MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins

Date/Time: July 28, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 3.30) vs. Jose Fernandez (3-0, 2.77)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Miami -125

Total: 6.5

Runs could be at a premium on Tuesday night at Marlins Park when Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals take on Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins. The Nationals still lead in the NL East and the Marlins are looking to sell off some pieces for the future. The Nationals haven’t been linked to too many players, as some of the best possible trade deadline acquisitions for them simply include getting injured Nationals back in the lineup. They could certainly use some of them on Tuesday.

The Nationals are right where they were expected to be. That’s not really the case for the Marlins, who were expected to be right there in the chase for second place and a NL wild card with the New York Mets. Instead, the Marlins are once again trade deadline sellers of bullpen pieces and Martin Prado. The Nationals have endured a lot of injuries so far this season, with Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Yunel Escobar, and Jayson Werth all missing time due to injury.

Impending free agent Jordan Zimmermann’s consistency is so incredible that it has almost gotten boring at this point. Regularly outperforming his xFIP, Zimmermann has a 3.30 ERA with a 3.16 FIP and a 3.85 xFIP. His strikeout rate is back to around where it was for most of his tenure as a full-time starter for the Nationals, but his walk rate remains elite and his command is still top-notch. Zimmermann has been the victim of Washington’s porous defense on a few occasions, with a .315 BABIP against, the highest of his career since 2009, but he is one of the game’s most underrated pitchers.

Zimmermann struggled out of the gate in April with a 4.88 ERA, but has been exactly what the Nationals expected since then. He will be an interesting free agent in a class that will likely feature David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija. As far as this start goes, Zimmermann is set up to succeed. The Marlins are tied with the Phillies for the worst wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season and are in a three-way tie for the worst wOBA against righties.

The Miami Marlins probably won’t score much in this game, but they have Jose Fernandez on the mound, so they won’t need to score much to have a chance to win. It’s unfair what Fernandez has been able to do in his first four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery rehab. Fernandez is 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA, a 1.57 FIP, and a 1.98 xFIP. The Cuban right-hander’s velocity has returned and then some. His slider still has ridiculous bite and his changeup is an improved third pitch since the return. Hitters are swinging and missing nearly 17 percent of the time against Fernandez.

Normally it takes some time for command and control to return post-Tommy John surgery. Fernandez has 32 strikeouts and three walks in 26 innings. He has allowed one home run. There’s no way around it, Jose Fernandez is elite. He’s dominant. It’s amazing anybody ever makes contact off of him if you watch his stuff closely enough. Something to watch in this game is how these two pitchers go about their craft. Fernandez is overpowering. Zimmermann can reach back for 94 or 95, but he’s all about locating. This should be a pitching clinic.

MLB Prediction: You’ll enjoy this game

I don’t know what side to take, but don’t expect many runs to be scored. If I had to pick a side, I’m not going against Jose Fernandez because he has the ability to throw a perfect game on any given night. The Marlins have to score to win, however, and that may not happen off of Zimmermann. Both teams have strong bullpens as well, so this looks like a 2-1, 3-2 type of game.