The Washington Nationals are in survival mode going into game four of their 2012 NL Divisional Playoff Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Washington has lost games two and three by scores of 12-4 and 8-0. They trail St. Louis 2-1 in the best of five series.
Thursday afternoon’s game will take place at Nationals Park. It will pit left-hander Ross Detwiler of the Nationals against Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m.
Detwiler is 0-1 against St. Louis this season. He got the decision in a 10-4 road loss on September 30, but Detwiler only lasted 2 1/3 innings that day. He gave up seven runs, but only three were earned. The Cardinals got four hits off of him and drew five walks. St. Louis scored five in the second and two in the third. The big blow was a two run homer by Carlos Beltran.
Lohse faced Washington twice. He did not do very well in the first game. On September 1 the Nationals got to him for eight runs on nine hits. Five of the runs were earned. Lohse went 5 2/3 innings giving up home runs to Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa. He did not figure in the decision as St. Louis won 10-9.
In his second start against Washington, Lohse was much better. He went six innings as the Cardinals lost 6-4 on September 29. He gave up four earned runs on eight hits and walked one. All of the runs came on a first inning grand slam by Nationals outfielder Michael Morse. St. Louis came back to tie the score in the ninth and Lohse did not figure in the decision again.
Based on the pitching performances of Detwiler and Lohse the Cardinals should go into game four as a favorite. Detwiler was not on his game in St. Louis and his defense did not help. Washington has been outscored 20-4 in the last two playoff games. If Detwiler pitches as he did two weeks ago and Lohse is the pitcher who threw the last 5 1/3 of that September 29 game the series could end in four games.
After games two and three there is no reason to believe that the Nationals can come back and win this series. They have been out played in every game. If not for a two run, pinch hit single by Tyler Moore in game one the series would be over.
However, the Nationals are at home. They won 50 games there this season. If the team can just hang around and not let St. Louis jump on them like they did in games two and three Washington has a chance.
The score will be 0-0 when they take the field. Though the Cardinals will be sending their ace to the mound, Washington has nine innings to tie the series.
Somehow the team that won 98 games needs to show up by 4:07 p.m.
If not the 2012 MLB playoffs and a magical season will be over for them.