Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Marlins (9/17-9/20)

4 of 5

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

 Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.81) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.51) – 4:05 PM, MASN/MLB Network

Nicolino is another pitcher that has made his debut for the Marlins at some point during this season. He has made nine starts this season, with the most recent one coming on September 14 against the Mets. In that game, he went six innings, gave up three runs on six hits, struck out two, and walked one in a no-decision.

Nicolino was involved in the mega trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins in 2012 that sent Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to the Jays. It is a small sample size, but the 23-year-old left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts away from Marlins Park (0-3, 5.86 at home). According to Fangraphs, Nicolino throws four pitches. He has a fastball that averages at 88 miles per hour to go with a cutter, curveball, and changeup.

For a while, it looked like Jordan Zimmermann was going to pick up another win in his last outing against the Phillies on September 14. However, he ran into some trouble in the sixth inning when he ended up blowing a 6-2 lead by giving up four runs. In the end, Zimmermann went six innings, gave up six runs on seven hits, struck out eight batters, and walked one.

The problem for Zimmermann against the Phillies was the two home runs he gave up, which included giving up a game tying three run homer to Cody Asche. He has given up 21 home runs this season, which is a career high. Nevertheless, he is holding opposing hitters to a .197 batting average in three starts this month.

Against the Marlins this season, Zimmermann is 1-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts. For his career, he is 8-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 21 career starts vs. Miami. Justin Bour is 3-for-11 against him this season with two home runs and three RBI’s.

Advantage: It will be interesting to see how the Nats offense adjusts to facing an unknown pitcher. Zimmermann has given up plenty of home runs this year, but he did hold the Marlins to one run over seven innings in a win on March 29. Plus, he has held opponents to a .233 batting average at home (.302 on the road). I like the Nationals to eventually pull away and get the win.

Next: Sunday's Matchup