Shelby Miller could be new pain for struggling Nationals

3:42 PM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
Apr 12, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller (40) throws to Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) during the second inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

(Sports Network) - In a rematch of last season's NLDS, the Washington Nationals seek a measure of revenge over the St. Louis Cardinals Monday night in the opener of a three-game series from Nationals Park.

Cardinals young hurler Shelby Miller draws the start Monday and looks to get back on track after his last outing, a 5-0 loss at Pittsburgh last Wednesday. Miller allowed two runs and six hits in six innings to have his two-start winning streak come to a close.

Miller, a right-hander, has allowed just four runs this season and owns a 1.96 earned run average in 18 1/3 innings pitched. Miller has never faced Washington.

The Cardinals defeated the Nationals in five games to advance to the championship series and clinched the set with a 9-7 triumph in Game 5 thanks to a four-run top of the ninth inning.

Both clubs are predicted to reach the playoffs once again, but the Nationals have been inconsistent of late. Washington dropped two of three against the New York Mets this past weekend and has alternated wins and losses in the past seven games. In Sunday's 2-0 loss at Citi Field, Jordan Zimmerman pitched well in defeat, allowing both runs in five innings.

Zimmerman allowed a solo home run to John Buck in the second inning and Mets third baseman David Wright scored on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

"I had to battle all day and I was behind in the count most of the day," Zimmermann said, "and when you do that, you are going to throw a lot more pitches."

Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper each had a hit in Washington's four-hit attack.

The Nationals have lost six of their last nine games and are back home for seven straight versus St. Louis and Cincinnati. The last time Washington played at home it was swept in three games by the Atlanta Braves.

Taking the hill for the Nats in Monday's series opener will be Dan Haren. Haren has struggled out of the gates to the tune of a 1-2 record and an 8.10 earned run average in three starts. Haren was reached for seven runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings last Tuesday in an 8-2 loss at Miami.

Haren has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his trips to the hill, but has an unblemished record against St. Louis. In five career meetings with the Cardinals, the right-handed Haren is 4-0 with a 3.65 ERA.

St. Louis will resume its road trip in the nation's capital and split four matchups in Philadelphia over the weekend.

The Cardinals dropped a 7-3 decision Sunday night in the series finale as the Phillies scored four runs in the eighth inning to grab the lead. Cardinals relief pitcher Mitchell Boggs was tagged for four runs and four hits, including a three-run homer, in just one-third of an inning.

"He's a big part of our club. He'll get over it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Boggs.

Jake Westbrook started for St. Louis and gave up three runs in six innings.

Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run in the first inning, while Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig and Matt Adams had two hits apiece for St. Louis, which has alternated results in the past eight games. Beltran is batting .375 with three homers and four RBI in his last six games.

The Cardinals lost four of seven regular season matchups with Washington last season and are 5-8 in the previous two seasons in this series.

Most Watched Videos