Washington Nationals: NL Divisional Series Game Two Preview

By Timothy Holland

Game two of the 2012 NL Divisional Series between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals will be played Monday afternoon at 4:37 p.m. Busch Stadium in St. Louis will be the venue. Washington goes into the contest up one game to none after beating the Cardinals 3-2 Sunday afternoon. The Nationals will send right hander Jordan Zimmerman to the mound to face Jaime Garcia.

Zimmerman is in the midst of his first full season since coming back from Tommy John surgery performed on his right elbow in 2009. He was given a 160 innings pitch count in 2011 similar to that of Stephen Strasburg this season which has raised much controversy. Zimmerman finished the 2012 season with a record of 12-8. His earned run average was 2.94. He entered the post season as Washington’s number two starter behind lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Zimmerman faced the Cardinals twice this season. In his first encounter on September 1 he gave up eight runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. St. Louis got home runs from Matt Holliday and David Freese. The Nationals rallied with three runs in the sixth to take a 9-8 lead and give Zimmerman a no decision. Washington could not hold on and lost 10-9

On September 29 Zimmerman pitched six scoreless innings in St. Louis. He ran into trouble giving up three runs in the seventh before being replaced by Sean Burnett. The Nationals led 4-3, but could not hold on and Zimmerman got another no decision. Washington went on to win in 10 innings 6-4.

Garcia finished the regular season with a 7-7 record. His ERA was 3.92. He started against the Nationals once in 2012. Garcia gave up eight runs in 5 1/3 innings on August 30 at Washington. Among the nine hits he allowed were home runs to Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper. The Nationals defeated St. Louis 8-1.

Garcia started three post season games for the Cardinals in 2011. He went 0-2 with two no decisions. The first loss was against the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. The second came against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Championship Series. Both no decisions came in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

Garcia has a post season ERA of 4.21. In the World Series it was 1.80 as he threw 10 innings giving up eight hits and two runs.

The Nationals are in a good position going into game two. Having won Sunday Washington knows that they are guaranteed a split and have gained home field advantage.

If they can win game two, the Nationals will be in complete control of the series.

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