5. Zimmermann in D.C.: After three consecutive turns in the rotation in which he limited the opposition to just one run, Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann gave up seven hits, two home runs and six runs total in six innings of work against the Philadelphia Phillies last time out in what ended up an 8-7 win for the Nats in which he received no decision.
One of those one-run starts was a seven-inning outing against the Miami Marlins back on August 29th which saw the 29-year-old righty give up seven hits and one run on a home run by Justin Bour.
"Really good," Matt Williams told reporters when asked about Zimmermann's work in the Nationals' 5-1 win over the Fish.
"Fastball velocity was really up the first three innings. Touched 96. It was really good. So he's feeling good. He got us through seven. He gave up the homer, but at that point he was just going after guys and above 100 pitches, felt good throughout, so good outing from him."
That start left Zimmermann (1-1) in four outings against the Marlins this season in which he's put up a 2.42 ERA, three walks (1.04 BB/9) and 14 Ks (4.85 K/9) in 26 IP, over which Miami's hitters have put up a combined .281/.300/.375 line.
Zimmermann entered this afternoon's start unbeaten in his last six outings, over which he was (4-0) with a 4.21 ERA, nine walks (1.49 BB/9), 36 Ks (8.92 K/9) and a .263/.322/.511 line against in 36 ⅓ IP.
His fifth start of the 2015 campaign against the Marlins began with a leadoff single by Dee Gordon, who was forced out at second on a grounder to the right side by Ichiro Suzuki. Christian Yelich brought Suzuki around with a double to left, however, and then scored himself on an RBI single by Justin Bour. 2-0 Marlins. 19-pitch frame.
J.T. Realmuto singled to center to start the second and took second and then third on consecutive groundouts, but a 3-2 slider inside got Dee Gordon swinging for out no.3 of a scoreless, 18-pitch inning. 37 total after two.
Justin Bour lined a two-out single to center in the Marlins' third, but Marcell Ozuna popped out behind second to end a 12-pitch inning. 49 total for Zimmermann after three.
Marlins' lefty Brad Hand stepped in with two on and one out after a HBP on Derek Dietrich and a single by Miguel Rojas and bunted both runners over/gave up an out. Dee Gordon worked the count full and took a two-out walk to load the bases in front of Ichiro Suzuki, who K'd swinging over a 1-2 bender to end a 19-pitch frame. 68 total.
A 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Zimmermann at 80 pitches overall after five.
Given a 3-2 lead to work with, Zimmermann retired the Marlins in order in a 15-pitch sixth that left him at 95 pitches.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 0 HR, 95 P, 63 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
4. Hand again: Two of Brad Hand's last three starts have come against the Washington Nationals, with the Miami Marlins' left-hander giving up 13 hits and eight earned runs in eight innings in those two outings, in which Nats' hitters have put up a .394/.487/.515 line against the 25-year-old southpaw.
The first of the two outings was a 4 ⅔-inning start in which the Nationals scored five runs on eight hits in a 7-4 Marlins' win in the nation's capital.
Hand gave up five hits, four walks and three runs in 3 ⅓ innings when he faced the Nats in what ended up a 5-0 loss in Marlins Park.
"Just couldn't quite find his rhythm," Marlins' skipper Dan Jennings said, "couldn't find his tempo and the four walks, coupled with those five hits put him in a little bit of a hole."
Those starts let Miami's '08 2nd Round pick (0-7) in 11 games and nine starts against the Marlins' NL East rivals in his career, with a 7.97 ERA and a .317/.404/.509 line against in 40 ⅔ innings pitched.
Hand took the mound in the nation's capital again today (4-6) on the year with a 5.32 ERA, a 3.77 FIP, 24 walks (2.50 BB/9), 59 Ks (6.15 K/9) and a .296/.347/.428 line against in 86 ⅓ IP.
Hand's third start of the season against the Nationals began with a quick, nine-pitch first in which he worked around a one-out single by Yunel Escobar, getting a 6-4-3 DP out of Bryce Harper in the next at bat.
Michael Taylor singled to center with two down in the Nationals' second and Wilson Ramos walked to put two on in front of Tyler Moore, who K'd swinging to end a 17-pitch frame. 26 total for Hand after two.
Hand worked around a one-out walk to Anthony Rendon for a scoreless, 11-pitch third that left him at 37 pitches.
A 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth pushed Hand up to 49 pitches. One out into the fifth, however, his shutout bid was over after Tyler Moore hit a 1-0 fastball low in the zone out to left-center for a solo blast that cut the Marlins' lead in half, 2-1.
Jordan Zimmermann singled after the home run and back-to-back walks to Anthony Rendon and Yunel Escobar loaded the bases in front of Bryce Harper, who hit a sac fly to right-center to bring Zimmermann in, 2-2.
Hand was up to 36 pitches in the inning after a two-out walk to Jayson Werth loaded the bases again, and his fourth walk of the inning forced in the go-ahead run. 90 pitches overall.
• Brad Hand's Line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 47 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: After the Nationals' walk-off win last night, the Marlins are 9-8 against Washington this season with two games remaining between the NL East rivals. A win today would give Miami their first series win since 2011.
• In today's Marlins-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, the Fish are 7-3 in their last ten games, and Miami's starters have put up the second-best ERA in the majors (2.40) over that stretch.
Blue skies, ready to rake. pic.twitter.com/UYjAYMRXcI
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 19, 2015
• Justin Bour has homered four times against the Nationals this season, with all four coming in Nationals Park. The hard-hitting first baseman has homered in three of his last four games in D.C. and has a seven-game hitting streak going against the Nats.
• Last night's win was the Nationals' sixth walk-off win and 33rd come-from-behind win of the season.
• Jayson Werth started this afternoon's matchup with a 27-game on-base streak going, over which he's put up a .306/.405/.602 line with eight doubles, eight home runs, 17 walks and 22 runs scored.
• In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, Washington's offense has drawn the most walks (136), put up the best OBP, and posted the third-best average (.283) and third-most runs scored over the last 30 games, going back to August 18th.
• Harper entered this afternoon's game ranked 1st in the NL in AVG (.340), OBP (.468), SLG (.667), runs scored (112), home runs (40), and Wins Above Replacement (9.3 fWAR).
• Harper is also two walks away from tying the franchise record for walks in a season.
2. Turning Point(s): Four batters into this afternoon's game, the Miami Marlins were up 2-0 after an RBI double to left-center by Fish left fielder Christian Yelich and a run-scoring single to center by Justin Bour off of Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who was making what will most likely be his next-to-last start in Washington, D.C.
• Marlins' starter Brad Hand cruised through four scoreless frames, but fell behind Tyler Moore, 1-0, with one down in the Nationals' fifth and threw a fastball knee-high inside that Moore powered out to left-center for a solo home run that cut Miami's lead in half, 2-1. Moore's 5th of 2015.
• The Nationals loaded the bases with a single and two walks in the three at bats that followed Moore's blast, and Bryce Harper hit a sac fly to right-center that tied it up at 2-2 in the fifth. Hand's third walk of the inning and fifth of the night was a free pass to Jayson Werth that loaded the bases with two out, and his fourth of the inning and sixth overall put Ian Desmond on and forced in the go-ahead run. 3-2 Nationals.
1. The Wrap-Up: Andre Rienzo got the final out of the fifth with one pitch to Michael Taylor. 3-2 Nationals after five.
Rienzo came back out for a scoreless inning of work in the sixth.
Felipe Rivero took over on the mound for the Nationals in the seventh and retired the side in order in a 15-pitch frame.
Kyle Barraclough gave up a leadoff walk to Yunel Escobar and Bryce Harper's 41st home run on a hanging-a$$ 2-2 slider that ended up in the second deck in right field. 5-2 Nationals.
Sammy Solis gave up back-to-back singles by Christian Yelich and Justin Bour, so Matt Williams went to the pen for Blake Treinen, who got a 5-4-3 DP out of Marcell Ozuna for the first two outs of the frame and a swinging K from Derek Dietrich out to end the threat.
Jonathan Papelbon came on for the save opportunity in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single by J.T. Realmuto on a grounder up the middle. Miguel Rojas took a 3-2 fastball back up the middle for the second straight hit. Casey McGehee grounded into a force at second for the first out of the frame, and Dee Gordon grounded into a game-ending 6-3 DP. 5-2 final.
Nationals now 77-71