The Washington Nationals got what they wanted in games one and two of the NL Divisional Series. Despite their 12-4 game two loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, Washington was able to get a split and return home with the series tied at one game apiece, after winning game one 3-2 Sunday.
The Nationals would like to have won game two. In the post season, every victory gets you one step closer to winning a series. However, Washington has always had a hard time winning in St. Louis. Getting one win there is all the team could have really hoped for.
The Nationals were never really in Monday’s game. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman gave up four runs in the bottom of the second and Washington fell behind 4-1. The Cardinals built a 7-1 lead before fifth inning home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche cut it to 7-3, but four runs were as close as the Nationals got. A seventh inning rally was all but ended when St. Louis second baseman Daniel Discalso picked up an errant throw and threw out Bryce Harper at third for the second out of the inning.
The final score Monday is indicative of what St. Louis has done in their three home victories over Washington this season. Two weeks ago they defeated the Nationals 12-2 and 10-4; with yesterday’s 12 runs, the Cardinals have scored 34 runs in three home victories over the Nationals – in their two losses, St. Louis scored six.
Despite the 40 runs that the Cardinals scored against Washington, they’ve only won three out of five at home. The good thing about sports is it does not matter what you score cumulatively – it is only the point total for the game you are playing that matters. The Nationals could have been beaten 100-1 on Monday and still returned tied with St. Louis at one game apiece.
Now Washington has to win game three at Nats Park on Wednesday, with Edwin Jackson getting the start for the Nationals. He was hammered in his last outing against the Cardinals lasting only one-and-a-third innings and giving up eight earned runs on six hits. Jackson walked four. This was the 12-2 St. Louis victory on Friday September 28.
The Nationals have a record of 50-31 at home, while the Cardinals are 38-43 on the road. This puts the odds in Washington’s favor to win two out of three for a series victory. However, the Nationals regular season victories and Cardinal defeats mean nothing. It is a three game series now and the score when the umpire says, ‘Play ball,’ will be 0-0.
This is okay with Washington. The goal was to get a split in St. Louis and they got it.
Now it is time to win a three game series at home.