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Miami Marlins (77-84) at Washington Nationals (95-66)
Sunday, September 28 - 1:35 PM EST
Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
Henderson Alvarez made the 2013 season finale one to remember, and he'll try to do the same when the visiting Miami Marlins wrap up the 2014 campaign Sunday against the Washington Nationals. Alvarez tossed a no-hitter versus Detroit on the last day of the 2013 season, and he will try to send Miami off with a win again this year. The Marlins might be more likely to be no-hit, though — they managed only four hits Saturday after being three-hit in the opener of Friday's doubleheader.
Alvarez has allowed only one earned run in 17 2/3 frames over three starts against the Nationals this season and is working on a 12-inning scoreless streak over the past two meetings. He might not face all of Washington's regulars this time, as the club has clinched the top seed in the National League playoffs and could rest some of its stars. The Marlins, who racked up 15 runs and 22 hits in the second game of Friday's twinbill, will face right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who is nursing a sore right shoulder after being hit by a Casey McGehee comebacker last time out in Miami.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Henderson Alvarez (12-6, 2.70 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (13-5, 2.78)
Alvarez has recorded two straight wins and three consecutive quality starts. He gave up five hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings to beat Philadelphia last time out and add to his career-high win total. The 24-year-old is 1-3 against the Nationals despite a 2.61 ERA in seven meetings.
Zimmermann has posted 11 consecutive quality starts and won seven straight decisions, and the Nationals have been victorious in his last 10 starts. That's all the more reason Washington wants to test his sore shoulder to make sure he is ready to contribute to the rotation in the postseason. The 28-year-old held the Marlins to two runs (one earned) over six innings last time out, improving to 6-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 16 starts against them.
1. Nationals CF Denard Span has 183 hits, tied with Cristian Guzman for the single-season Nationals record.
2. Miami closer Steve Cishek needs one save to become the fifth Marlins pitcher to reach 40 in a season and the first since Todd Jones in 2005.
3. Washington LF Bryce Harper is 8-for-15 with two homers versus Alvarez.
PREDICTION: Nationals 3, Marlins 2