Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. -- LHP John Lannan (1-1, 3.38) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (1-1, 7.63)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM
Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. -- RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 2.45) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (2-0, 1.35)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM
Thursday, 1:45 p.m. -- LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-1, 5.68) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (2-1, 2.82)
TV: MASN Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WHFS-1580 AM
After a sluggish start to the season, St. Louis has won four of five to get back to .500 entering this series. But all is not rosy in the Gateway City. Closer Ryan Franklin has blown four of his five save opportunities to date, including Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, and now manager Tony La Russa is considering a change. Whether La Russa goes with right-hander Mitchell Boggs or a closer-by-committee remains to be seen.
Offensively, the Cardinals struggled during the season's first week. But the return of Matt Holliday from an emergency appendectomy has re-energized the lineup. Holliday is hitting .441 with nine RBI and a 1.235 OPS in his first nine games. Veteran Lance Berkman (six homers in 14 games) has also proven a welcome addition.
The rotation was a question mark coming into the season, with co-ace Adam Wainwright sidelined for all of 2011 after Tommy John surgery. But Chris Carpenter and Co. have held down the fort, and Kyle McClellan (2-0, 1.89 ERA) has been fantastic as Wainwright's replacement.
And then, of course, there's Albert Pujols. The best player in baseball (and pending free agent) has been in the spotlight all spring, both for his inability to come to terms with St. Louis on a contract extension and for his uncharacteristically tepid start. Through his first nine games, Pujols was hitting .143, but he's hit .344 in seven games since.
WASHINGTON BATTERS VS. ST. LOUIS PITCHERS
Nats' best vs. Westbrook -- Jayson Werth (2-for-2, 2B, HR, RBI), Laynce Nix (3-for-6, 2B, HR, RBI, BB), Ivan Rodriguez (10-for-38, 3 2B, HR, RBI, BB, 6 K).
Nats' worst vs. Westbrook -- Jerry Hairston (0-for-5, 2 K), Ian Desmond (0-for-3, K), Matt Stairs (5-for-26, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB, 5 K).
Nats' best vs. Garcia -- Ian Desmond (2-for-3), Michael Morse (1-for-2, 2B, BB), Ivan Rodriguez (1-for-3, K).
Nats' worst vs. Garcia -- Jerry Hairston (0-for-4), Adam LaRoche (1-for-5, 2B, RBI, K), Jayson Werth (1-for-4, 2B, BB, K).
Nats' best vs. Lohse -- Jayson Werth (4-for-7, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, K), Ian Desmond (3-for-6), Ivan Rodriguez (13-for-41, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, 5 K), Laynce Nix (4-for-14, HR, 2 RBI, 7 K).
Nats' worst vs. Lohse -- Jerry Hairston (2-for-15, 2B, 3 BB, 3 K), Matt Stairs (6-for-26, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 4 K), Adam LaRoche (5-for-21, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K).
ST. LOUIS BATTERS VS. WASHINGTON PITCHERS
Cardinals' best vs. Lannan -- Lance Berkman (6-for-13, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB), Matt Holliday (3-for-11, 2 2B, 4 BB, 2 K), Gerald Laird (3-for-3).
Cardinals' worst vs. Lannan -- Albert Pujols (2-for-11, BB, K), Colby Rasmus (1-for-5, K), Ryan Theriot (3-for-13, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, K).
Cardinals' best vs. Zimmermann -- Albert Pujols (4-for-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI), Yadier Molina (2-for-4, 2B), Skip Schumaker (2-for-5, 3 RBI).
Cardinals' worst vs. Zimmermann -- Jon Jay (0-for-3), Tyler Greene (0-for-2, 2 K), Lance Berkman (0-for-1, 2 BB).
Cardinals' best vs. Gorzelanny -- Matt Holliday (3-for-7, 3 BB), Albert Pujols (6-for-19, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 7 BB, 2 K), Lance Berkman (3-for-10, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K).
Cardinals' worst vs. Gorzelanny -- Colby Rasmus (0-for-2, BB, 2 K), Skip Schumaker (0-for-2, 2 BB), Ryan Theriot (3-for-13, 2B, BB), Yadier Molina (2-for-9, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K).