The Washington Times - May 6, 2011, 06:38AM

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Nationals couldn’t get out of Philadelphia fast enough after a three-game sweep that featured both a bit of a regression to the mean for the Nationals’ starting pitching — which had been superb, for the most part, through the season’s first five weeks — as well as the continuation of the offensive funk that has plagued Washington all year.

The Florida Marlins await and while they don’t dominate the Nationals in the same overwhelming way the Phillies have the past few years, the Marlins pitching doesn’t offer much in the way of an easy game.

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First up for the Marlins is right-hander Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher the Nationals missed on their first trip to Florida this season. Nolasco, like several of the Marlins’ starters, is having a strong start to the season at 3-0 with a 3.35 ERA.

The Nationals will counter with Jordan Zimmermann, who also missed the Marlins the last time through. Zimmermann, who is 2-4 with a 4.29 ERA this season, and has held the Marlins to a .218 batting average in his three career starts against them.

Here’s a look at how the Nationals’ hitters have done in the past against Nolasco:

Danny Espinosa: Never faced

Ian Desmond: 2-for-6 (.333), 1 2B, .429 OBP, 2 K

Jayson Werth: 3-for-13 (.231), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, .286 OBP, 6 K

Adam LaRoche: 11-for-35 (.314), 3 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, .333 OBP, 8 K

Wilson Ramos: Never faced

Michael Morse: 0-for-3, 2 K

Jerry Hairston Jr: 4-for-11 (.364), 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, .364 OBP, 2 K

Alex Cora: 5-for-11 (.455), 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, .538 OBP, 1 K

Jordan Zimmermann: Never faced

Others:

Ivan Rodriguez: 3-for-9 (.333), 2 K

Laynce Nix: 3-for-7 (.429), 2 RBI, 1 BB, .500 OBP, 1 K

Rick Ankiel: 1-for-6 (.167), 2 K

Brian Bixler: 0-for-2, 2 K

Matt Stairs: 0-for-1