Although it's been strange for him to be back at Nationals Park, Detroit Tigers ace Jordan Zimmermann is extremely jacked up to face his old club.
Former teammate Max Scherzer remains focused on keeping opponents in the park.
In a matchup of All-Star right-handers, Zimmerman will try to help Detroit take two of three in this series against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Zimmermann (5-1, 1.10 ERA) went 70-50 with a 3.32 ERA over his first seven seasons with the Nationals. He had a career-high 19 victories in 2013 and tossed a no-hitter against Miami on Sept. 28, 2014 before pitching well that postseason.
Though he wanted to remain with the Nationals after 2015, Zimmermann couldn't agree to terms and opted to sign a five-year, $110 million deal with Detroit (15-17). It was the largest contract for a Tommy John surgery recipient before Washington (20-13) inked Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million extension Monday.
The 27-year-old has lived up to the deal as he ranks among the major league leaders in victories and ERA. After winning his first five starts, he suffered a tough-luck loss to Texas on Friday when he allowed three runs over eight innings of a 5-1 defeat.
Zimmermann, 3-0 with an 0.47 ERA in three road starts, looks to continue that success in his return to Washington. He's also trying to help the Tigers win back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game run April 27-May 1.
Victor Martinez had four hits and Nick Castellanos homered for the second straight night Tuesday as the Tigers ended a seven-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory.
"Yeah, I can't wait," Zimmerman told the league's official website about going up against his old friend. "It's going to be fun and we'll see what happens. I'm pretty sure I'll be amped up and try to calm those emotions, go out there and pitch my game."
Scherzer (3-2, 4.60) teamed with Zimmermann and Justin Verlander to give the Tigers an impressive rotation from 2010-14 when he went 82-35 with a 3.52 ERA. On January 21, 2015, Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals.
After posting a career-best 2.79 ERA and throwing two no-hitters last season, the 31-year-old has a career-worst 4.60 mark and nine home runs allowed. He gave up season highs of seven runs, seven hits and four homers in Friday's 8-6 road loss to the Chicago Cubs.
"Obviously, I'm catching a little too much plate, but at the same time, maybe I was a little too predictable in what I was doing," he said. "That's something for me to just chew on for the next four days and try to come back out here and compete and do what I do."
Washington's Jayson Werth is 2 for 5 with a home run against Zimmermann, while Daniel Murphy is hitting .328 with four homers and five doubles in the matchup.
Murphy has a major league-leading .398 average after picking up two more hits Tuesday, while Wilson Ramos is 14 for 29 with three doubles in his last eight games. Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs after going 2 for 23 over his previous five.
MLB is still reviewing Bryce Harper's confrontation with an umpire in Monday's series-opening 5-4 victory to decide whether the Nationals star should be disciplined.