Padres-Nationals Preview

Jordan Zimmermann has been throwing the ball over the plate all

season, and that’s helped keep him near the top of the major

leagues in wins. So has his complete dominance at home.

He’ll try to tie for the major league victory lead when the

Washington Nationals host the San Diego Padres on Saturday.

Zimmermann (12-3, 2.46 ERA) was shaky his last time out but

managed to move to 12-0 in his past 13 home starts, giving up four

runs in six innings of a 10-5 win over Milwaukee on Monday. The

right-hander has posted a 1.57 ERA in those 13 home outings, and

he’s 9-0 with a 1.50 ERA there this season.

He hasn’t lost at Nationals Park in 21 games.

Zimmermann has won three straight starts, and running that

streak to four would tie him with Detroit’s Max Scherzer for the

most victories in baseball. He should be happy to see the Padres,

against whom he has a 1.33 ERA in four career starts.

He held San Diego to two runs – one earned – with no walks in a

seven-hitter May 18, but lost 2-1 on the road.

Zimmermann ranks third in the major leagues with 1.27 walks per

nine innings.

Jason Marquis (9-4, 3.74) will provide a study in contrasts, as

the right-hander easily leads baseball with 5.35 walks per nine

innings.

He walked a career high seven in a 4-0 loss to Miami on Monday,

surrendering four unearned runs in 6 1-3 innings while throwing

just 57 of 110 pitches for strikes.

“I’m not going to give in to the hitter,” Marquis said.

“Sometimes you fall behind and make good pitches and you just don’t

get the results you want.”

He’ll face a Washington club that has scored at least eight runs

in four of six games. The Nationals (44-42) have seven home runs

and 14 doubles during that stretch, led by Ian Desmond, who has

three doubles while batting .391 and recording at least one hit in

all six games.

Denard Span has four doubles in those six contests, including

one in an 8-5 win Friday.

“That’s what I’ve been looking for,” manager Davey Johnson said.

“It takes the pressure off everybody in the lineup. They feel like

they can stay within themselves and not try to do too much.”

San Diego (40-47) opened its 10-game road trip with a 9-2

victory over Miami on June 28, but the Padres have managed 12 runs

in seven consecutive losses since. They’ve dropped 11 of their last

13.

Mark Kotsay has gone hitless in his last 18 at-bats and 0 for

his last 12 with runners in scoring position. San Diego’s Chase

Headley did break out of a 3-for-22 slump with a home run and a

double Friday.

Marquis, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010 and 2011, won

both of his starts against them with a 1.93 ERA in 2009. Jayson

Werth has eight hits, including two home runs and three doubles, in

15 at-bats off Marquis.