Washington Nationals (75-57) at Seattle Mariners (72-60)
Friday, August 29 - 10:10 PM EST
Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
Felix Hernandez is in his first pitching rut of the season and looks to recapture his form when the Seattle Mariners open a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Friday. Hernandez is just 2-2 over his last five starts and hasn’t made it through the sixth inning in either of his last two outings. He has been bothered by a nagging hip injury and the Mariners held him out of his Wednesday start and pushed him back two days.
Washington leads the National League East by six games over the Atlanta Braves but suffered a three-game sweep to the Philadelphia Phillies after winning 12 of its previous 13 games. Center fielder Denard Span went 3-for-4 with a homer in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss and has 50 multi-hit games this season, tied for second in franchise history with Ryan Zimmerman. Seattle is tied with the Detroit Tigers for the American League’s second wild card and will be without manager Lloyd McClendon for at least the first two games of the series due to his daughter’s wedding as bench coach Trent Jewett will run the club.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), ROOT (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (9-5, 2.93 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Felix Hernandez (13-4, 2.07)
Zimmermann has won three consecutive decisions and is unbeaten in seven outings since the All-Star break. He defeated San Francisco in his last outing when he struck out eight in eight innings and allowed two runs and seven hits. Zimmermann hasn’t walked a batter in six of his last eight starts and has issued just 24 all season.
Hernandez allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings against Boston on Aug. 22 while receiving a no-decision. He struck out seven to improve his season total to 204, marking the sixth straight season he has topped 200. Hernandez has been at dominant at home with a 9-2 record, 1.96 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and .182 opponents’ batting average.
1. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager hit his 20th homer in Wednesday’s loss to Texas, marking the third straight season he has reached that mark.
2. Span (2-for-22, eight strikeouts) and INF Asdrubal Cabrera (3-for-20) struggled against Hernandez when they played for American League teams.
3. Seattle 1B Logan Morrison is 3-for-15 with six strikeouts against Zimmermann but also has clubbed two homers off him.
PREDICTION: Mariners 3, Nationals 2