Battle In South Florida: Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins

Washington Nationals (14-17) AT Florida Marlins (19-11)
May 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM EST
Opening Moneyline:  FLA -160, WAS +140
Current Moneyline:  FLA -155, WAS +140
Opening Total:  7.5
Current Total:  7

SP:  Was- J. Zimmerman; Fla- R. Nolasco

Nolasco is projected by Baseball Prospectus to have a 10-8 record with a 4.00 ERA

Ricky Nolasco is the ace of the Marlins’ staff and looks to help the Marlins recover from a poor bullpen effort.  The Marlins’ pen gave up 4 runs and 6 hits in the April 30th loss to the Reds.  The next day, Nolasco gave up 3 runs in 7 innings as the Marlins won 9-5 again against the Reds.  “It’s great for us to bounce back,” Nolasco remarked.

During the 4-3 road trip, the Marlins’ starters posted a 5.10 ERA, but the rotation has been 2.83 at home, as the Marlins have got off to their best start in 14 season with a 10-5 home mark.  The Marlins are 38-19 against the Nationals since the 2005 season when they relocated from Montreal.

The Nats are coming off being swept in three games by the Phillies and they still face five more road games after today’s before returning to the Nation’s capitol.

The Nats will send Jordan Zimmerman to the mound.  In his last appearance Zimmerman gave up only 2 runs and 6 hits over 6 innings of pitching in a 5-2 home victory over the Giants.  He threw 107 pitches, which is the most since he had his Tommy John’s surgery last August.  “I try to get stronger as the game goes on, and I felt fine the whole game,” Zimmermann said. “I still felt strong at the end.”  In his three starts against the Marlins, Zimmerman is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.  His PECOTA projection for the season is for a 6-6 record with a 4.27 ERA.  If his arm holds up, he’ll pitch considerably more than the projected 86 innings pitched.  During his initial return, he was able to throw all four of his pitches for strikes and his fastball was creeping into the mid 90s again.  He was at one point regarded as a high prospect, but after surgery so much can change.  He’s looked good so far in 2011, though, so Nats fans and players are keeping their fingers crossed for the hurler.

The Nationals have absolutely horrid batting averages and are led by Jayson Werth’s .230 average.  He also leads the team with a mere 4 home runs.  Their pitching has been better, as they have two pitchers (Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis) with ERAs under 4.  Zimmerman is close with a 4.29.

Gaby Sanchez has been good for the Marlins this season.  He’s batting .316 with 4 home runs and 16 RBIs on the season.  While Nolasco has been pretty good, the Marlins will anticipate stud Josh Johnson taking the mound again, as he is the Marlins top pitcher on the year with 3 wins and a 1.68 ERA.

Some betting trends:

Washington is 2-4 SU in their last 6 games and the Nationals are 1-7 SU in their last 8 games on the road.  The total has gone OVER In 11 of Washington’s last 14 road games and the Nats are 1-7 SU in their last 8 games against the Marlins.  The total has gone OVER in 4 of Washington’s last 6 games on the road against the Marlins and the Nats are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games on the road in Florida.

The total has gone OVER in all 5 of the Marlins’ last 5 games and the Marlins are 14-6 SU in their last 20 games.  They are 7-2 SU in their last 9 games at home and 7-1 SU in their last 8 games against the Washington Nationals.  The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Marlins’ last 6 games at home against Washington and the Marlins are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games at home against the Nats.

Nolasco certainly should give the Marlins the edge in this one.  They are favored due to his solid pitching and he’s a solid ace to have.

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