MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – The margin of error to reach the postseason keeps getting slimmer for the Washington Nationals, who face an uphill climb with injuries taking a toll on their lineup. Trailing the first-place New York Mets by 6 1/2 games in the National League East, the Nationals attempt to rebound from a 4-3 defeat when their three-game series continues Saturday against the visiting Miami Marlins.
Washington endured a rough day on the injury front Friday when it was revealed the center fielder Denard Span will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip. Michael Taylor, who has been starting in Span’s place, suffered a knee contusion Thursday and sat out the series opener along with third baseman Yunel Escobar (hand). Marlins third baseman Martin Prado belted a two-run homer Friday to improve to 14-for-41 against the Nationals this season. Right-hander Tom Koehler, who has lost six consecutive starts for Miami, opposes Jordan Zimmermann on Saturday.TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (8-12, 3.98 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (10-8, 3.54)
Koehler winless drought continued despite turning in his third quality quality start in four turns, limiting Pittsburgh to two runs on seven hits over six innings on Monday. The Marlins have scored two or fewer runs five times during Koehler’s six-start skid, but he’s allowed at least five runs in half those starts. He has lost two of three decisions versus the Nationals this season to fall to 3-5 lifetime against them.After enduring a six-start winless drought, Zimmermann has won each of his last two outings despite giving up 10 runs and 17 hits over 11 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old Zimmermann is suddenly prone to the long ball, surrendering five homers in his last two starts and eight overall in five turns this month. Zimmermann is 0-1 in three starts against the Marlins this season despite allowing a total of six earned runs.
- Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna has collected two hits in four of his last five games.
- Nationals OF Bryce Harper is 14-for-33 during a nine-game hitting streak.
- Marlins LF Christian Yelich missed his second straight game after aggravating a knee injury and may miss the rest of the series.
PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Marlins 3
(© Copyright 2015 SportsDirect Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)