The fourth day of MLB postseason betting action starts on Columbus Day at Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals look to avoid an 0-2 hole to the upstart Washington Nationals.
If you want to know what the Nationals are all about this year, just go back to Sunday and look at a tape of Game 1. It was a terrible outing for Gio Gonzalez, who walked seven batters and had no clue where the strike zone was, and the bats had nothing at all going for the majority of seven innings. Washington scratched together a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning, and Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen closed the deal in the eighth and ninth. Now, the Nats are just two wins away from hosting the NLCS, and they have a chance to almost essentially close things out tonight with Jordan Zimmerman on the bump. Zimmerman went 12-8 this year, but he could have easily had the same type of win total that Gonzalez had. The 26-year old threw 195.2 innings, had a 2.94 ERA, struck out 153, and walked just 43 batters for the year. He led the Nats to wins in each of his final five starts of the campaign.
It’s hard to say that a Game 2 of any series is a “must win,” but the truth of the matter is that the Cardinals aren’t going to back to DC and sweeping three games in front of what is going to be a raucous crowd. Even taking two out of three seems incredibly difficult to do, but that is going to be the task for the defending champs. We’ve learned time and time again to not count this bunch out, so even with just three hits yesterday, the Redbirds are most certainly still in this series. The ball turns over to Jaime Garcia on Monday, and he comes into this one on a three-game winning streak of his own. Garcia did go just 7-7 this year, but again, his splits were a heck of a lot better than that record suggests. The lefty had a 3.92 ERA, but since the start of September, he has allowed just 10 earned runs in 36 frames for a 2.50 ERA.
As we said before, the Cardinals absolutely have to have this one. The game is a tossup for sure, and it is one that we could see going either way, but in the end, we think that it is going to be nerves that get the best of the Nationals. St. Louis 4 – Washington 1