Series: Game 4 of 4

Washington won 3-1

Game 1: Friday, September 26
Game 2: Friday, September 26
Game 3: Saturday, September 27
Game 4: Sunday, September 28

Marlins 0

(77-85, 35-46 away)

Nationals 1

(96-66, 51-30 home)

    Coverage:  MASN

    1:35 PM ET, September 28, 2014

    Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 

    123456789 R H E
    MIA 000000000 0 0 0
    WSH 01000000 - 1 11 0

    W: J. Zimmermann (14-5)

    L: H. Alvarez (12-7)

    Marlins-Nationals Preview

    Nationals manager Matt Williams won't announce his postseason rotation until Washington's opponent is determined, though Jordan Zimmermann is definitely in his plans.

    The Nationals have captured each of Zimmermann's last 10 outings heading into his final one of the regular season Sunday against the visiting Miami Marlins.

    Washington (95-66) has clinched the NL's top seed and will play the winner of Wednesday's wild-card game. Williams has said he wants to wait and see who the Nationals will play before deciding how to arrange his starters.

    Zimmermann (13-5, 2.78 ERA) will pitch for the first time since he gave up two runs over six innings to earn a 3-2 win at Miami (77-84) on Sept. 20. He finished the sixth despite getting hit in the shoulder by a line drive from leadoff hitter Casey McGehee.

    Williams decided to give him some extra rest due to that incident, and will make a final determination on Zimmermann after Sunday.

    "There are no issues," Williams said. "The swelling's gone out of there. Certainly the black and blue is getting out of there."

    Zimmermann is 7-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break, with the Nationals winning 11 of them -- the lone blemish a 7-6 defeat to the Marlins on July 28. He is 6-0 with a 3.06 ERA in his last 10 starts versus Miami.

    It's not clear what kind of a pitch count Williams will have on the right-hander.

    Zimmermann has had the most trouble among Marlins batters this year with Christian Yelich, who is 6 for 14 against him.

    The Washington manager is also being careful with slugger Ryan Zimmerman, who entered in the sixth inning of Saturday's 5-1 victory and singled and made an error. Zimmerman is 5 for 15 in seven games since returning Sept. 20 after missing 55 because of an injured right hamstring.

    Asked whether Zimmerman would be on the team's division series roster, Williams responded: "Unless something happens, yeah. His timing is good at the plate. He's capable of playing wherever we would ask him to play."

    The Marlins will start Henderson Alvarez (12-6, 2.70), who improved to 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA in his last nine starts with 7 2/3 stellar innings in Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Philadelphia.

    The circumstances Sunday are somewhat familiar to the right-hander, who threw a no-hitter against playoff-bound Detroit in last season's finale for a 1-0 victory.

    "I'm just trying to go out and have a strong end to the season," Alvarez said. "If it ends like last year, that would be perfect."

    Alvarez may have what it takes Sunday to dominate the Nationals after going 1-1 with a 0.51 ERA in three 2014 starts against them with 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

    If he can't go the distance, Steve Cishek is one save shy of becoming the fifth Marlins closer to reach 40.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL2W2
    Last 103-78-2

    Pitching Matchup

    H. Alvarez
    12-7, 2.65 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 at WSH
    7.0 IP, 1 ER
    Dec = Loss
    J. Zimmermann
    14-5, 2.66 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/28 vs MIA
    9.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    1. C. Yelich, CF D. Span, CF
    2. D. Solano, 2B A. Rendon, 3B
    3. C. McGehee, 3B R. Zimmerman, LF
    4. G. Jones, RF A. LaRoche, 1B
    5. R. Johnson, LF I. Desmond, SS
    6. J. Bour, 1B B. Harper, CF
    7. J. Realmuto, C W. Ramos, C
    8. A. Hechavarria, SS A. Cabrera, 2B
    9. H. Alvarez, P J. Zimmermann, P

    Research Notes

    From Elias: With all the defensive changes on the last day of the season, the Nationals had 15 different players record an assist or a putout on Sunday. FROM ELIAS: That's the most different players with an assist or a putout in a no-hitter in MLB history.
    How Jordan Zimmermann Threw a No-No * Got 19 swings and misses, 2nd most in any start of his career (20 on June 24, 2014) * Got 6 K with his breaking balls (curveball or slider), tied for a career high * Threw 23 1st-pitch strikes (all 10 of his K came after being ahead 0-1) * Hitters chased 22 of his pitches out of the strike zone, tied for 3rd most in his career * Recorded 7 K on pitches in the lower-third of the strike zone or lower, tied for the most in any start in his career
    Henderson Alvarez has allowed an .802 OPS in plate appearances to end with a slider this season, which is 214 points higher than the league average among qualified pitchers. Denard Span has an .868 OPS in plate appearances to end in a slider this season, which is 252 points higher than the league average among qualified hitters.
    Henderson Alvarez, who got the loss today, has a no-hitter on his resume (the final game of the season last year). The last no-hitter where the losing pitcher had also thrown a no-no in his career was.... this season, when A.J. Burnett got the loss in Josh Beckett's no-hitter on May 25. Burnett threw his no-hitter in 2001 as a member of the Marlins.
    Zimmermann's no-no is the 56th no-hitter thrown by a team in September or October (in the regular season) since the 1st World Series was played in 1903. Only 6 of the previous 55 teams to do it went on to win the World Series, and it's only happened once in the Divisional Era.
    From Elias: When Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter ended, every one of the 7 position players behind him (not including the catcher) entered the game as a substitute. FROM ELIAS: It's the 1st no-hitter in major-league history that ended with 7 position players on defense who did NOT start the game.

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