|5:15 PM PT6:15 PM MT7:15 PM CT8:15 PM ET20:15 ET0:15 GMT8:15 5:15 PM MST7:15 PM EST7:45 PM VEN4:15 UAE (+1)7:15 PM CT, August 15, 2018
Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri Attendance: 36,696
Cardinals seek eighth straight win in game vs. Nationals
Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
- The Nationals won six of their seven games between July 31 and August 8 -- since then, they have dropped four of six. With their two weekend losses to the Cubs, the Nats dropped to an even 30-30 on their travels in 2018.
- The Cardinals have won five consecutive games, and have gone 9-2 in August. The Cards offense has gotten at least 10 hits seven times in August, most in MLB.
- Ryan Zimmerman was hitting .184 at the end of April. Since then, Zimmerman has slashed .369/.447/.692, hitting safely in all but three games in which he had multiple at bats.
- Jose Martinez has picked up a hit in eight of the Cardinals 11 August games -- the Cards have won all eight. In the weekend series against the Royals, Martinez went 6-for-12 at the dish, hitting one home run and knocking six runners home.
- In two career starts against the Cardinals, Tommy Milone has pitched to a 3.46 ERA (5/13.0). His most recent game against the Redbirds came in 2015 as a member of the Twins -- Milone went seven full innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out five and issuing zero free passes.
- Miles Mikolas has turned in four consecutive starts of at least five innings while allowing no more than two runs in any of these outings. With one more such start, he will move into a tie for the third-longest active streak in MLB.
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For the St. Louis Cardinals, it was another night of gaining ground in two races. For the Washington Nationals, it was another night where opportunity slipped away, much like their season.
St. Louis' 6-4 win over the Nationals Tuesday night gave the Cardinals a season-high seven-game winning streak, putting them 10 games over .500 for the first time all year at 65-55. Along with losses by the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, the Cardinals pulled within four games of Chicago for first place in the National League Central and within a single game of the Phillies for the second wild-card spot.
St. Louis will try to keep its roll going Wednesday night when it tries to clinch its sixth straight series win in Busch Stadium against fading Washington.
At the time where they need to play their best baseball, the Nationals are playing closer to their worst baseball. Their sixth loss in eight games dropped them to 60-60. They trail first place Atlanta by eight games in the NL East and are six games out of the second wild-card spot with 42 games remaining.
The bullpen let Washington down mightily in walk-off defeats Sunday night and Monday night. Starter Gio Gonzalez took the blame off the bullpen Tuesday night by digging a 5-0 hole before recording the fourth inning's first out.
While the relief corps worked a credible four innings after Gonzalez departed, a wave of injuries and ineffectiveness has left manager Dave Martinez wondering what he's getting when he pulls the starter.
"It's tough when you have your closer, your setup guy, your seventh-inning guy all beat up," he said. "We just have to keep battling. These other guys, they all have to step up."
The best solution might be getting a long, quality outing from the starter. That means Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 3.54 ERA) will have pressure on him to provide length while keeping the hot Cardinals' offense off the board.
Hellickson's last outing Friday was unusual. He was working on a no-hitter when he was pulled after 5 2/3 innings against the Cubs, but still settled for a no-decision as he walked four and was charged with two runs in an eventual 3-2 loss.
Hellickson has not faced the Cardinals this season, but in five career starts against St. Louis, Hellickson is 2-2 with a 4.13 earned run average, allowing a whopping eight homers in 32 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals have been clearing the fences with regularity of late, clouting 16 homers during their winning streak. Even Tuesday night's starter, John Gant, mixed in a two-run shot in the second inning for his first major-league hit after 30 at-bats.
"Pleasantly surprised, obviously," St. Louis interim manager Mike Shildt said of Gant's blast. "He's a good athlete and he's taken some good BPs, but that's BP."
Rookie left-hander Austin Gomber (2-0, 3.45) gets the call for the Cardinals, fresh off a 7-0 win Friday night in Kansas City. Gomber pitched five innings in that game, allowing just four hits and a walk while fanning three in his third start. He will face the Nationals for the first time.
Updated August 15, 2018