After being swept by the Braves, the Nationals travel to Miami to face the Marlins for a three-game series. The last time these two clubs faced each other was last week at Nationals Park, with Washington sweeping the three-game set.
On Monday at Marlins Park, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will get the start for the Nats. Washington is hoping it can get a quality start from Zimmermann.
Last Wednesday, Zimmermann had an outing he would like to forget, lasting 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits in a 10-7 victory.
In the first, Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI single and Garrett Jones had a sacrifice fly that scored Christian Yelich. An inning later, Miami made it a 5-0 game against Zimmermann. Yelich hit an RBI single, while Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer.
"I was terrible and the fastball was all over the place," Zimmermann said. "I walked a few guys. That's not like me. I couldn't get a very good feel. I fell behind guys and when you fall behind, you have to come back with a fastball, and the Marlins are a good fastball-hitting team."
The last time the Nationals had a quality start from their starting pitcher was Thursday, when Stephen Strasburg pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed a run against Miami.
Marlins lefty Brad Hand will be making his second start, and both have been against the Nationals.
At Nationals Park last Wednesday, the Marlins got off to the 5-0 lead with Hand on the mound. But in the fourth inning, the lefty yielded a three-run homer to Bryce Harper.
Hand worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
"I feel like I threw a lot of good pitches, and had some deep counts," Hand said. "Not many quick counts, which ran my pitch count up. Obviously, I gave up the home run that gave them three runs. Other than that, I felt pretty good."
Before the start at Washington, Hand had been used in long relief, but he slid into the rotation when Jacob Turner went on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Rather than worrying about facing the Nationals twice in successive starts, Hand is aiming to execute his game plan.
"You don't really change things up," Hand said. "Go with the same game plan. I'm just trying to get ahead of hitters, stay ahead of hitters and put them away with two strikes. Obviously, I gave up the home run that gave them three runs. Other than that, I felt pretty good."
Marlins: Looking for home success
The Marlins return to Miami after a rough road trip, in which they lost a series at Washington and then Philadelphia.
Beating Washington has been a challenge for Miami in recent years. In 2013, the Marlins went 5-14 against the Nationals. Their record was better at Marlins Park, where they were 4-5. Prior to last season, the Nats last won a season series in '07, when they were 8-10.
Nationals: Espinosa gets chance to play
With Ryan Zimmerman on the DL with a fractured thumb, second baseman Anthony Rendon will switch to third base and Danny Espinosa will be the everyday second baseman.
Espinosa is off to a good start, hitting .318 (7-for-22). Teams have been interested in acquiring the infielder, but general manager Mike Rizzo has decided to hold on to him.
"I'm glad that we drafted him and developed him," Rizzo said. "He came up through our system. We always valued him as a really good Major League player. It's time for him and for other players on the team to show that they are big league players and help us [win ballgames]."
• Dietrich, who didn't start on Friday or Saturday, could be available on Monday. The second baseman is dealing with a back spasm.
• Rafael Furcal (strained left hamstring) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Jupiter on Monday. The plan is for Furcal to spend one week with the Hammerheads followed by a week with Double-A Jacksonville. From there, the club will re-evaluate.
• Kevin Frandsen is 7-for-15 (.467) with an RBI since joining the Nationals.
• Nationals pitchers have struck out 128 batters in 12 games.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.