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NYM@WSH: Zimmermann allows three runs over six strong

Tuesday night's game between the Marlins and Nationals was postponed due to inclement weather, and the teams decided differently with respect to their probable starting pitchers for Wednesday night's series finale.

Right-hander Tom Koehler was expected to make the start for the Marlins, but manager Mike Redmond opted to push right-hander Henderson Alvarez from Tuesday to Wednesday. Koehler will make his start at home against the Braves on Friday.

Meanwhile, Nationals manager Matt Williams made the opposite move. The team will skip Blake Treinen -- Tuesday night's starter -- and make the right-hander available in the bullpen. Jordan Zimmermann will make his scheduled start on Wednesday. Williams said he decided on the right-handed Zimmermann in order to keep his starting rotation on normal rest.

Zimmermann is 1-0 against the Marlins this season in two starts. In his second start of 2014, he surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings at home against Miami, though the Nationals won the game, 10-7. Five days later at Marlins Park, Zimmermann earned his first win of the season after giving up two earned runs in seven innings.

Washington is 5-0 in the games Alvarez has started, including four of them while Alvarez was with the Marlins. When the right-hander was previously with Toronto, his team also came out on the losing end to the Nationals.

From Alvarez, the Marlins are looking for improvement on the road. At home, his ERA is 1.85, compared to a 4.88 ERA in away contests.

"He gives us a chance to win," Redmond said of Alvarez. "Sometimes it kind of looks like it might be teetering. But he goes out there, and he pounds the strike zone. He keeps teams off-balance, and he keeps us in ballgames."

The Marlins edged the Nationals, 3-2, in the series opener on Monday. It was Miami's second win in its last 13 games at Nationals Park.

Nationals: Williams brings improved running game
The Nationals have only been caught stealing five times in 30 attempts this season, an 83-percent success rate that ranks third in the Major Leagues behind the Athletics and Yankees.

Last season, Washington finished ninth in the league after stealing 88 bases in 116 tries. And Williams said that slight but important improvement so far in 2014 is a result of an approach he established before the season.

"We set that DNA early in spring that we were going to be aggressive, but be aggressive and be smart about it," Williams said. "Our objective is to take what's given to us."

Williams said the success on the basepaths this season has come thanks to the hard work of his players, who understand and study pitchers' times to home plate as well as the caught-stealing rates of opposing catchers and the counts most likely to produce breaking balls.

"It's all part of the game," Williams said. "But they've done a nice job with it."

Marlins: Capps injury hurts bullpen depth
With Carter Capps on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain, the Marlins' bullpen got a little thinner. Redmond has been struggling to find consistent performers in the later innings.

Capps was a seventh-inning candidate. Now, Arquimedes Caminero, called up from Triple-A New Orleans, will get another look. Chris Hatcher is another right-handed option.

"We've just got to keep plugging those guys in," Redmond said.

A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn have been the primary seventh- and eighth-inning relievers, depending on matchups.

"Some nights it might be A.J. in the seventh and Dunner in the eighth, depending on where we're in the lineup," Redmond said.

Worth noting
• After blasting a 447-foot home run over the center-field fence on Monday, Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton now has six homers of at least 440 feet this season, a total that leads the league.

• The Nationals have surrendered 44 runs in the first inning this season, but they pace the league with a +36 run differential after the sixth inning. Comments