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WSH@NYM: Zimmermann tosses six frames of one-run ball

Saturday night at Miller Park, the Nationals will send perhaps their best pitcher to the mound in Jordan Zimmermann -- in his home state of Wisconsin, no less. As the Nats' workhorse and arguably their most consistent starter, Zimmermann leads the Major Leagues in quality starts with 18. The Auburndale, Wisc., native has also thrown at least six innings in each of his 20 outings this season.

In his start on Monday, Zimmermann pitched six innings of one-run, four-hit ball in a no-decision as the Nationals beat the Mets, 8-2.

"Every time you have a good start, you feel good," Zimmermann said. "I mean, you always want to carry it over to the next start, and I have a pretty good streak going right now. Everything's been working, so hopefully it continues."

From the opposite dugout, the Brewers will start Randy Wolf. Wolf has the highest ERA (5.46) among the Brewers' starters, and in the third game of a four-game series against the Nationals, he will be without his regular catcher, George Kottaras. On Thursday, Kottaras was designated for assignment to make room for the Brewers' starting catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, who returned from a two-month stint on the disabled list with a broken bone in his right hand.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has said Martin Maldonado will handle Wolf's start.

"It comes down to the way he's playing," Roenicke said. "I think it would be really tough to send down 'Maldy.' He's great defensively. The offensive stuff, he's done outstanding."

The contrasting pictures of stability also mirror the two team's differences in the National League standings. While the Nationals hold a four-game lead in the NL East, the Brewers are 14 games back in the NL Central.

Nationals: After day off, Flores returns to lineup
Between the constant physical toll he has absorbed behind the plate and his offensive struggles, Jesus Flores was due for a day off. But after manager Davey Johnson held his everyday catcher out of the lineup in Friday's 6-0 loss to the Brewers, Flores will be back in action on Saturday.

Flores is batting .228 with a .597 OPS on the season, and in 15 games in July, he is batting .149 (7-for-47).

Brewers: Roenicke dealing with aftermath of Greinke trade
The Brewers have found themselves at the heart of Trade Deadline talk, though much of that pressure was alleviated once they traded their ace, Zack Greinke, to the Angels on Friday for three prospects.

After seven seasons with the Royals, Greinke spent parts of two with the Brewers, notching a 25-9 record and a 3.67 ERA.

"It can't be on my mind because I can't do my job right if I'm always thinking about that," Roenicke said of the trade buzz surrounding his team. "I know you have to plan for things. But I think I'm more concerned with just planning for today."

Worth noting
• Zimmermann will start in Miller Park for the first time in his career on Saturday.

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