Jordan Zimmermann may not have the most recognizable name in Washington's rotation, but there is no doubt he has been the ace of the Nationals' staff this season.
The right-hander looks to become the National League's first 11-game winner on Wednesday night when the Nats resume a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery early in his MLB career, the former second-round pick has continued to grow into an excellent starter. He won 12 games and had a 2.94 earned run average in a career-high 32 starts last year and has built upon that success in 2013.
Zimmermann is 10-3 with a 2.26 ERA through 15 starts this campaign and has a chance at becoming just the second pitcher in the majors to reach 11 wins. Detroit's Max Scherzer has already reached the mark, while St. Louis Cardinals hurler Lance Lynn also takes aim at his 11th win tonight.
The 27-year-old Zimmermann stands a good chance at adding to his won total given that he is 7-0 with a 0.92 ERA in eight home starts this season.
The 6-foot-2 hurler is coming off a home victory over Colorado on Thursday as he held the Rockies to one unearned run over eight innings of work. He struck out nine while working around six hits and a walk, throwing a season-high 85 strikes.
"It seems like he's been pitching like this all year," catcher Kurt Suzuki said on his club's website following the win. "He's had a couple of hiccups here and there, but this is Jordan."
Zimmermann will look to even his career record versus Arizona, having gone 1-2 against them in three previous meetings with a 2.75 ERA.
While Zimmermann has been an effective pitcher for Washington all season, that wouldn't describe Wade Miley's campaign thus far for Arizona.
A 16-game winner last year, Miley is just 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA through 15 starts in 2013 and a lack of control kept him from going deep last time out. The left-hander needed 104 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings versus Cincinnati on Friday, forcing him out of a game that was tied at three.
The Diamondbacks went on to win 11-5, leaving Miley without a decision.
The 26-year-old, who snapped a four-start slide with his last win on June 5, has split two career starts against the Nationals with a 3.48 ERA.
Miley will try to earn the first win by an Arizona starter since he beat St. Louis on June 5. Diamondback starters have gone 0-7 in 17 games since, including last night's 7-5 setback.
The Diamondbacks trailed 6-0 after the fifth inning, but plated five runs over the final four innings to make things interesting before Nats closer Rafael Soriano secured his 20th save of the campaign despite giving up a run in the ninth.
Arizona's offense could not take Trevor Cahill off the hook as he gave up all six runs in five innings of work to lose his fifth straight decision.
"I've noticed I've made a lot of my mistakes on my changeup," said Cahill. "Just kind of leaving it up the middle ... I don't know if it's me trying to do much with it or not."
Arizona has lost two in a row following a four-game winning streak, but still leads Colorado and San Diego by three games for first place in the NL West. San Francisco is 3 1/2 games off the pace.
Washington looked like it would cruise to its fourth victory in six games thanks to a five-run third inning that featured a three-run homer by Adam LaRoche, but had to hold on.
"It's always nice, especially when the team well-deserves it," said Nats starter Gio Gonzalez. "They go out there and play like this, I think it's always a pretty thing when see your guys play at the top of their level ... I tip my cap to them."
Gonzalez earned his first win since May 5, allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings of work.
Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman did not start Tuesday's game due to a sore right shoulder, but did pinch-hit in the game. Arizona, meanwhile, was without infielder Eric Hinske, who served his one-game suspension stemming from a brawl with the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 11.
Hinske was given a five-game ban that he planned to appeal, but served the suspension after it was reduced to a single game. He will be available to return to action tonight.
The Nationals won four of six against the Diamondbacks a season ago.