Sunday, April 10, 2016

Nats' Ross, Marlins' Koehler make delayed debuts

The Nationals' Joe Ross and the Marlins' Tom Koehler will face off Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park in a matchup of right-handers whose performances are vital to their teams' success in 2016.
Koehler and Ross were originally slated to start Saturday, but the game was postponed due to rain and frigid temperatures. Following a scheduled off-day Friday and the rainout Saturday, the teams will be well-rested for what will now be the series finale Sunday.
After being called up last June, Ross submitted a 3.64 ERA in 76 2/3 innings as a 22-year-old rookie. Now, with Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister gone, the Nationals will rely on Ross to be a steady presence in the rotation.
Despite entering only his third full season, Koehler is the Marlins' second-most experienced starter (535 career innings), behind recent signing Wei-Yin Chen (711 2/3 innings). The 29-year-old Koehler was 11-14 with a 4.08 ERA in 2015.
Koehler said he is excited heading into his first start and confident with where he is with his delivery.
"I feel good, strong, healthy. That's the most important thing," Koehler said. "I like where my stuff is right now. I feel like if I go into those games with a good mix, and a good plan, we should be successful."
Things to know about this game
• Koehler struggled against the Nationals last season, posting a 5.33 ERA in four starts. The 12 home runs Koehler has given up to Washington are twice as many as he has allowed to any other team. The righty's toughest Nats nemesis has been Bryce Harper, who has homered five times in 26 plate appearances against Koehler, including three times last May 6. Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman have each hit two homers off Koehler.
• Sunday will mark Ross' first start against the Marlins. He faced Miami twice in relief last year, ceding two hits and no runs in 1 2/3 innings.
• With his first-inning single Thursday, Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich has hit safely in six straight games at Nationals Park.

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