The National League Championship Series is off to a great start for the Washington Nationals, and they will try to stay hot with a win in Game 2. The St. Louis Cardinals will once again be hosting this game, but playing at home did not do them any favors in the series opener. Washington stunned the Cardinals in the series opener and will have a slight edge in the pitching matchup in this one.
Max Scherzer will start for Washington, and he will be opposed by veteran Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals. Don’t expect a ton of offense in this game.
St. Louis won the National League Central this season, and it was a bit of a surprise. The Cardinals played great baseball after the All-Star break and carried that momentum into the playoffs. St. Louis stunned the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
Washington has been the best team in baseball since mid-May, and they are in the NLCS for the first time in franchise history. The Nationals knocked off the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Washington is a slight -140 favorite over St. Louis in this game.
“Mad Max” Makes Start For Nationals
Scherzer will be on the mound for Washington in this game, and he is a native of the St. Louis area. Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 earned run average during the regular season and has already made three appearances in these playoffs. The hard-throwing right-hander has given up four earned runs already, but he will be fired up to pitch in front of some hometown fans.
The Nationals pounded out 10 hits in the series opener but only managed to score two runs. Washington knows that it will need to find some more offense as this series goes along to give its pitchers some breathing room. Anthony Rendon leads this team with a .348 batting average so far this postseason, and Juan Soto has hit a pair of home runs to lead the Nationals.
Cardinals Must Get Their Offense Going
The St. Louis Cardinals managed just one hit in their Game 1 loss, and things won’t get any easier in this game. The Cardinals were being aggressive early in the count, but they could not get any big swings against Anibal Sanchez. Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna have combined for five home runs already in these playoffs and will need to carry this team in this game. The Cardinals were a solid offensive team all season long, but they are struggling a bit heading into this game.
Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals in this game, and he should be able to go pitch for pitch with Scherzer. Wainwright went 7 2/3 innings in his first postseason start this season against the Atlanta Braves and did not allow a run. The Cardinals do have the much better bullpen in this series, and they will be tough to beat if they get a lead. St. Louis gave up just two runs in the series opener, but it was enough for the Nationals to win the game.
Washington Wins Second Straight Game
The Washington Nationals were able to stun the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1, but they will be the favorites in this game. Scherzer is a beast to deal with, and the Nationals just continue to find ways to score. St. Louis is going to have to get its offense going in a hurry, or this series will be over quick.
Wainwright will keep his team in the game, but he won’t be able to outduel Scherzer. The Cardinals are going to struggle to get any hits again in this one, and they are going to end up in a 0-2 hole in this series before heading to Washington. Take the Washington Nationals -140 over the St. Louis Cardinals.