as opposed to hitting .214 against him at Dodger Stadium.

After winning three of his first five starts, Bolsinger went 1-1 in six June starts with a 4.40 ERA. The one thing that might be in his favor tonight is that there is not one player in the Nationals lineup that has face him since this is his second season in the league after making nine starts with the Diamondbacks last season.

In Jordan Zimmermann’s last start of the first half, he had some issues with leaving pitches up in the zone against the Orioles, but he kept the damage to a minimum. He went five innings, gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out four, and walked none. Despite giving up four runs, Zimmermann still won his third straight start and he has not lost since June 17 (five starts).

By going only five innings on July 11, it snapped a streak of four straight starts in which the 29-year-old pitched into the seventh inning or later. In ten starts at home this season, Zimmermann is 4-3 with a 2.27 ERA. If he can keep his fastball down in the zone, a pitch that the O’s made a lot of hard contact against, he should have success in this outing.

In six starts against the Dodgers, Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA. However, he only gave up two runs in two starts against them last season. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.213, 8 HR, 29 RBI’s) is hitting .242 against him with two home runs and five RBI’s.

Advantage: Since the Nats are facing Kershaw and Greinke this weekend, this is a game that they need to get. They will need time to adjust to Bolsinger, but I do like Jordan Zimmermann to keep his good momentum going and to pick up yet another home win. While the Nats offense has been inconsistent, they should find a way to get the win for Zimmermann in this one.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup