Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at St. Louis
When: 7:15 PM ET, Thursday, August 16, 2018
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The red-hot St. Louis Cardinals take aim at their ninth straight victory when they attempt to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting Washington Nationals on Thursday. St. Louis posted a 4-2 victory on Wednesday and has scored 17 runs while winning the first three contests of the series.

The Cardinals have gone 19-9 since interim manager Mike Shildt took over for the fired Mike Matheny to move within four games of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central and one of Philadelphia and Milwaukee - the teams occupying the wild-card spots in the NL. Matt Carpenter extended his streak of reaching base to 33 games but departed Wednesday's contest in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch on his right wrist, although the Cardinals announced that X-rays were negative and Carpenter's exit was precautionary. The sinking Nationals have dropped four straight and seven of their last nine contests to slip nine games behind NL East-leading Atlanta and seven back in the wild-card race. Washington's Bryce Harper recorded two hits on Wednesday and is 4-for-12 with two homers and one double in the series.

TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Washington), FS Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals LH Tanner Roark (7-12, 4.12 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Luke Weaver (6-10, 4.66)

Roark has won four consecutive starts after losing 12 of his first 15 decisions this season. The 31-year-old has posted a stellar 1.21 ERA during his winning streak, striking out 27 batters while walking only two. Roark is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against the Cardinals and has struggled with Yadier Molina (4-for-8, four RBIs).

Weaver is making his first start since Aug. 6 as he missed his scheduled turn six days later due to a cut on his right index finger. The Floridian lost at Miami in his last outing despite allowing just two runs and seven hits in six innings. Weaver, who turns 25 on Tuesday, is just 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 10 home starts this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cardinals OF Harrison Bader recorded his fifth three-hit performance of the season on Wednesday and is batting .348 in 46 at-bats this month.

2. Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (neck) tossed close to 70 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday and could return to the rotation next week without making a rehab start.

3. St. Louis activated Brett Cecil (foot) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned fellow LHP Tyler Webb to Triple-A Memphis.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Nationals 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 60-61 L4 30-28 30-33 25-24 13-10 13-16 9-11
St. Louis 66-55 W8 32-26 34-29 12-13 33-25 11-10 10-7
Last Meeting
Washington St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/15/18 WAS 2 STL 4 .219 1 .735 .233 1 .710
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington A. Rendon .444 4 1.139
St. Louis K. Wong .600 6 1.667
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 2 2 3
St. Louis K. Wong 1 4 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 6.00 .240 13
St. Louis 4.00 .327 21
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington A. Rendon .293 108 .859
St. Louis J. Martinez .305 120 .832
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 30 76 74
St. Louis M. Carpenter 33 82 68
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 3.87 .250 1059
St. Louis 3.77 .252 983