The Washington Nationals 8-0 loss in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series is a crushing defeat that they won't recover from.
They simply don't have enough Gio Gonzalez to go around. The ace of the staff is the only Nationals starting pitcher that has been able to contain the powerful St. Louis Cardinals lineup.
He held the Cardinals in check in the Nats' 3-2 Game 1 win. Since then the team has been outscored 20-4.
In Game 3, Nats pitching gave up eight runs, five of those were surrendered by starter Edwin Jackson. It didn't help that the bats were also silent, but it marked the second game in a row the staff gave up four runs in the first two innings.
Needless to say, it is very difficult to win games with that type of start.
Now the Nats have their backs against the wall for Game 4. Trailing two games to one in a best of five series makes this the epitome of crunch time. They are at home and ready to send 26-year old Ross Detwiler to the mound. This is his first career postseason start, and he spent most of the year as the Nationals No. 5 starter in the rotation.
The Cardinals are countering with 16-game winner, and playoff veteran, Kyle Lohse.
The Nats' chances of extending this series are as slim as Detwiler's 6'5" 175-pound frame. This is baseball, so anything can happen, but the Cardinals' bats have been on fire all season, and in this series.
They are scoring over seven runs per game, and hitting .273 as a team. Lohse has been tough all season with an ERA of 2.86 to support his 16-3 record.
Most of the factors involved in predicting a winner of this game are in the Cardinals favor.
The most prominent source of hope for the Nats lies in the fact that they've had some success against Lohse. In two starts against them, Lohse gave up a total nine runs in 11.2 innings. The teams split those two meetings, but getting to Lohse should provide the Nats some confidence.
Unfortunately that is only half the battle. The pitching staff—primarily Detwiler—must answer the call if they hope to give Gonzalez his second start of the season.
In this game experience will trump youth and home-field advantage. The Cardinals will advance with another win by a comfortable margin.
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