MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – The Washington Nationals have won five of six to cling to the fringes of their fading playoff picture.
With the clock ticking on their season, the Nationals look to trim their sizable deficit in the National League East on Saturday when they play the third contest of a four-game series versus the visiting Miami Marlins.
Jayson Werth doubled to reach base for a career high-tying 27th straight contest and scored on Jose Lobaton's sacrifice fly in a 5-4 victory in 10 innings on Friday.
Werth is 5-for-11 with five runs scored in his last three games for Washington, which has 15 contests remaining on its schedule to try to erase an eight-game deficit to the first-place New York Mets.
Dee Gordon is 11-for-22 (.500) with six runs scored in his last five contests for the Marlins and 7-for-21 (.333) in his career versus Saturday starter Jordan Zimmermann. The speedy Gordon is batting .333 on the season and remains within striking distance of Nationals phenom Bryce Harper (.340), who is 10-for-20 with four homers and seven RBIs in his last five games.
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Florida, MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (3-3, 3.81 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.51)
Nicolino has made himself at home on the road this season, posting a 3-0 mark with a 1.69 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. The 23-year-old recorded a quality start in a no-decision versus the Mets in his last outing, but continues to struggle in keeping the ball in the park. Nicolino was taken deep twice by New York and has allowed five homers in his last five outings.
Zimmermann was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision on Monday despite permitting six runs on seven hits - including two homers - in six innings against Philadelphia. The 29-year-old will look to redeem himself versus Miami, against which he improved to 8-4 in his career after yielding one run in seven innings of a 5-1 victory on Aug. 29. While Nicolino has prospered on the road, Zimmermann has enjoyed home cookin' with a 7-3 mark and 2.47 ERA.
- Miami LF Christian Yelich is 8-for-19 (.421) with one homer, five RBIs and four runs scored during his four-game hitting streak.
- Washington 1B Clint Robinson is 10-for-26 (.385) in his last seven contests.
- Marlins rookie Justin Bour is 6-for-16 (.375) with two homers and seven RBIs in his last four games.
PREDICTION: Nationals 3, Marlins 2
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