I don’t think anyone¬†really thought the Nats would leave St. Louis with a 2-0 lead. In reality, if you watched both Games 1 and 2, Nats fans should be ecstatic to head back to DC with a 1-1 tie. The starting pitching, the best in baseball in 2012, was dreadful in St. Louis. On Sunday, Gio Gonzalez couldn’t find home plate to save his life and earlier tonight, Jordan Zimmerman had one of the worst starts of his career. But the bullpen kept the team in Game 1 and the offense was potent enough to beat a superb Adam Wainwright as well as touch-up a few Cardinal pitchers in Monday’s loss. Down 7-1 in today’s game, the Nats refused to die with the middle of the order applying the pressure despite Jordan Zimmerman and Sean Burnett’s best efforts to hand over the game before nightfall.
Sure, 2-0 would be nice. Comfort for Edwin Jackson, who was lit up by St. Louis in their last meeting just a few weeks ago. Comfort for Ross Detwiler who has never pitched in the postseason. The reality though, is that the Nationals now play a best of three series at home against a team that has a sub-.500 road record in ’12. Chris Carpenter’s best days are behind him; he can be beat. In two starts against Washington this year, Game 4 starter Kyle Lohse gave up nine earned runs, five of which came in a start at Nationals Park. For the Nats, Edwin Jackson has been here before; in fact, it was with St. Louis just 12 months ago.
If I told you a week ago Gonzalez would walk seven in Game 1 and Zimmerman wouldn’t make it to the fourth inning in Game 2, you’d think Wednesday night’s game would be an elimination contest. Instead, the Nats come home and things are all square. No more jitters. ¬†No more growing pains. Just win, baby.