Nats Game Night – 7:05 p.m. vs. St. Louis

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Beanballs,Sports,Brian McNally

Nationals (78-51) vs. Cardinals (71-59)

Game » 130

Starters » Edwin Jackson (7-9, 3.72 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (3-5, 4.15 ERA)

When » Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Where » Nationals Park, Washington

TV » MASN HD

Radio » 106.7 The Fan FM, WFED 1500, WHFS 1580

Time for the next latest big series of the season. Last we saw the Nationals in the District they were taking 2-of-3 from NL East rival Atlanta. Despite a five-game losing streak on the recent road trip to Philadelphia and Miami that first-place lead was only trimmed from six games to five Not ideal, but they’ll take it.

This four-game series against St. Louis will be a challenge. The Cardinals own the second and final NL wild-card berth. They had won 9 of 13 games until falling twice in Pittsburgh this week. They are eight games behind Washington in the overall NL standings, but the two teams play seven times between now and the end of the season.

No NL team has scored more runs than St. Louis (632) despite the loss of star slugger Albert Pujols last winter. They also lead the league in team OPS (.770). Six starter are batting .300 or better and that doesn’t include Carlos Beltran, who has a team-high 28 home runs and ranks second in RBI (85).

“Definitely a great offensive ballclub,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said. He later added that “I like the fact that we’re playing a good ballclub right out of the chute. I like the fact that we’re home.”

The Nats snapped a five-game losing streak with an 8-4 win at Miami on Wednesday night. A bit of panic was starting to creep in amongst the fanbase as the Braves chipped into that NL East lead. But that was a necessary win for a team whose flight didn’t arrive home until the wee hours Thursday morning. It was just one win, but a victory like that can go a long way for a team trying to find its footing. But that has to continue against a club that leads the majors with a +113 run differential.

“Nobody knows how this is going to end up so if we run into some adversity late in the season that’s something we can draw back on,” Washington reliever Drew Storen said of his team’s losing streak. “And who is to say – we haven’t necessarily turned it all the way around. We’re playing a really good team here for the next four days and they’re going to grind it out, they’re going to play the game hard and do the right things. But if we keep it going from last night we’ll be right where we need to be.”

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Cardinals

CF – John Jay

RF – Carlos Beltran

LF – Matt Holliday

1B – Allen Craig

C – Yadier Molina

3B – David Freese

2B – Skip Schumaker

SS – Rafael Furcal

LHP – Jamie Garcia

 

Nats

RF – Jayson Werth

CF – Bryce Harper

3B – Ryan Zimmerman

LF – Michael Morse

1B – Adam LaRoche

SS – Ian Desmond

2B – Danny Espinosa

C – Jesus Flores

RHP – Edwin Jackson

Follow me on Twitter @bmcnally14

 

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Author:

Brian McNally

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner