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St. Louis Cardinals (10-7) at Washington Nationals (10-7)
Saturday, April 19 - 1:05 PM EST
Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
One day after the Washington Nationals’ defense came under fire in a series-opening defeat, the St. Louis Cardinals contributed to their own demise against a team they have dominated in recent years. The Nationals, who continue their four-game home set against the Cardinals on Saturday, raised their major league-high error total to 20 with three during Thursday’s 8-0 setback. St. Louis returned the favor with three miscues and a wild pitch that plated the go-ahead run in Friday’s 3-1 loss.
“(The Cardinals) have been so good because they do things right. We happen to take advantage of one tonight,” Washington manager Matt Williams told the team’s official website Friday. As a result, the Nationals halted an eight-game losing streak to St. Louis that dated back to the final game of the 2012 National League Division Series. Getting another victory could be difficult for Washington as the Cardinals will turn to Lance Lynn, who has been backed by six runs per game and won each of his first three starts.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), WUSA 9 (Washington), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (3-0, 4.00 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 5.27)
Lynn adjusted his pregame routine in order to start the game more “tired” and the results were immediate as he allowed three hits and fanned 11 over seven frames in Monday’s 4-0 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2012 All-Star, who told MLB.com after the start he has a tendency to be “over-amped” early in games, had given up six of the eight runs he had allowed in the first inning over his first two outings. Lynn won his only career start versus the Nationals in 2012, but is 1-1 with a 9.82 ERA in three all-time regular-season appearances against them.
After getting pounded for five runs in a career-low 1 2/3 innings in his previous start at home against Miami on April 9, Zimmermann rebounded with a seven-inning outing on Wednesday in a 9-2 victory over the Marlins on the road. The 27-year-old Wisconsin native allowed two runs on six hits while striking out seven and also contributed at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Zimmermann has enjoyed little success against the Cardinals in six career regular-season turns, however, going 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA.
1. St. Louis has won 11 of the last 14 meetings, including the five games during the 2012 NLDS.
2. In the 155 innings the Nationals have played this season, they have held the lead after only 57.
3. Cardinals C Yadier Molina (8-for-16) and CF Jon Jay (6-for-14) have each tormented Zimmermann.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 6, Nationals 4