The St. Louis Cardinals (71-60) and Washington Nationals (79-51) will continue an important four-game National League series on Friday night at Nationals Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET
St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals
St. Louis needs its offense to start producing if it has plans of reaching the 2012 MLB playoffs, as the club has dropped three consecutive games due to scoring just one combined run in that span. The Cardinals have been one of the higher-scoring teams in baseball entering this recent stretch, averaging 4.92 runs per game. Outfielder Matt Holliday will need to increase his already high production at the plate, batting .424 over his last nine meetings in this particular series. St. Louis is 9-15 versus NL East opponents, with the “over” going 13-10 in those contests.
Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (13-10, 3.63 ERA) has won his last five contests, including an 8-2 road win over the Cincinnati Reds, allowing two runs and six hits over 5.2 frames. The right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 road outings, issuing 15 walks and striking out 59 batters in 68.1 frames. In six career efforts versus the Nationals, Wainwright has tallied a 3-2 record and 2.83 ERA, surrendering just three home runs in 41.1 innings.
Washington picked up an 8-1 series-opening victory on Thursday night, with the team getting great production out of outfielder Jayson Werth, who is batting .337 with a home run and 10 RBIs since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 2. “I’ve been swinging the bat well,” commented Werth. The Nationals have now built a 5.5-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East standings. Washington is 17-12 at home when the total is 7 or less.
Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (16-7, 3.28 ERA) suffered a 4-2 setback on the road to the Philadelphia Phillies in his last outing, giving up three runs and five hits over six frames. The left-hander is 6-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 11 home outings, with opposing hitters batting .221. Gonzalez will be facing the Cardinals for the first time in his career.
Sports bettors will likely back the Nationals due to their 7-0 record in Gonzalez’s last seven starts versus NL Central foes, while the Cardinals are 0-4 in Wainwright’s last four starts as a road underdog.
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