I know the Cardinals sometimes seem as if they prefer to do things the hard way.
But if they want to make it to the National League Championship Series, it's really in their best interests to win Thursday.
The Nationals will send Ross Detwiler to the mound against the Redbirds today. He's 10-8 with a respectable 3.40 ERA. But he only survived 2 1/3 innings the last time he faced St. Louis, giving up seven runs on five walks and our hits.
The Cardinals counter with Kyle Lohse, 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA. He's having a great year but the Nationals haven't always been an easy to handle foe. He's got a 4-2 record against Washington with a 5.23 ERA for his career. At Nationals Park Lohse is 1-1 with a 7.48 ERA.
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But the match-up is certainly more favorable that it would be in game five on Friay.
Then the Cardinals would have to face Cy Young Award Candidate Gio Gonzalez who held the Cardinals to two hits -- although he had a difficult time with his control and walked seven -- during his start in the opening game of the National League Division Series.
The Redbirds would counter with Adam Wainwright, who has big game experience dating back to his time as the closer for the 2006 World Series champion Cardinals. So there won't be any surrender from St. Louis if the series goes the distance. But if the Redbirds can win out in four, they can get some mucn needed rest Friday as they prepare to face the winner of the San Francisco Cincinnati series which will go the full five games.