MLB Playoff Picks: Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

The Washington Nationals (1-0) and St. Louis Cardinals (0-1) will face off in Game 2 of their National League Division Series on Monday afternoon inside Busch Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:37 ET on TBS

Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals SP Jaime Garcia loves throwing the baseball at Busch Stadium

Washington earned a seemingly improbable 3-2 come-from-behind win against St. Louis in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon, with rookie Tyler Moore supplying the big hit in the eighth inning.  “It’s pretty unbelievable,” commented Moore after the game.  The Nationals won four of seven regular-season meetings this year, but dropped two of three inside this ballpark.  Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth and Michael Morse will need to lead the offense in this affair, as they’ve combined to go 16 for 40 (.400) against this afternoon’s opposing starter.  Washington is 22-8 in its last 30 games against NL Central clubs.

Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman (12-8, 2.94 ERA) led the club to five consecutive victories to end the year, including a no-decision effort in a 6-4 road win over the Cardinals last time out.  The right-hander is 7-5 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 road starts this year, issuing 21 walks and striking out 82 batters in 99 frames.  In five career outings against St. Louis, Zimmerman has tallied an 0-2 record and 9.12 ERA, with opposing hitters batting .345 against him.

St. Louis has placed itself in a position that it needs to win three of the next four series in order to advance past this best-of-five series, as the offense was unable to cash in on numerous opportunities.  “We had an opportunity to win this one and it didn’t happen,” commented Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran.  The defending World Series champions are capable of bouncing back, considering they finished with an NL-best 12-4 record to close the regular season.  St. Louis is 6-2 at home versus right-handed starters.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA) won his final three starts, including a 4-2 home victory over the Cincinnati Reds in his last effort, allowing two runs and six hits over 6.2 frames.  The left-hander is 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA in nine home games, while not allowing a home run in 60.2 combined innings.  In four career outings versus the Nationals, Garcia has garnered a 2-1 record and 3.74 ERA, but was handed an 8-1 road loss on Aug. 30.

Sports bettors will likely back the Cardinals due to their 13-5 home record with Garcia on the mound against winning teams, while the Nationals are 1-4 in Zimmerman’s last five starts on eight or more days rest.

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