Nationals-Rockies Preview

With Esmil Rogers and Juan Nicasio in the rotation, the Colorado

Rockies may not miss Ubaldo Jimenez at all.

Following Rogers’ solid outing, Nicasio will try to stay

unbeaten at Coors Field as the Rockies continue their four-game

series with the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Rogers pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing a run and seven hits, as

the Rockies (52-60) halted a four-game losing streak with a 6-3

victory Thursday. Rogers inherited Jimenez’s rotation spot after

the ace was dealt to Cleveland on Saturday for a package of

prospects.

“It’s sad that he left but it opened up an opportunity for me,”

said Rogers, who improved to 5-1.

Nicasio (4-3, 3.95 ERA) has also gotten the chance to prove

himself this year – something the rookie has done especially well

at Coors Field, going 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA in six home starts and

allowing one or zero runs in four of those outings.

Right-handed hitters are batting .164 against the right-hander

in Denver, with 16 strikeouts and two walks.

“At Coors Field, it usually takes more concentration,” Nicasio

told the Rockies’ official website. “My fastball needs to be down

and in.”

Nicasio is looking for his first win in four starts, with his

last two coming on the road. He gave up two runs – one earned – and

struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings Sunday, but Colorado’s

bullpen faltered in an 8-3 loss at San Diego.

Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann (6-9, 3.12) will try to build off

a strong start in his last game.

The right-hander surrendered seven hits in six scoreless

innings, although he didn’t get a decision in the Nationals’ 3-2

win over the New York Mets on Sunday. Zimmermann had allowed six

runs in each of his previous two outings, both after extended

layoffs as the team tries to limit his innings.

“He had too much rest,” manager Davey Johnson told the

Nationals’ official website. “He was too strong, rushing, getting

out in front. (Against New York) he was much better – 10 times

better – and it showed.”

Zimmermann’s most recent win came against Colorado on July 10,

when he yielded four hits and fanned six in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-0

home victory.

He is 3-4 in 11 road starts, but has allowed two runs or fewer

in eight of them. Washington has often struggled to generate

offense while going 21-35 on the road, batting .224 and scoring

three or fewer runs more than half the time.

Ryan Zimmerman had three hits Thursday – including a two-run

double in the ninth – but Washington (53-58) still opened a 10-game

trip with its fifth loss in six road games. Zimmerman is hitting

.446 (25 for 56) during a 13-game hitting streak, but he’s failed

to homer and has driven in only four.

Troy Tulowitzki had three hits Thursday, finishing a triple shy

of the cycle, and Ty Wigginton and Chris Nelson added two hits and

an RBI apiece for the Rockies, who have won 17 of the last 21

matchups with Washington.