Washington (50-35) at Miami (42-45), 7:10 p.m. EDT
Carlos Zambrano’s teams have never lost seven straight of his starts over his 12-year career.
The Miami Marlins look to help Zambrano avoid that fate Monday night while also hoping their bats break out as they seek a four-game home split with the Washington Nationals.
Zambrano (4-7, 4.20 ERA) is 0-4 with an 8.00 ERA in his last six outings. It matches his longest career winless run with the Cubs from Aug. 3-Sept. 3, 2007, when he went 0-5 with an 8.29 ERA.
The right-hander is 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his last nine outings against Washington (51-35), going 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two this year. Steve Lombardozzi is 3 for 4 against Zambrano in 2012 while the Marlins starter has limited the trio of Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche to one hit in 17 at-bats.
Washington has outscored Miami 10-3 in winning two of three to start this series. Each Nationals starter has pitched six innings, with Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg turning in scoreless efforts in victories Friday and Sunday while Gio Gonzalez gave up two runs in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat.
Miami (42-46) is hitting .213 with two extra-base hits and 30 strikeouts in this series, going 4 for 26 with runners in scoring position. The Marlins were 1 for 13 in those situations Sunday in a 4-0 loss to Strasburg.
“That’s the reason why we lost,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We had golden opportunities and one of the best pitchers in the game against the ropes and we didn’t take advantage.”
Emilio Bonifacio is 2 for 9, Hanley Ramirez 2 for 11, Omar Infante 1 for 11 and Logan Morrison 1 for 8 in this series.
Those struggling hitters will face Edwin Jackson (5-4, 3.73), who is 1-4 with a 5.33 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins. Jackson pitched well in his lone 2012 outing against them, yielding two runs over 6 2-3 innings May 29 in a 3-1 defeat.
The right-hander has a 2.97 ERA in night games compared to his 5.65 mark during the day. Infante is the Marlin who has fared the best against him, going 7 for 13.
The Nationals have the lone homer in this series, a two-run shot by Zimmerman in the third inning of Friday’s 5-1 victory. Zimmerman and LaRoche each has gone 5 for 12 in the three games.
Shortstop Ian Desmond was held out of Sunday’s lineup after aggravating a left oblique in his final at-bat Saturday. He is considered day to day after batting .407 over his last 15 games, although he is 0 for 6 off Zambrano.
Desmond had not missed a contest since April 19.
“It’s something that he’s learned to live with – and hopefully treatment, the stretching, can loosen it back up and he’ll be good to go,” manager Davey Johnson told the Nationals’ official website. “Certainly his performance, it hasn’t hurt his power.”
Rookie All-Star Bryce Harper is 1 for 12 with four strikeouts in this series. He exchanged words with Guillen in a fourth-inning incident Sunday after the manager became upset over the amount of pine tar on Harper’s bat.
“I’ve been praising this kid the last three times they’ve asked me about him, he’s a great player,” Guillen said. “What he did today was unprofessional.”