Sep 25, 2013, 4:14 PM EDT
Game in a nutshell: The Nationals have been wanting to get a crack at the Cardinals since the moment they blew Game 5 of the NLDS, but they’ll have to wait another season to seek their revenge. After getting swept by St. Louis at Nationals Park in April, they got swept at Busch Stadium in the final week of September. Jordan Zimmermann, trying to become the NL’s only 20-game winner, was done in once against by the same Cardinals lineup that has befuddled him his entire career. And the Nats lineup couldn’t get anything going against rookie right-hander Shelby Miller. Not the kind of way the Nationals wanted to close out this season. They’ll head to Arizona for their final three games.
Hitting lowlight: The Nationals lineup had become quite productive over the last six weeks, but we probably have to point out that much of the damage came against less-than-dominant pitching. Over the last three days, the Nats did have to face dominant pitching, and they were completely silenced. They scored four total runs in the series, came within inches of bein no-hit Tuesday night and put up very little fight today against rookie Shelby Miller and Co. Bryce Harper’s RBI single in the top of the first proved the only clutch hit of the afternoon against Miller, who scattered four hits over 6-plus innings before handing things over to the Cardinals bullpen. The Nationals hardly threatened late, going down quietly to wrap up a miserable series at Busch Stadium.
Pitching lowlight: What is it about the Cardinals that so baffles Zimmermann? Obviously, they’ve got a lineup full of experienced and pesky hitters, but this franchise owns the right-hander like no other. Zimmermann has now made seven career starts against St. Louis (including Game 2 of the NLDS) and he has yet to beat them. He’s now 0-4 with an 8.83 ERA. This one particularly stung because Zimmermann was seeking his 20th win, the first time he would have reached that milestone in his career. This one loss, though, shouldn’t diminish a fantastic season for the 27-year-old. Zimmermann finishes 2013 with a 19-9 record, 3.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 32 starts. Not bad at all.
Key stat: The Nationals scored eight total runs in six games against the Cardinals this year.
Up next: After taking Thursday off in Arizona, the Nationals open their final series of the season at 9:40 p.m. EDT Friday. Stephen Strasburg will try to finish his year on a high note, facing Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin.
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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