After three games of their NL Divisional playoff series the St. Louis Cardinals experience holds the upper hand on the Washington Nationals. In the first MLB post season game played in Washington since 1933 the Cardinals defeated the Nationals 8-0.
From the first inning to the last St. Louis was in complete control. In a game which pitted two question marks on the mound it was the Cardinals Chris Carpenter who was able to shut down the Nationals while Edwin Jackson struggled.
Jackson has been a notoriously slow starter in 2012 and Wednesday was no exception. In the first inning he gave up a two out single to Matt Holliday. Allen Craig followed with a double to score Holliday and Washington trailed 1-0.
In the second, Jackson gave up a three run homer to Pete Kozma. After that he threw three scoreless innings and left after five down 4-0.
Meanwhile the Nationals offense could not put together a rally. Carpenter, who had only pitched 17 innings going into the 2012 MLB playoffs, showed why he is one of the best in October. He was not overpowering, but efficient. When Washington loaded the bases in the fifth Carpenter got Michael Morse to fly out. It was the Nationals only real threat.
St. Louis added a run each in the sixth and seventh then two in the eighth to make the score 8-0.
Analyzing this game is simple. The Cardinals experience won out over Washington’s youth. St. Louis definitely looked like the defending world’s champions as they out hit, out fielded and out pitched the Nationals. It was not a dominant performance just major league. The Cardinals got the lead early, added to it and got one out at a time on defense.
Now, Washington finds itself one game away from playoff elimination and the end to a magical season. They will have to beat St. Louis twice in order to save their season. It won’t be easy. Ross Detwiler will go to the mound for the Nationals on Thursday. If he can get a win then Washington can bring ace Gio Gonzalez back for game five on Friday.
If things continue as they are there will be no game five. The Nationals have really been outplayed in every game. The 3-2 win on Sunday was more a product of St. Louis missed opportunities than anything Washington did. If not for a two run, eighth inning single in that game by Tyler Moore the Nationals would be victims of a three game sweep.
However, tomorrow is another day. St. Louis and Washington will meet on Thursday for game four. When the umpire says, ‘Play ball,’ the score will be 0-0. Washington has faced adversity many times this season and come through.
In game four they will have to use all of their powers or the experienced, world’s champion Cardinals will move on to the NL Championship Series.