Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats at Marlins (7/28-7/30)

2 of 4

Jul 22, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30 ERA) vs. Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77) – 7:10 PM ET, broadcast on MASN2

It has been an up and down month for Jordan Zimmermann in July, but the 29-year-old right-hander had a good start last time out against the Mets. In seven innings of work, he gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out six, and walked none in a no-decision. All three runs he gave up occurred in the fourth inning.

Remember, this was the first start Zimmermann had since his outing got cut short due to faulty lights against the Dodgers. In four starts this month, he is 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA. He has not beaten the Marlins in two starts this season, but he has a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings and not has had any walks.

In 19 career starts against Miami, Zimmermann is 7-3 with a 3.22 ERA. The Marlins’ hitter to watch in this game is infielder Martin Prado. Prado is 9-for-23 against him with three doubles and two RBI’s.

As for Fernandez, he is just the latest ace that the Nationals have had to encounter in the last couple of weeks. Since returning from Tommy John surgery on July 2, the 22-year-old right-hander has shown flashes of dominance that he had in 2013 and 2014.

In his four starts, he has thrown six innings or more in each game and has given up no more than three runs. In his last start against the Diamondbacks on July 22, he went seven innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out 11, and walked two.

One of the impressive stats about Fernandez is his dominance at home. In 22 career starts at home, he is 14-0 with a 1.17 ERA and he has held his opponents to a .171 batting average. In three starts against the Nats, he is 1-0 with a 0.45 ERA. Jayson Werth is 1-for-8 against him, but that one hit was a home run.

Advantage: This game on paper looks to be one where runs will be at a premium. Zimmermann has pitched well for the Nats, but Fernandez had not shown any signs of slowing down since coming back from injury. While Jayson Werth will be back in the lineup along with Rendon, the Nationals will lose a close game against one of the best pitchers in the National League.

Next: Tomorrow's Starter