After scoring at a remarkable rate for a week, the St. Louis
Cardinals suddenly fell silent in their last game.
They hope an unexpected day off can help them against a pitcher
that has routinely given them problems.
The Cardinals try to bounce back against John Lannan in the
first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Washington
Nationals on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s series opener between the teams was postponed after
heavy storms passed through the St. Louis area, causing tornado
sirens to sound.
This will be the second doubleheader in four days for the
Nationals, coming off a sweep of the Brewers at home on Sunday.
“Nobody likes playing a day-night doubleheader, but you’ve got
to do it,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.
La Russa’s Cardinals got off to a sluggish start this season,
averaging 2.6 runs while batting .216 in losing six of their first
eight. The offense suddenly awoke, averaging 9.4 runs and hitting
.376 as St. Louis won six of the next seven.
That surge ended Sunday, when St. Louis (8-8) managed a
season-low four hits in having its four-game win streak snapped
with a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles. Matt Holliday scored the lone run
and hit .563 with five doubles, five RBIs and five runs in the
“It is a tough loss, but any time we win a series, it is a good
thing,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Albert Pujols was hitless in four at-bats Sunday after batting
.435 with three homers and six RBIs in his previous five games, and
he may also have trouble at the plate Tuesday.
The three-time NL MVP is batting .182 with no extra-base hits in
11 at-bats against Lannan (1-1, 3.38 ERA).
Lannan has a career ERA of 4.08 but has posted a 2.36 ERA in
five starts against St. Louis, surrendering two runs or fewer each
time. The left-hander has been backed by seven runs in those games,
however, leaving him with a 1-2 record.
The Cardinals are hitting .220 and Pujols is 2 for 12 against
left-handers this season.
Lannan gave up three runs and six hits in six innings in
Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Philadelphia, and he’s yielded three runs
or fewer in each of his three starts.
The Nationals split their six games against the Cardinals in
2010 after going 2-11 over the previous two seasons.
Washington (8-7) arrives in St. Louis after taking all three
games from Milwaukee.
The Nationals had 11 hits in each game Sunday, winning 8-4 and
5-1. They finished with five homers in the doubleheader after
hitting two in their previous five contests.
“It was great to get this sweep,” said leadoff hitter Danny
Espinosa, who had six RBIs in the doubleheader. “After we got the
first game, we knew in here, we were talking, ‘We need to get that
sweep. We need this game.’ And we went out there and played
Although the offense got on track, Jayson Werth is still off to
a slow start with his new team, batting .143 with a solo homer in
his last seven games.
Werth could get going at Busch Stadium, where he is hitting .364
with two homers and seven RBIs in his last six games. He has a
homer and double in his only two at-bats against scheduled game one
starter Jake Westbrook (1-1, 7.63).
Westbrook had a another shaky performance Wednesday against
Arizona, allowing five runs – two earned – and a season-high nine
hits in 5 1-3 innings but was bailed out in a 15-5 win.
In two starts against the Nationals, the right-hander is 1-1
with a 3.14 ERA.
Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 2.45) will take the mound for Washington
in the nightcap.
Zimmermann gave up four runs – one earned – and five hits in
seven innings of a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 9.31 ERA in two starts against
the Cardinals. He faced them once last season, allowing five runs
and seven hits in four innings of a 11-10, 13-inning win Aug.
Pujols is 4 for 5 with two homers and a double against
Unbeaten Jaime Garcia (2-0, 1.35) will oppose Zimmermann.
Garcia posted a 0.60 ERA through his first two outings. He
wasn’t as sharp Thursday, but still picked up the victory after
allowing three runs and eight hits in five innings of a 9-5 win
over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The left-hander’s only career start against Washington was a 4-2
road win Aug. 27, when he pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings,
scattering eight hits and four walks while striking out seven.