Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Marlins (8/28-8/30)

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Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Koehler (8-12, 3.98) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN

The Nationals will be going up against Koehler tomorrow and the Marlins’ 29-year-old right-hander has not won a game since July 23 against the Padres (six straight losses). Koehler did show improvement in his last start against the Pirates on August 24. He went six innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out six, and walked four on 112 pitches (a season-high).

The problem for Koehler all season has been his lack of command. While he has held hitters to a .247 batting average, his 55 walks are the sixth most in the National League. Since the All-Star Break, Koehler is 1-7 with a 5.21 ERA and he is 0-5 with a 6.51 ERA this month.

This season, Koehler is 1-2 in three starts against the Nationals with a 4.66 ERA. One player who likes to see Koehler on the mound is Bryce Harper. The Nats’ right fielder is 7-for-21 against him with five home runs and nine RBI’s. Harper had three home runs against Koehler at Nats Park back on May 6.

While Jordan Zimmermann has won each of his last two stars, he has not been dominant in any of those outings. Over his last 11.2 innings, he has given up 10 runs (eight earned runs) and five home runs. In his last start against the Brewers on Sunday, he went 5.2 innings, gave up four runs on eight hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 116 pitches (a season-high).

Since the All-Star Break, the 29-year-old right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA, but the offense has picked him up in each of his last two starts as they have scored a combined total of 24 runs. Plus, Zimmermann’s command has been sharp as he has walked just eight batters over his last eight starts.

Against the Marlins this season, Zimmermann is 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts. Third baseman Martin Prado (.272, 6 HR, 40 RBI’s) is 12-for-26 with three doubles and three RBI’s against him.

Advantage: Even though Zimmermann has not been his usual self, Koehler has not been able to buy a win in his last six starts. While Bryce Harper has only hit five home runs since the All-Star Break, two of them did come against Koehler and I expect Harper to hit at least one home run tomorrow as the Nats find a way to give Zimmermann some more run support in a win.

Next: Sunday's Matchup