St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals (-107, 7.5)
Series tied at 1-1
The Washington Nationals are about to host the city’s first playoff game since 1933 when they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. Once that novelty wears off, they will get back to the business of trying to win a series.
The Nationals squandered a chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series when Jordan Zimmermann struggled in Game 2. Now it is the Cardinals with some momentum and a red-hot Carlos Beltran.
Beltran homered twice in Game 2, boosting his career postseason slugging percentage to higher than .800 and setting the Cardinals on a familiar path. St. Louis dropped the opener of both the NLDS and the NL Championship Series last year before recovering to advance and eventually win the World Series. Washington is full of players making their first postseason appearance but one of the few veterans - Edwin Jackson - gets the start in Game 3.
Jackson was with the Cardinals last October and made four postseason starts. This time, he will be going up against a lineup that pounded out four home runs in Game 2 and led the majors in on-base percentage during the regular season. Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay all had success in Game 2 and Matt Holliday has yet to break out.
TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, MLBN
WEATHER: The forecast is calling for partialy cloudly skies and temperatures in the mid 60s. Winds are expected to blow SW at 8 mph.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03)
Last year’s playoff hero, Carpenter missed the majority of the season after undergoing surgery and has made only three starts in 2012. The veteran right-hander, who accelerated his rehab in order to come back and help the team in the playoffs, did not allow more than three earned runs in any of those three turns and has recorded 12 strikeouts against three walks in 17 total innings. Carpenter is 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 career postseason starts and has been strong in the past against Washington, posting a 6-1 record with a 3.27 ERA in 12 turns.
Jackson struggled with his consistency down the stretch, allowing one run in three of his final seven starts and a total of 23 (21 earned) in the other four. That inconsistency was at its most apparent against St. Louis. The right-hander struck out eight and did not allow and earned run over eight innings in a win over the Cardinals on Aug. 30 but was pounded for nine runs (eight earned) in only 1 1/3 innings at St. Louis on Sept. 28. Jackson has been better at Nationals Park this season, going 6-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts.
* Over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Washington.
* Over is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings.
* Under is 5-2 in Carpenter's last seven starts vs. Nationals.
* Cardinals are 1-8 in the last nine meetings in Washington.
UMP TRENDS - Joe West:
* Road team is 10-1 in Wests last 11 Wednesday games behind home plate.
* Road team is 4-1 in Wests last five games behind home plate.
* Over is 3-1-1 in Wests last five games behind home plate vs. Washington.
* Over is 19-7 in Wests last 26 games behind home plate vs. St. Louis.
* Home team is 15-7 in Wests last 22 games behind home plate vs. Washington.
* Nationals are 5-14 in their last 19 games with West behind home plate.
1. Nationals rookie CF Bryce Harper is 1-for-10 with a double and six strikeouts through the first two games.
2. After failing to record an extra-base hit in Sunday’s opener, the teams combined for 11 in Game 2. St. Louis accounted for eight, including four homers and a triple.
3. Washington has committed four errors in the series while St. Louis has only been charged with one. Of course, the Cardinals’ error led to the deciding runs in the Nationals’ 3-2 victory in Game 1.