National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, September 1st
(All times Eastern)
St. Louis Cardinals (71-61) at Washington Nationals (80-51), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: St. Louis - Kyle Lohse (14-2, 2.64)
Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (9-8, 2.63)
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals' offense has struggled mightily
over a four-game losing streak. The pressure will be on starter Kyle Lohse to
maintain his consistency and get his club back on track this afternoon in the
third meeting of a four-game set with the Washington Nationals.
Lohse has been one of the best pitchers in the NL this season, going 14-2 with
a 2.64 earned run average in 27 starts. Only a rain delay prevented him from
logging at least six innings for a 16th start in a row on Monday at the
Pittsburgh Pirates, but he still won his second straight start and eighth
decision in a row.
The righty yielded two runs on five hits without a walk in five innings.
Lohse, 33, is 4-2 with a 4.90 ERA in 12 career meetings (10 starts) with the
Nationals, who have put their own recent woes behind them while extending the
Washington followed up Thursday's 8-1 series-opening win with Friday's 10-0
triumph as Gio Gonzalez tossed his first career shutout to win his career-high
17th game of the season.
Gonzalez scattered five hits and three walks while striking out eight for the
Nats, who have scored 26 runs over a three-game win streak that comes on the
heels of five straight losses. That has helped Washington push its edge over
the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East to 6 1/2 games.
"I was just trying to do my best to try to minimize the damage as much as
possible, but our defense made some great plays," Gonzalez said. "The offense
came alive, 10 runs is a pretty good cushion."
Jayson Werth reached base five times on Friday, going 3-for-3 with two walks,
three runs scored and one RBI. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each had two
hits and drove in a pair of runs.
St. Louis, meanwhile, was shut out for the third time on a four-game slide and
has been outscored 32-1 over that time. The Cards have fallen 9 1/2 games back
of the Cincinnati Reds for first place in the NL Central and lead the Pirates
by only a half-game for the second wild card in the league.
Adam Wainwright surrendered six runs on nine hits and walked three in 2 2/3
innings for the loss, while Jon Jay had two of St. Louis' five hits.
"Definitely a loss you can pin on my shoulders, no doubt," Wainwright
admitted. "I was focused, I had a good plan, I just didn't execute."
The Cards played Friday's game without shortstop Rafael Furcal, who landed on
the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day with a right elbow strain.
Taking the hill for the Nats will be Jordan Zimmermann, who tries to avoid a
fourth straight start without a win. He is 0-2 over his skid with a 5.17 ERA
following a string of six straight winning decisions.
Zimmermann, 26, lost at the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, and was charged
with three runs on five hits and three walks over five innings. He fell to 9-8
with a 2.63 ERA over a career high-tying 26 starts this season.
"I wanted to go as deep as I could," Zimmermann remarked. "The first four
(innings) were a breeze, then I hit a wall and made a couple of bad pitches."
The righty is 0-2 with an 8.62 ERA in three lifetime meetings with the
Washington was 4-2 versus St. Louis last season.
09/01 10:23:23 ET