April starts and successes are nothing new for Nationals righty Jordan Zimmermann. For Marlins lefty Brad Hand, pitching in April at all is a relatively new experience.
Hand broke into the big leagues in 2011, and this is the first time he's made an Opening Day roster. But he did so as a spot starter/long relief.
On Wednesday night, Hand is being called into action as an emergency starter in place of Jacob Turner.
After the Marlins lost, 5-0, to the Nationals on Tuesday night, the team announced Turner was scratched due to a right shoulder strain he sustained while hitting in the cages in the afternoon.
"He's going to be evaluated [Wednesday], and we'll go from there," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's just something that just cropped up today. The pitchers hit in a cage."
It's too early to tell if Turner will be headed to the disabled list. The discomfort came from swinging the bat, not throwing.
Hand has made two relief appearances this season and has logged five shutout innings. He last pitched April 4, posting a three-inning save against San Diego.
Zimmermann, meanwhile, is well accustomed to the early part of the season. And the right-hander certainly has had his share of success facing Miami in the first month.
In 2013, Zimmermann was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA against Miami. Two of those wins came in April.
Hand is 0-2 lifetime with a 7.53 ERA against the Nationals.
In recent days, Zimmermann dealt with flu-like symptoms.
He was able to pitch the home opener against the Braves on Friday afternoon. His fever broke about 11 p.m. ET on Thursday, and he told manager Matt Williams that he felt 100 percent better than he felt earlier in the day.
Zimmermann pitched five strong innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out nine. The run came courtesy of Evan Gattis' home run in the fifth inning.
"Health-wise, I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday," Zimmermann said Friday. "Yesterday, it was rough. I got some fluids and some rest. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I called [Williams], and I was good to go. I was able to go five, and he thought that was enough."
Marlins: Stanton stays hot at Washington
Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is putting to rest any thoughts that he is a perennial slow starter. In the past few years, he may have been, but not now. With his single in the third inning off Gio Gonzalez on Tuesday, Stanton extended his hitting streak to six games. The right fielder also has hit safely in seven of eight games.
Stanton especially is comfortable batting at Nationals Park. In his career, he is 38-for-113 (.336) in the ballpark with 13 home runs and 24 RBIs. The 13 homers are his high for all visiting ballparks.
Nationals: Holding edge in close ones vs. Miami
The Nationals have had their share of close calls against the Marlins in recent years. They've also been able to do whatever it takes to come out on top. Since September 2011, the Nats are 11-6 in one-run games with Miami, and they've won seven straight one-run contests at Nationals Park.
They've executed better when it mattered most. For example, on Tuesday night, in a well-pitched game, Gio Gonzalez picked off Adeiny Hechavarria to open the third inning. It technically was scored a caught stealing. Washington added a second run, in the sixth inning, on a two-out wild pitch.
After losing, 5-0, on Tuesday, the Marlins have been shut out five times in their last 11 games at Nationals Park. They were 1-9 with four shutouts at Washington last year.