What to Watch for: 4.22.13

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St. Louis Cardinals (10-8) vs. Washington Nationals (10-8)

RHP Shelby Miller (2-1, 1.96) vs. RHP Dan Haren (1-2, 8.10)

The Nationals return home following a 3-3 road trip to take on the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since last year’s National League Division Series. The opener will have a different feel than 2012, however, as Shelby Miller will face Washington for the first time and former Cardinal Dan Haren will take the hill against St. Louis for the first time since 2010.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Werth RF

3. Harper LF

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Rendon 3B

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Haren RHP

UP AND DOWN

Washington’s offensive output on the trek was literally up and down, as they scored (in chronological order) 10, 2, 6, 1, 7 and 0 runs in the six games. So Washington plated 7.7 runs per game in the three wins, but just 1.0 run per contest in the three defeats.

JIM LETT’S BUDDING BULLPEN

Jim Lett’s bullpen excelled on the roadtrip, going 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA (5 ER/15.2 IP) in five games (Jordan Zimmermann tossed a complete game on Monday at Miami). Lett’s relievers posted a 9.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .193 batting average against during the five-game revival.

GOOD COMPANY

Ian Desmond’s National League-leading 11 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple, three homers) are tied with New York (AL)’s Robinson Cano and Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for the Major League lead among middle infielders.

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