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Nats-Cardinals Preview Capsule

10:18 PM, Oct 6, 2012   |    comments
Can the Nationals play up to their regular season standard? (US Presswire)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A look at the best-of-five National League division series between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals: 

Schedule:

(All times EDT) Game 1, Sunday, at St. Louis (3:07 p.m.); Game 2, Monday, at St. Louis (4:37 p.m.); Game 3, Wednesday, at Washington (TBA); x-Game 4, Thursday, at Washington (TBA); x-Game 5, Friday, at Washington (TBA). (All games on TBS or MLB Network).

x-if necessary.

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Season Series:

Nationals won 4-3.

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Projected Lineups:

Nationals: RF Jayson Werth (.300, 5 HRs, 31 RBIs), CF Bryce Harper (.270, 22, 59, 9 triples, 98 runs), 3B Ryan Zimmerman (.282, 25, 95), 1B Adam LaRoche (.271, 33, 100), LF Michael Morse (.291, 18, 62), SS Ian Desmond (.292, 25, 73, 21 steals), 2B Danny Espinosa (.247, 17, 56, 37 doubles), C Kurt Suzuki (.235, 6, 43 with Athletics and Nationals).

Cardinals: CF Jon Jay (.305, 4, 40, 18 SBs, .373 OBP), RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32, 97), LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27, 102), 1B Allen Craig (.307, 22, 92), 3B David Freese (.293, 20, 79), C Yadier Molina (.315, 22, 76), 2B Daniel Descalso (.227, 4, 26), SS Pete Kozma (.333, 2, 14).

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Projected Rotations:

Nationals: LH Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA, 207 Ks, 199 1-3 IP), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 2.94), RHP Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03), LHP Ross Detwiler (10-8, 3.40).

Cardinals: RH Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94), RH Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71 in 3 starts after shoulder surgery), RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86), RH Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78) or LH Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 in 20 starts).

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Relievers:

Nationals: RH Drew Storen (3-1, 2.37, 4 saves, 37 IP), RH Tyler Clippard (2-6, 3.72, 32/36 saves, 84 Ks, 72 2-3 IP), RH Craig Stammen (6-1, 2.34, 1 save, 87 Ks, 88 1-3 IP), LH Sean Burnett (1-2, 2.38, 2 saves, 57 Ks, 56 2-3 IP), RH Ryan Mattheus (5-3, 2.85, 66 1-3 IP), LH Michael Gonzalez (0-0, 3.03, 39 Ks, 35 2-3 IP).

Cardinals: RH Jason Motte (4-5, 2.75, 42/49 saves, 86K, 71 1-3 IP), RH Mitchell Boggs (4-1, 2.21, 78 games), RH Edward Mujica (0-3, 3.03), RH Fernando Salas (1-4, 4.30), RH Joe Kelly (5-7, 3.53), LH Marc Rzepczynski (1-3, 4.27), RH Trevor Rosenthal (0-2, 2.78).

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Matchups:

The Nationals took three of four at home against the Cardinals from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, but St. Louis outscored visiting Washington 26-12 during a three-game set Sept. 28-30. ... Jackson won the World Series with the Cardinals last season; he's the only member of Washington's starting rotation with even a single game of postseason experience - and none of the Nationals' top five relievers have been to the playoffs, either. Not much different in the everyday lineup, where only two regulars (Werth, LaRoche) have been to the postseason. So give the Cardinals a big edge in experience. ... Because the Cardinals are much better against lefties than righties, Jackson is expected to get the Game 3 start, with Detwiler in a possible Game 4. ... Led by LaRoche, six of Washington's eight everyday players hit at least 17 homers - and Werth certainly has that kind of power, too. He missed nearly three months with a broken left wrist. The club finished second in the NL with 194 homers. ... Nationals team ERA of 3.33 led the NL and was second in the majors. ... Washington was 48-33 on the road, the best mark in baseball. ... The defending World Series champion Cardinals persevered through injuries to Carpenter and 1B Lance Berkman under rookie manager Mike Matheny, and are in the postseason for the third time in four seasons. ... Moving on after the departure of Albert Pujols in free agency, the Cardinals have one of the league's most dangerous lineups with five 20-homer players for the first time in franchise history. The pitching staff was even better. Lohse had a career year heading into free agency, Lynn was an All-Star during his first year in the rotation and Wainwright had a strong year after missing 2011 due to reconstructive elbow surgery. In the bullpen, Motte tied for the league lead with 42 saves. He was the first closer in franchise history to get all of the team's saves.

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